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Professor Tabaka presents “Inside and Out”

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On Jan. 30, Sheila Tabaka, an SMSU theatre professor, gave her presentation “Inside and Out: Clothing of the Lutheran Reformation” at SMSU’s William Whipple Gallery and the Marshall-Lyon County Library. Tabaka discussed fashion during the Lutheran Reformation in early 16th century Germany.

Using period art and costumes, she explained the themes and elements of fashion during this time. Tabaka focused on the art of Lucas Cranach and Albrecht Dürer to showcase key elements of fashion such as fabric slashing, the use of fur in gowns and the styles of hats and necklines.

“Women’s fashion in particular emphasized slashed sleeves and rich fabrics,” said Tabaka. She noted this was one of the few time periods when men’s fashion was more interesting than women’s. Men’s fashion included complex elements such as gowns with unique sleeves and doublets. “Clothing made during this time period used fabrics such as wool, linen, fur, and lace with embroidery,” continued Tabaka. Additional ornamentation included chains, gloves, rings and hats; much like today.

During her talk, Professor Tabaka discussed four period costumes she created for the event. The four intricate pieces, with their various layers and the additional hats, took Tabaka and three students only two weeks to complete. She enjoyed working on the men’s gowns and hats but said that each piece presented “their own little challenge.”

Tabaka completed research for the presentation by reading books and studying period art. She purchased the necessary fabrics from small businesses in Willmar, MN and Hawarden, IA. She cut each piece of fabric, the most time-consuming part of the process, beforehand and machine-sewed the fabrics to create each garment.

“[It]puts me in a different era,” said Tabaka, on how the process of creating the pieces made her feel.

One reason presentations such as “Inside and Out” are put together, said Tabaka, is because “[It] gives the students in the shops a chance to work with different kinds of garments,” said Tabaka on the importance of presentations such as “Inside and Out.” “They may not be doing a show set in this time period, but they get to work on the costumes. They get to deal with period patterns . . . so there [are] lots of advantages.”

Sheila Tabaka was recently named a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) medallion winner for her extraordinary work in teaching and producing theatre. She will receive her medallion in April at the KCACTF national festival in Washington, D.C.

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Professor Tabaka presents “Inside and Out”