Toronto Caribbean Carnival costumes are an excellent example of where art and science meet. In addition to their imaginations, designers use design principles, engineering skills and materials science when creating their masterpieces. When creating a headpiece, designers consider the centre of gravity, so it doesn’t fall off. They also think about balancing the weight of the headpiece from side to side and from front to back to ensure it doesn’t affect the wearer’s balance. Finally, they choose materials that are strong enough to last through the Carnival but light enough so that the wearer’s neck won’t be injured by its weight.
Add moving parts to your headpiece! Spend time thinking about how these parts will move, where the joints will go and how they’ll hold together. Thumbtacks and strings can help form basic gears and pulleys, allowing you to control the moving parts on your headpiece by hand—like puppets.
The scientific merit of carnival costumes
The Ontario Science Centre established the Innovation Mas’ Award in 2010 to recognize innovative carnival costume design at the annual Toronto Caribbean Carnival. The Award honours the designer whose creation best demonstrates the principles and practices of engineering innovation, including risk-taking, problemsolving and collaboration. The judging criteria also consider the creative use of materials and a commitment to the advancement of this unique craft for future generations.