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This is the blog of custom costume and mask makers Tentacle Studio

A peek behind the Tentacle curtain, written mostly by Bev.

20th September 2016
When Rozie and her bride to be Ellie approached us to make a pair of dinosaur costumes for their "Steampunk and Dinosaurs" wedding, what else could we do but agree?! They had great fun getting married in the costumes, then frolicked around Bristol being fierce and awesome! The lovely photos were taken by Joss Widdowson Photography.

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3rd August 2016
Bev upstairs in the studio yesterday, making a couple of 'flower bears' for a client's wedding.

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31th July 2016
Satan's White Wings. We made these for the "Poets in Autumn" tour.

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24th July 2016
When we were asked by designer Sophie Goto to create a "slightly monsterish donkey head" that can magically fly off on stage for a theatre in Japan, we were initially a bit perplexed. Our standard donkey heads are a best seller on Etsy- and they're a big hit in productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream. But "slightly monsterish"? that seemed a hard concept to grasp, as to our mind, things are either monsterish, or they're not - in the same way that it's impossible to be a little bit pregnant. However, we chatted with Sophie, and eventually came up with a donkey patchworked in different faux furs, with a big cheezy grin. And the flying off on stage? No problem. Take a well placed fairy and a length of super thin fishing wire, and hey presto, the magic of theatre!

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Photos © Masa's Eye Photo.

15th July 2016
Phew! It's airless and sticky here in the studio, the sun is blazing hot outside. Our windows and doors are propped wide open, but there's no breeze to catch. It's the sort of weather where you pray for a thunderstorm, but it just won't come. But to look on the bright side, any paint is dry in about two minutes, and we have a great incentive to take finished orders to the post office - there's a fabulous ice cream parlour right next door!
We've been doing some really interesting work, and last month we took time out to do some travelling, so life's not been too shoddy chez Tentacle. On a more sober note, we've been watching aghast at all the changes that have swept over the UK in the wake of the recent Brexit vote. Both Mike and I are English, but have been living 'abroad' in Europe for many years, so we're anxious to see what changes will come. But at the moment, there's no sense in worrying, when all we can do is wait and see. So the sun is shining, and I think we are due for another trip to the post office...

We've just finished yet another big paper mache head portrait, this time of the UK's Queen Elizabeth. She'll be used for a 'rough and tumble' TV gameshow, so she has moving eyes, and her tiara is made from flexible foam. Oh, the glamour!

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20th May 2016
It's been very hectic this last month, hardly time to snap a photo of the things we've been making before they are whisked away to the customers. The camera is bursting with images that I haven't downloaded yet, but here's a photo from the UK news of the David Cameron head we created, lobbying outside the Houses of Parliament.

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8th April 2016
We made this papier mache big head of David Cameron for a lobby group in the UK. And we made this big head a big hat!

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23rd March 2016
Russell "The Gilbot" Gilbert (aka Bev's boyfriend) models the robot costume we made for an international technology company. And there's the robot in his new home with Marketing Manager Celine Duinsbergen. Next step… world domination!
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5th March 2016
Bear on the stair! One of our pandas tries on a new hat before heading out to a customer in Japan. Suits you sir!

panda bear head fur mask made by Tentacle Studio


26th February 2016
I'm glad to be back in the studio again after 3 weeks of proper, lying in bed groaning flu. Not just a sniffle!
Thankfully all the orders this week are nice 'sitting down' jobs - handy table top sized items, with reasonable deadlines, and no manic last minute rushes. Once finished, these orders will be headed out to customers far and wide. Teddy bear heads for a music video in New York, chess hats for the Broadway musical NERDS, glittering horse masks for a client in Slovenia, and a pair of masks which will serve as totems for a writer in London!

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3rd February 2016
Customers Jim and Javier just sent these lovely photos of them wearing the animal heads we made at a Mardi Gras party in Texas!

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20th January 2016
It's try on time for Tentacle teddy bears...

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3rd January 2016
It's been a funny few months. Hectic Halloween, super speedy November, then bang! Into December, and suddenly the brakes go on, it's the quietest Christmas ever. So we had a nice long rest and got all snuggly and relaxed. Now the New Year starts, and Whoosh! Orders and enquiries are popping up from all over. Is this sudden rush or orders due to New year's resolutions? New year's budget? Who knows! But it's nice to see so much optimism about. Happy New Year everyone!

