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Using literal pages from books, Durango Public Library patrons create Shakespearean fashion

Simultaneous events held for adults and children to help create Snowdown costumes
Julia Hernandez, 11, proudly displays the crown of flowers she created for her fairy costume. Next up: Making a pair of horns with clay. “It’s a lot of fun,” Hernandez said. (Megan Olsen/Durango Herald)

The Durango Public Library has gone all in on the Snowdown festivities this year, and Wednesday’s events were no exception. Shakespearean-era costume accessories was the name of the game, and participants big and small were given free range for creativity and innovation.

“We’re doing a lot with Snowdown this year,” said organizer Daisy Grice. “The library has gone all in.”

The library held a Shakespeare-themed escape room on Saturday for participants of all ages, and this week, staff members brought out the books, though not for the purpose of reading about the world-renowned Renaissance-era bard and playwright. The pages of the recycled books were used to make ruffs, an unusual and uncomfortable fashion of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Worn by men, women and children, ruffs were a stiff ruffled fabric worn around the neck of a shirt or chemise. The original purpose of the ruff was to force the wearer to sit up straight and develop a more acceptable posture, though it later became a symbol of wealth and status throughout Europe. The bigger the ruff, the heavier the purse, so to speak.

Ruff-making participants at the Durango Public Library follow the careful instructions given to them to recreate the unusual Renaissance-era fashion with the pages of recycled books. (Megan Olsen/Durango Herald)
Daisy Grice, adult and circulation services supervisor at Durango Public Library, shows off her Shakespearean-era ruff, crafted with the pages of recycled books. “It’s really not that uncomfortable,” Grice said with a laugh. (Megan Olsen/Durango Herald)

“It’s really not that uncomfortable,” said Grice with a laugh, who gave her ruff a more modern-day spin by lining it with lights.

While the adults worked on their ruffs in one room, the kids worked on accessories in the next room for their A Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy cosplay. The library provided the flowers, ribbons and glue guns for the young patrons to make their flower crowns and had clay and paint on hand to make a pair of horns or wands for those going with a more sprite-like aesthetic.

“We wanted to have activities for the kids as well during Snowdown,” said Youth Services Librarian Nicole Burchfield.

Displaying the crown of flowers she had made herself, 11-year-old Julia Hernandez was happy the library had provided the cosplay crafting opportunity.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said.


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