Gelfling Display – The Dark Crystal costume

Custom Display for Jen the Gelfling’s Costume from Jim Henson’s Classic, The Dark Crystal

We were contacted by our old friend Brandon Alinger from the leading source for original film props and costumes, Propstore, who was looking for a custom display for his Jen the Gelfling costume from Jim Henson’s 1982 classic, The Dark Crystal. Since Jen is a puppet and not physically played by a human this costume is a perfect example of why you would want to choose a custom mannequin as opposed to an off the shelf retail mannequin. Not even a child sized mannequin would have had the proper size and proportions, but creating a custom display form would allow us to create a mannequin that would now properly fill out the delicate and intricate costume.

Brandon had a specific style of mannequin in mind: something with sculpted hair and a single-colored sculpted head, feet and hands. This is a style we love! It adds context to the costume display while keeping the main focus of the display on the original costume itself and not distracting with a full color replica head or hair.

Maria Teran and Patrick Louie worked to craft a body that would fit the costume without causing undue stress on the aging fabrics. It was quite the challenge! This body would need to be able to allow for dressing and connect with the new rigid head, hands and feet. For those parts, we were fortunate to have access to 3D scan data from a set of foam hands and a head skin from one of the production’s Jen puppets, however, time had taken a toll on those pieces and the forms were not in the exact shapes they would’ve been in 1982. That said, it was still a great starting point in creating the digital sculptures that would be a part of this display.

Tony Cipriano (with some additional work by Sean Fields) crafted the digital head, hair, hands and feet to help complete this display. Using our high-resolution 3D printers, we were able to “grow” the parts and then hand finish each. Tom chose a warm, yet neutral putty color that evokes the color of Jen’s skin in the film, feeling cohesive with, yet not distracting from, the original costume.

Don’t miss the video below where our friend Adam Savage and the Tested team visited with Propstore to discuss this display in-depth!

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Watch our friend Adam Savage go in-depth with this costume and display!