The wire frame for a sailor headpiece.
As mentioned in the previous post, wire bending is a traditional art form in Trinidad Carnival. It has been used possibly for the last 90 years as a staple in fashioning head pieces, small figures, and all of the shapes and structures around a costume. As explained by Mr. Gomez in our interview, artists draw designs of the form they would like to construct and create a frame using medium gauge wire. He said he learnt his first methods from a gentleman called Luray Jacob – a cabinet maker. In the old days they would use joiner glue (which smelled awful, he said, and had to be boiled) and cement bags to cover the frame. They would make a frame with nails and wrap the wire around as if crocheting something it then flip it and replicate the other side to have symmetry.
Previously used cement bags were very heavy and not pretty at all. They originally covered them with newsprint to hide the cement bags and then painted over these. Eventually cement bags were eliminated from the process and newsprint was used alone in multiple layers. Today plain paper is often used, wires are wrapped around each other and wrapped with tape. Then the shape is covered with the paper, painted and decorated.