When Eva Jaunzemis graduated from KWS in 2011, she was well equipped to pursue a passion for costume design at Parsons School of Design in New York City.
What I took with me from Waldorf to Parsons was a strong ability to creatively solve problems, and be able to do it just as easily in wood as in yarn, pen and paper, or spatially with my body,” she said.
Now at age 23 and living in Brooklyn, New York, after graduating from Parsons last year, Jaunzemis was most recently engaged in a professional endeavor that combined a variety of artistic mediums. The experimental production called the Loon, by the dance/theater company Witness Relocation, has been gratifying to Jaunzemis on many levels.
“Making the Loon, being able to simultaneously make great dances and then go home and make some of my most favorite costumes, was a bit of a dream come true,” she said. “I’ve been doing professional costume work since I was a junior in college, but this was the first production that I’ve gotten to work in unison with my two most fulfilling passions.”
Kimberton Star: Do you feel that any aspect of your Waldorf education influenced your professional direction?
Evan Jaunzemis: Being able to create and work in an artistically interdisciplinary manner, was definitely strengthened during my time at Kimberton and is how my professional career operates. The Waldorf approach to a given subject, being able to look at a topic from multiple perspectives and explore through a variety of artistic mediums, has become more than extremely valuable to the way I work, but inherent to it. I do my best work when I’m not only involved as a dancer or performer in a piece, but also as a creative member of the production team. It’s quite similar to how main lesson assignments are structured- to not only have to write poetry or essays on the subject, but also make a painting or sculpture to delve as deep as possible into the topic and find your own connection to it. Working in so many different mediums while at Waldorf also has influenced me greatly. Not only did I have an array of experience and skills going into college, but curiosity and confidence to explore new techniques and disciplines before fully knowing how I would apply or combine them.
Kimberton Star: What was your role with the Loon and what is the look you went for from a costume design perspective?
Eva Jaunzemis: My professional roles in the Loon are as performer with the company, called Witness Relocation, and as Costume Designer. So, I was in charge of all design and construction of the costumes for nine performers, dancers/actors, as well as performing and being a member of the collaborative choreographing process. The concept of the show started from a record called “Voices of the Loon,” a record the Audubon Society released in 1980. From there, layers of influence from sociologist Erving Goffman and the creation of the Western home, and Bill Bryson’s work studying domestic life came in. That all was then framed narratively with some personal relationships, and a gentle arc of a party over the course of the night. That led me to start designing costumes that were somewhat reflective, and then enhanced, versions of what each dancer would wear to a party, with a bit of a creature/bird influence and glam-rock aesthetic. The show has a very real, emotional grounding for a lot of the creative team, including the company members. So, I chose to stick to a palette that reflected the emotional nature of the show, which ended up being a lot of black and grey, with touches of dark green and blue. The complexity of the designs came with the collaging of textures on the body, as well as layers of clothing.
Kimberton Star: What attracted you to costume design?
Kim Jaunzemis: I grew up as a performer, started dancing around age two, and was always in the choir and musicals at school. I also grew up making a lot of art. It just made sense at a very early age to be involved in both worlds. As both a dancer and a maker, I am extremely interested in the body. I am fascinated with how it works and what I can do with it, but also how our environment and what we put on it affects us not only physically but emotionally and psychologically. The shaping of identity through clothing and style has always been a huge subject of study and exploration for me. I think being able to play with that, and make clothes for all different identities on stage and in films is how I stay curious.
Kimberton Star: How do you feel your Waldorf education shaped you and had an impact on the person you are today?
Eva Jaunzemis: I think a lot of how Waldorf influenced me was creatively, as I described earlier. But, I would stress again that Waldorf gave me the ability to see possibility- especially the possibility to do more than one thing at a time in a harmonious and productive way. When I got to college I was shocked to find myself amongst students who could only work in one specific way, and couldn’t think creatively in any medium or format than the one they were used to. And it held them back when it came to design challenges. Your time at Waldorf gives you so much room to explore, as well as honestly, a whole lot of work, that you leave having learned an incredible amount about yourself. Waldorf made me a hard worker, a self-starter, a risk taker, and fairly self-assured teenage artist. Of course I did a whole lot more exploring artistically and directionally with my career in college, but I kept hold to an incredibly solid foundation that undeniably was the result of my education at Kimberton.
By Courtney Diener-Stokes