A peek behind the Tentacle curtain, written mostly by Bev...
21th January 2019
We had great fun designing and making a whole Jungle Book full of animals for the Axelrod Contemporary Dance Theater. Photos of the headdresses in rehersals by Gabriel Chajnik and Axelrod Arts.
14th November 2018
We love a challenge, and we love geometry, and this commission combined both! The brief was to create 2 matching heart masks that were cut like diamonds, and also functioned properly for working DJs in a club: so good vision and ventilation, room for earphones, and not too much weight were all essential. You might think that one press of a button on the right computer programme would do the trick- but long experience with these things has taught us that it's often better to go 'old school'so we did! There are more than 90 separate pieces in each head...
6th October 2018
Autumn is coming. Today Mike took his camera for a stroll around the woodlands of the beautiful Hooge Veluwe. The leaves on the trees are still mainly green, and shafts of soft light glow through the foliage. The forest is full of life, and mushrooms are nosing their way up under the trees - the two pictured below are both poisonous. After the walk came some delicious pumpkin soup at a local cafe/garden centre, where the table was already set for Halloween.
28th August 2018
Steampunk robot costume: with light-up Steampunk innards! This was a last-minute commission for a marvellous performance in Maine, and we really enjoyed making it.
12th August 2018
It's nice when old friends come to visit! A long time ago, we made these bacteria costumes as brand ambassadors for an international water treatment firm. For several years they've enjoyed jetting around to conferences and trade fairs in their own luxury packing crates.
But eventually those endless smiles and handshakes had taken their toll. They were slumped and battered, approaching burnout. Luckily, they could visit the Tentacle Studio Mascot Spa and Treatment Centre! Eyelashes were re-curled, bodywork was buffed, and as you can see from the photo, they left us perky and happy, with genuine smiles all around.
25th July 2018
We created this glorious green (plastic) topiary bush costume suit from literally hundreds of tiny plastic plant sprigs! We've spent months perfecting the best techniques to create these suits, and finally they are available, custom made to your measurements, in our Etsy shop.
12th July 2018
Woo woo, all aboard the crazy train! We made this funny costume in February when the Dutch National Railway's launched their student ad campaign with a competition: 5 student friends get to spend a whole day with a film crew, partying in the train costume. It was all expenses paid, so the winners made the most of it - amazing how much free beer 5 strapping lads can swig down! Big smiles all around, and lots of crazy dancing. A good time was had by all, and miraculously the costume survived till they fell down exhausted at 6am!
10th June 2018:
'Techie' the robot we made for Albert Heijn Supermarkets launches a new computer programming scheme for kids. And his eyes light up with joy!
Here's the robot in progress; as you can see, we used many different techniques to build this costume.
29th May 2018:
Bear-foot in the buttercups!
23th May 2018:
The wolf mask we made is creeping through the shadows in Phoenix O'Neill's new video.
14th April 2018:
The Giant Rihanna head we created is now living large in New York!
14th March 2018:
We've currently got 85 different costumes and animal masks for sale in our Etsy shop! Check it out by clicking one of the images below.
25th January 2018:
The chess hats we created for the Grand Bal Christian Dior at the Musee Rodin, Paris.
13th January 2018:
In the studio this week: We are busy making 30 of our chess hats for Christian Dior.
3rd January 2018:
Hey, it's a New Year! Here's wishing you a healthy and happy 2018.
We've got lots of exciting things to do this month: 30 hats for Christian Dior, a portrait of the singer Rihanna, a crazy train costume and a whole forest full of wolves and foxes!
So before diving in to all that, we decided to take a trip to see the 'Power Mask' Exhibition at Wereldmuseum Rotterdam. It's a huge, diverse exhibition, cleverly displayed, and full of unexpected treasures. The exhibition was due to finish this week, but due to popular demand, it's staying open til 18th March, 2018, so grab the chance, and visit if you can!
Here's just a small selection of our photos, plus one photo borrowed from Maiko Takeda (because our photo came out rubbish!) to show his spikey green mask. I was going to tag all the masks with designers/ makers names, but frankly... I'm just too lazy! But just drop me an email to follow up on anything you see that tickles your fancy.
22nd December 2017:
Here's some of the costumes and headdresses we've made in the last couple of months...
Spooky green tree fairy.
Nutcracker head. Photo thanks to MA Arts.
Carosel horse heads. Photo, thanks to Rachel Sparks.
12th December 2017:
Another big head! We've just finished this head of Scarface, Al Pachino's classic gangster character, complete with bling, removable sunglasses and hat. The movie Scarface has been a cult favourite since it first appeared in 1983, and there is a new Scarface movie coming in 2018!
