I'm the first to admit that my rhinestone encrusted shoes killed some brain cells. I worked exclusively with E-6000 for all of the rhinestoning on the shoes and the rest of that costume. It's been a year and the costume still has that gluey smell. I want to have my wits about me for as long as possible, so I'm making some changes.
I'm still using E-6000 where absolutely necessary (like on props). For my other rhinestone needs, I'm using the less toxic Gem-Tac and Jewel It. My current project will have sew-on rhinestones. I'm getting a hot-fix tool in the near future so I can try that option. I can't deal with the E-6000 fumes, and I worry about what kind of long term damage is happening to my body by having that dried yet toxic glue rubbing up against it. This means I can rhinestone at my day job when I'm alone and no one can smell the evidence later in the day.
I'm also allergy prone. I can't touch wool. It seems I'm developing a feather allergy, which means I have to keep the feathery stuff away from my face and use caution when fan dancing. Add to that my hippy philosophy of not wasting resources. (The Indians would use the entire buffalo. If I'm willing to wear the byproduct, I should be willing to eat the meat of the animal that provided it. I've eaten ostrich before, but I don't eat it any more. I'm cutting back on my ostrich feather consumption.) What was going to be an ostrich feather skirt for this new costume evolved. My second concept was an ostrich fringe skirt. When I noticed my sinuses going off from extended feather exposure, I decided to use natural and synthetic fabrics to beef up the skirt and use a very small amount of ostrich fringe. Fortunately, I'm able to alter that concept without sacrificing the silhouette of the costume.
I'm trying to be smarter, greener and more careful about the things I use on and near my body. I'm not ready to stop wearing leather shoes, but I'm also not ready to give up beef. Fellow performers, what can you do to modify your consumption of resources and use of toxic materials without sacrificing your artistic visions?