Bailey Crouch: Adding Diversity to The Hobbit

Artist Statement

My name is Bailey Crouch, and I am a senior majoring in Theatre and Agriculture. In my Scenic Design class, we were given a movie and told to create two characters and costumes for them using the already existing movie as reference. The Hobbit is one of my favorite stories of all time, and it has been since I was a kid. However, it was written by a white man in 1932 - there’s not a lot of diversity. There is a handful of women and no nonbinary people, plus all of the characters are white. I decided to change that in this assignment and created Lavender Took, a hobbit who joins the company alongside her cousin Bilbo and Presta, a Mirkwood Elf that helps the party along the way.

Hobbits are known for their curly hair, bright floral patterns, and jovial attitude. I chose to give Lavender a bright red dress to oppose Bilbo’s green coat. Her skirt is hand-embroidered to show her craftiness and skill.

I wanted Presta to combine the heavy gear of guards with the light fabrics of archers together. I landed on mithril armor – a light metal that is strong as steel. The mithril is combined with leather to create a sturdy yet movable outfit. The earthen tones help them meld with the forest around them.

I hope my piece allows others to see themselves in the stories that I love and that it influences creators to look into diversifying their characters.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: Adding Diversity to The Hobbit
  • Medium: two 9"x12" watercolor paintings
  • Student's Name: Bailey Crouch
  • Major: Theatre (Writing for Performance)
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: December 2022
  • Hometown: Lincoln, Missouri, United States
  • Student's Mentor: Miriam Hedges
  • Mentor's Department: Theatre


Sarah Humfeld

Bailey, can you remind me whether clothing colors are indicated in any ways in the Tolkien books, or are our current conceptions shaped mostly by the movies? In addition to the contrast with earthtones, I'm curious to know more about why you selected red for Lavender Took's clothing. Thanks for sharing your designs with us!