39th Annual Meeting – Textiles Afternoon Session, Wednesday, June 1, A Versatile Mannequin Design, Gwen Spicer, Spicer Art Conservation, LLC

Gwen presented a step-by-step instructional guide to a mannequin design she created with the help of Small Corp Inc.  Small Corp creates custom internal metal armatures onto which Ethafoam torsos can be built by the conservator. The “sideways ladder” design of the armature ensures straightness of form on the base.

This mannequin design was initially created for the exhibit America by Air at the National Air and Space Museum  but Gwen has since used the design for several other diverse projects.  Gwen illustrated the adaptability and versatility by showing images of the design being employed for clothing from various fashion periods and ethnic groups. You can also view images on the Spicer Art Conservation Website.

Gwen’s presentation was clear and comprehensive with discussion of each step of the process including measurement taking (a measurement sheet is available), tools and materials used. Discussion afterward clarified the approximate cost of armature for a mannequin (about $600 though it probably varies depending on how much is ordered) and approximate time estimate for creating the Ethafoam torso (about 4 hours with experience). As the metal armature components can be mixed and matched and potentially re-used with a new Ethafoam torso, this seems like a viable option for mannequin display system that can be adapted for multiple uses over time.