Below are a few 'in progress' photos of the Scarface head.
21st November 2017:
I finally found time to sort photos of our work from the previous two months. So here's a creature costume we made for a private customer. It's a monster mash-up: a Creature from the Black Lagoon, with added Pirahna teeth!
14th November 2017:
In Brussels today, Maelan is delighted with the new DJ head we made for him! Photo coming soon.
3rd September 2017:
We brought Moonpig's logo to life!
31st August 2017
For those of you who can't visit us right now, here's a stroll round our studio...It's looking reasonably tidy this week, just before the Halloween chaos begins!
17th August 2017
On Sunday we wandered into the Leiden Museum Volkenkunde and came across this happy Chinese couple!
16th August 2017
This mannequin was originally dirty and broken. After lying forgotten in our workshop's corner (for several years!) it was desperately in need of some love and attention. This morning, I just randomly felt moved to fix it, and smother it with autumn-themed paper! I really should have done a 'before and after' photo, but didn't get that idea til my hands were big balls of glue: there was just no way to use the camera. Yes, ok, I could have washed my hands then snapped a photo, but I didn't want to loose momentum. So you'll just have to take my word for it: this is a marvellous transformation!
15th August 2017
Quick photo of the white wolf headdress, a new item we created for our Etsy shop TentacleStudio And the goat masks we made last month: here's a photo from the client.
8th July 2017
So, now we are back from holiday, tanned and tired, and the studio in a huge fluffy, sticky mess after all the rushing around before we left. I guess it's tidy up time!
25th June 2017
We are still on holiday in the fabulous Greek island of Lesvos. Woken early by barking dogs and crazy crowing cockerels, wandering down to the turtle pool, near the sea's edge. The freshwater turtles who live there are quite unlike the stately sea turtles of the Caribbean. These Lesvos turtles are small and compact, like the tortoises that were popular garden pets in the 1970's. As you approach, the bolder turtles will swim out of the reeds and hold position in the middle of the pool, showing just their eyes and nostrils above the water. Their shells are beneath the surface, their flippers move slowly back and forth. Their beady eyes remain steadily fixed on you. The birds are singing, the sun is shining. Time and the turtles hang suspended.
They are watchful, and perfectly calm. If they don't like the look of you, they may swim away again. We will manage perfectly well without your lumps of stale bread, thank you. But when I toss a few morsels into the water, their air of cool detachment is gone; the bolder turtles snatch the nearest chunk, and paddle excitedly to the bottom of the pool to gulp down their prize. Soon, by a series of crafty bread throws, I bring the turtles ever closer to me. The shy ones hang back, but the bolder turtles venture to the rocky edge of the pool. They stomp foward on sturdy flipper feet, and chomp their beaky mouths in expectation. Soon the shy ones find their courage, and there's a throng of turtles on the rocky shore. Once the bread is gone, they'll give me a long steady look, before stomping away to get on with their day.
The next time I come, whether it's tomorrow or in five year's time, they will pretend they don't remember me. Yet once more, with a show of aloof dignity, they'll coax me to the water's edge, and accept my bread as tribute.
But I'm getting distracted! I meant to quickly tell you about the Tentacle Studio mobile phone, instead of musing on those timeless turtles. After an unscheduled plunge into water, the phone was dripping wet and totaly dead. I nearly binned it straight away, was sure it was past repairing, but I took it to the Lesvos phone shop just in case. The lady said the tech guy would be in soon to have a look at it. We will phone you immediately and let you know. Three days later, no word from them, so I popped in the shop. And saw our phone, sitting untouched on the shelf. Don't worry, he'll be in this afternoon for sure the lady says. Hmmm. So I idly pick the phone up, and guess what? It's working! All it needed was three days on a shelf in the hot sun. I remember the old saying; good things come to those who wait.
Photos © Mike Petty.
17th June 2017
Having dispatched all our current commissions and orders, a few days ago we jetted off to the beautiful Greek Island of Lesvos for some much needed rest. But it seems that relaxation was not on the cards: there was a small earthquake (5.3 on the richter scale). And while the earthquake didn't do much damage in our area- just a few loose rocks tumbled from the edge of the Molyvos castle- Bev managed to drop the Tentacle Studio mobile phone in the water! It's dripping wet, totally dead. Oh dear.
18th May 2017
We just made these furry panda heads to help IT company Dropbox celebrate their 10th anniversary. Thanks to Nikki Braume for organising the event, and sharing the photos.