21st December 2015
Our Beast gets the Beauty treatment before going on stage with The Chelmsford Ballet Company. Photo: The Chelmsford Ballet Company.

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18th December 2015
This week we're running hither and yon, juggling last minute jobs in the run up to Christmas. A flower headdress, some corporate logos, a unicorn, a bear, and we're making this light up wand and crown for an Ice Queen to lead a Winter Parade. We're boring tiny holes in acrylic snowflakes to accomodate LED lights. There's a smell of burning plastic, and the drilling vibrates through your head like being at the dentist… oh, the glamour!

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22th November 2015
We are making lots of animal masks this week, and some large black wings for an ad campaign in Australia!

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4th November 2015
Still crazy busy here, even though Halloween is past! There's usually a slight down turn in orders after Halloween... time for some sleep, maybe even a day off...haa, not this year baby! In addition to the usual custom orders, we're getting more and more orders for our 'ready to wear' items in our Etsy and Amazon shops.
So there's just time to post one of the weirdest Halloween costumes we made this year, the wolf spider. With wiggling legs, darting tongue, and a built-in electronic voice changer, he's one long legged beastie you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night!

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wolf spider Halloween insect costume made by Tentacle Studio

10th October 2015
Oh my goodness, it's that dark time of year again - the time of furtive desires and desperate pleadings. Is it the end of the world? It feels like it might be for some tormented souls. It's the time when the worst nightmares of unwary party goers sneak up and bite them; the nightmare that they won't have a good Halloween costume!

Every year at this time we're bombarded with a maelstrom of emails and phone calls, from people pleading for costumes. We do what we can to help, and this year we can help a bit more that usual, because we have a number of ready-to-wear masks available on Etsy. We made them in the calm and quiet of last January, when the stress and clamour of the annual Halloween madness was just a distant memory. Since January, these masks have been patiently waiting in our stock cupboard, and now their moment has arrived.

This week, some people are so panicked they can't even write whole sentences - they just email "Need black wings now" or the (slightly more polite) "Bear costume please"! This contrasts sharply with our saintly band of regular customers, who, a week after Halloween, email their thanks for that year's costume, and then immediately book us for next year's creation. I love that they are so organised! And I must admit, I'm a little envious too. I'm one of those people whose deadines creep up on them. Life always gets in the way. Whilst I'm ace at getting other people's costumes ready on time, things I make for myself always happen at the very last minute, held together with pins and glue. I'm the runner-for-the-bus and the eternal last-minuter.

Sometimes I get downhearted. Maybe things were not as good as they could have been, would have been better if I'd lavished more time and money on them. Some costumes would certainly have looked better if I was a bit slimmer! But then I realised: the super organized costume genius and the swift and shoddy thrower-togetherers have one thing in common; we don't just talk about it, we do the thing, we go to the party. So my plea to you is, about costumes, and about life in general, even if it won't be as perfect as you dreamed it would be, do what you can, and enjoy the party. You can always do it better next year!

5th October 2015
Our Bacteria costumes are finished! Made for a biochemical company who create purification systems, these mad mascots are set to travel to exhibitions and conferences all over the globe.
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29th September 2015
Our client, Diego Voltini - a magician and designer of fabulous stage shows in Italy- has just shared his latest showreel. It features many of the masks and costume pieces we've created, all flashing past in an exciting colourful blur! See the video here.

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17th September 2015
We were asked to create this set of cottontails for a shopping centre in Eindhoven, to celebrate it's 15 year Jubilee. I think the shoppers were a bit bewildered, but the bunnies were happy enough!

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16th September 2015
We've made some funny things in our time, but bacteria costumes? This is a first for us! Our customers Paques BV make purification systems for water, gases and air, using biotechnology. They came to us wanting some eyecatching and friendly costumes for an international trade show. Now biotechnology can be a bit of a dry subject, but we reckon these cultured cuties will create a splash in any gene pool!
Here are the costumes in progress.

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8th September 2015
It's been a busy month here at Tentacle Studio, and we've been working away in the sweltering heat, fuelled by a diet of ice cream and lollies. The camera is bursting with a load of photos that there's no time to post, and the work schedule is totally packed for the next couple of months. A quick sit down feels like a holiday!
Before I put my nose back to the grindstone, I just wanted to post a new link to our Etsy shop: there's lots of our new designs in there, and buying one of the items that we have in stock will be your swiftest way to getting your hands on some of our work.

