Suzy’s sowing and set design

From embroidery to set designing, art and creativity is something one particular student is no stranger to.

Suzy Gandara, a second-year theatre student, has transitioned from thinking of art as a hobby into something she can do with her future.

Gandara started to become more interested in art after learning to make embroidery work five years ago.

“I’m actually self-taught.” Gandara said. “I wanted to pick up a hobby and learned to embroider from tutorial videos on YouTube.”

A variety of embroidered works and theater props by Suzy Gandara. (Courtesy of Suzy Gandara)

She creates designs on wooden hoops with just thread and a needle.

Embroidering on hoops is a less-common type of needlework.

The hoops act as a frame for the embroidery, and are used to keep the fabric taut in order to embroider the designs onto them.

Her artistic process begins by gaining inspiration for different designs.

Gandara says finds a lot of design ideas on Pinterest.

She also gains inspiration from movies, shows and music.

A variety of embroidered works and theater props by Suzy Gandara. (Courtesy of Suzy Gandara)

One recent design she made was of the character Mia Wallace from the Quentin Tarantino classic, ‘Pulp Fiction.’

Once she is satisfied with a design idea, she then begins the process of sketching the design on the fabric.

She alternatively can find a stencil of the design online or make a stencil herself.

Once she applies the stencil on the fabric to follow along, she can start embroidering.

Gandara does not limit herself to embroidering fabric attached to wooden hoops, however. She embroidered her own backpack for school.

A variety of embroidered works and theater props by Suzy Gandara. (Courtesy of Suzy Gandara)

“I really pride myself on that,” says Gandara. “I get complimented on my backpack a lot. People ask me where I got it and I love saying ‘I actually made it myself’ [and] I always think to myself ‘I’m really glad I have this skill.’”

Gandara began college as an apparel merchandising and management student. However, she knew right away that it wasn’t the right path for her. One particular class at CPP was enough to confirm that belief.

She took Introduction to Film and American Culture, a theatre class where students watch films and learn the behind the scenes of filmmaking.

“I always loved films and was interested in the production aspects of it,” Gandara said. “The class got me looking into theatre specifically and made me realize that’s what I wanted to be learning.’

Gandara then switched majors to Theatre with an emphasis in Tech Design.

Her first introduction into the theatre world is working on CPP’s production of “Real Women Have Curves,” presented by the Department of Theatre and New Dance.

“Real Women Have Curves” follows a girl named Ana who dreams of one day going to college despite not having enough money.

The play deals with issues involving gender inequalities and immigration.

Gandara is working for the department as a set designer and is in charge of all the props in the play.

She starts the process by reading the script and making a list of all the physical objects that are required for every scene.

She then goes to prop room in and finds every item on the list.

If anything is not available, she purchases it herself with the budget the department provides her.

She sometimes has to make the prop herself if it is very unique item.

She explains that because the play takes place in 1987, she had to make a calendar for that year.

She also created a book cover for a book that is referenced in the play, as well as green cards for all the characters.

A variety of embroidered works and theater props by Suzy Gandara. (Courtesy of Suzy Gandara)

“Working on the play was a big challenge since it was the first production I worked on, but I really enjoyed the whole experience,” Gandara said.

Although she’s just getting started, Gandara can see a future in set design and working with props in the theatre industry.

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