29th April 2017
Continuing the theme of furry animals with teeth, we made some more wolf heads this week!
17th April 2017
We finished making all the bears! They are waving goodbye and heading to their premiere in Athens.
For more info: 'Phobiarama'
13th March 2017
In the Studio this month, we are making 10 realistic bear costumes for 'Phobiarama'. Co-commissioned by Onassis Cultural Centre Athens, and Holland Festival, 'Phobiarama' is an art installation in the form of a sinister fairground attraction. Here's the idea... Phobiarama is Dries Verhoeven’s latest ‘living installation’, which depicts a society obsessed with safety and perfection. Politicians, marketers and terrorists make good use of our alert state of being. Visiting Phobiarama will be an immersive excursion into our contemporary culture of fear". The premiere of the attraction is in Athens, then by June it's in Amsterdam.
10th Feb 2017
Another big head! Our newly made pilot touched down in New York last week, and was soon surrounded by adoring fans - oh, the glamour of a uniform! Click here to see him in action.
14th Jan 2017
Here is some of our recent work. The giraffes are now available in our shop, the paper masks and the clouds were custom commissions.
4th Jan 2017
Happy New Year everyone! We just took a trip to the National Archaeological Museum in Leiden, (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden). Here are a few of the photos we took. Everything is Egyptian, except the gold lion, which is Iranian. The museum has some fabulous sculptures, both human and animal. Inspiring stuff.
29th December 2016
Well, as it’s the end of the year, I’ve been thinking a lot about renewal. I read somewhere that the cells in our bodies are constantly replenishing themselves, at the rate of millions per second, and there are between 50 and 75 trillion cells in your body. Yet, despite all this frantic renewal, you don't ever get to be an entirely new person; because you get just one set of brain cells at birth, and very few of them are ever replaced. However, your brain does have the ability to evolve, by making new connections in the neural network between cells. These new connections are formed when you see and do unfamiliar things.
My own life has evolved in more ways than I could ever have hoped for. When I was five, if you'd told me I’d eventually live in a ‘foreign’ country, and I'd get be creative every day, I would have literally jumped for joy (I was a bouncy child- give me some good news, and I'd be hopping about happily for hours). But the point I’m trying to make here is, at the age of five, I couldn’t guess what I would achieve, and almost everything I did was new to me. But as we get older, it’s tempting to stick to the old tried and tested formulas, and not reach out for the new stuff.
So in the last few months, Mike and I have made a conscious effort to move forward with Tentacle Studio, and also evolve in small ways personally. We've been to some great art exhibitions, museums, music gigs and festivals, and each one has given us a fresh perspective. I’ve started wearing nicer clothes to work, and -apart from the odd paint splash mishap!- this makes me feel happier. We are designing a whole heap of new items for our webshop too, and re-organising the workspace. And boy, that really needs doing, at the moment the workshop looks like a furry glitter bomb exploded in there!
This year, we also decided “No more bad clients”. Now, I don't mean you, gentle reader, but you’ll recognise the sort: they don’t know what they want, they want it yesterday, and they want it cheap! So generally cutting out the crap has reduced considerably reduced our stress, so we have time to appreciate the nice clients even more. So I’m feeling very hopeful about the New Year 2017. Apparently, by the time you have finished reading this sentence, 50 million of your cells will have died and been replaced by others. I feel, if my body can do all that work to renew itself, I owe it to my brain to get out there and do new stuff too, and give it some fresh neural pathways to work with!
Below is a picture of us from last week, at the Midwinter festival of Castlefest. We are both wearing new hats (and looking slightly bonkers, but never mind). Here's wishing you a very healthy and happy year in 2017!
18th November 2016
We created these horse heads for a production of Equus, at Highland Park High School, Highland Park, Illinois, USA. I love the passion and euphoria in these photos!
25th October 2016
We've just finished this totally bonkers Halloween costume. The concept was "Let's make a sea monster that opens up like it was a dirty mac flasher." And then it just grew weirder... I think our brains got infected with a dose of Hieronymus Bosch! The monster includes a real time voice changer, extendable feelers that squirt water, and multicoloured glowing eyes. Here the photo flash cancels out the eye effects, but by night, it looks fabulously spooky.
24th October 2016
Ooh, we just got featured on a popular New York blog!"My One Beautiful Thing"
17th October 2016
It's the usual Halloween madness at Tentacle Studio this month, but over in Belgium life is slow and easy, and the sun is shining! The band Bhaaloo just finished this lovely video, featuring a bear costume we made. It was filmed on one of the hottest days this summer, yet it has a wonderful, chilled out feel. Take a look!