10th August 2015
Simon Cowell's big head mask is finished, and he'll soon be smarming his way over to the TV studio to shoot the pilot of a new British comedy game show called 'Big Heads'.

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6th August 2015
This witch mask and a whole hoard of mice were created for a performance of Roald Dahl's 'The Witches' in Australia, and we just got some sunshine in an email from down under… "Thank you SO much. The headpieces are absolutely perfect!!! Postage was very, very fast!!!! Wow! I'm very impressed. Thank you!!!"

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5th August 2015
Our donkey mask gets some attention from the fairies! We created these headdresses for A Midsummer Night's Dream theatre show at The International School of Amsterdam. Thanks to photographer Frankie Rees and director Ken Baldino for the photos and a fun night at the theatre. Photo: Frankie Rees.

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25th July 2015
The Simon Cowell head we're sculpting is coming along nicely...

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22th July 2015
Interesting that Amazon will soon launch a 'Handmade' marketplace, selling artisan made goods. We've been asked to join. They're following the very successful -and recently floated on the stock market- Etsy. While their commission fees for vendors are high: 12% as opposed to Etsy's 8% (including Paypal fees) Amazon's such a big player, it has to be worth a try. If Amazon ever decide to get into pay per view cute kitten videos, or porn, they'll have the whole internet sewn up!
Amazon Marketplace

22th July 2015
Mike is in the early stages of creating a lifelike big head of Simon Cowell, comissioned as part of a new TV game show. Aside from the obvious need to make a good likeness of the star, we're juggling questions like: how big should the teeth be? Simon's well know for his pearly whites, but if we fill the mouth with teeth, the contestant can't see out of the mouth. Can they knock the head off on camera without breaking someone's neck? Can they run up a ladder wearing it? If the pilot show goes well, can we produce another 60 heads immediately? That's entertainment... a sure way to get your blood pressure raised!

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17th July 2015
The gold coffin mask for the Museum of Wigan Life is finished, and we're very pleased with the result. It's uncanny how those eyes seem to follow you around the room!
The exhibition is already getting great reviews, so if you're in the Wigan area, we recommend you step back in time, and mingle with some pharoahs. Photo: Museum of Wigan Life.

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12th July 2015
We've just read a great Quora post by Jonas Mikka Luster. He's speaking about being a chef, but we have the same feeling about our own work!
"We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't enjoy the shit out of it.... We love to be the ones in the back who, unseen and unheard, will make you happy, smiling, and sometimes even get you laid. We're compersive. Compersion means to find enjoyment in the enjoyment of others. We're not just happy about you spending money, we're happy because you are happy." And that's the way we like it!
See Jonah's complete post here

9th July 2015
This month we are replicating one of the most treasured antiquities in the Museum of Wigan Life - a 3000 year old Egyptian coffin mask. Hopefully our Egyptian mask will turn out better than the disasterous Nefertiti replica shown in Egypt last week. Oh, that was ugly! See it here.
Anyway, here's our own Egyptian mask in progress, complete with real gold leaf.

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4th July 2015
Photo from the Chelmsford Ballet Company of the Mouse King head we made for The Nutcracker ballet last year. They've just comissioned us to create a wolf head for this year's Little Red Riding Hood.

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8th June 2015
And finally it was finished... After lots of obsessive stitching to make the details 100% authentic, this Coldstrem Guard's uniform is ready to march into the courier's van, and off to Milwaukee to the studio of artist Marc Sijan, where he'll be incorporated into a sculpture. Then, ironically, the sculpture is going to London, to stand guard in an art exhibition at the Opera Gallery. I think, with all his formality, pomp and circumstance, he's going to look marvellously incongruous in an art gallery.

Lots of other stuff going on with us too, including trying to quickly snap photos of our feather headdresses for inclusion in our Etsy Shop. But the background on this photo is way too confusing, so I guess we do need to haul out all the proper photographic lights and background and do it properly after all. Dammit!


6th June 2015
Donkey mask and Warthog costume in progress. We can't move for livestock this week...

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28th May 2015
Bev caught doing some handsewing at home when she's supposed to be relaxing...It's an authentic Coldstream Guard's uniform (one of those soldiers who stand guard outside Buckingham Palace). Good heavens, there's so much fiddly detail and insignia, it feels like it will never be finished! We are creating it for an artist's life-sized human figure, to be exhibited at the Opera Gallery in London. Of course, we've made a big furry (faux) Bearskin hat to match as well. Photo: Russell Gilbert.

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