Sunday, August 1, 2010

Draping for Days

As you've guessed by now, I wear a few hats.

This week I was back assisting Pieter Bouterse Studio's special events business. My assignment was to turn some pieces of wood, expertly engineered in a twelve foot dome outline, into a sumptuously draped, wedding ceremony structure.  I had two days and two assistants.

We worked in an empty room behind the Grand Ballroom, right next to the back of the main stage. If only we could have worked on the stage from the beginning, but we were not able to get into the Ballroom. This presented us with some logistical challenges. We The crew of guys had to move the (heavy) dome up 4 feet onto the stage and through the stage opening on the morning of the event to finish the draping and decorate it with flowers.

The first step was to cover the wood structure with a cotton batiste to give the silk something to rest on. It was a good thing it was not standing 10' in the air yet! Do you see those six door panels behind the dome? That is where the dome had to go through to get onto the stage.

Here we are starting to put on the panels and drape them. We worked with an absolutely beautiful,  heavyweight cream silk, used for wedding dresses. Silk holds its shape and is lovely to drape. We used over two hundred yards of silk.

Panels were cut to size, gathered at one end and placed through the doughnut hole and onto the dome.

We had just enough to tuck under the dome bottom, gather and tack.

This took us an entire day to do.   

The next morning, we raised the dome to about 6' high and began the draping around the entire circumference. Lots of pins and staples. And, yes, the entire structure gets dismantled the morning after the event.  

The panels were cut very long, as they would not only cover the poles, but also drape back at each corner. At the end of the day, we gathered all of the panel ends into the dome so that we had easy access to the legs the next day for the big move.

The dome made it through the stage opening with one fourth of an inch clearance. Whew!

After we finished the fabric, we applied the flowers and crystal garlands. The "back line" consisted of the crystal garlands with dendrobium orchids attached to them, interspersed with dendrobium leis from Hawaii.

The photos are not in the best focus; to even have one or two without someone in them was a challenge and they had to be taken quickly. (If it had been up to us, those ugly light fixtures would have been placed elsewhere!)

The flowers on the poles are hydrangea, snapdragons and dendrobium orchids. Great color on those dendrobs!

These are the aisle stanchion flowers, but I didn't get a chance to photograph them. They were silk columns, topped with these flowers and connected by draped silk swags.


By now, the dome is down, the fabric has been removed and is rolled back up for the next event.
Such is the life of special events!

For further information, contact Pieter Bouterse Studio.


  1. Sweetheart, precious, darling, angel...this is completely awesome! & I realize exactly how much thought, planning & engineering went into all this. What a huge job. What a huge success. It is truly lovely, and those flowers on the tie-backs are to die for. I suppose this was for a Persian wedding or some other one which required a canopy? Good job! Excellent post. I would love to share it. xx's Marsha

  2. Thanks, Marsha!
    From someone who loves clothes and design, it is a huge compliment! Please feel free to share.

    If you think the dome takes a lot of planning, imagine draping a 60' x 100' tent ceiling 20-30 feet up in the air. Not for the faint of heart (and not my favorite!).

  3. What kind of wedding was it?
    The whole exercise amazing,certainly a fabulous result well done!

  4. Oh my gosh!!! You are sooo talented. I can't even imagine how much planning, engineering and work that all was. The end result is over the top! Fabulous!! The flowers are gorgeous. I'm just so impressed. I know the clients just had to be overwhelmed with joy when they saw it. Thanks for sharing. Mona

  5. It was an Indian wedding. That little table in front of the center 2 chairs holds incense.

    I certainly cannot take credit for the engineering and planning- that belongs to the boss, Pieter Bouterse. I have never seen such a creative, talented person.

  6. If that's what it looks like in a quick photo, I can't imagine how breathtaking it is to stand before it in person!!! I'm glad I snuck a visit in to see your latest and greatest this morning :) Loving you and everything you do!!! Well done, bravo!!!!!

  7. Beautiful! It will definitely be a beautiful day to remember!
    What a gorgeous creation.