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Throwback Thursday! Our very own Judy Stephens was lucky to join a group of lovely cosplayers including Yaya Han to participate in a shoot for Champion Magazine about cosplay. It was a whirlwind day with lots of great shots, plus she got a chance to shoot a few of her own, which you can see here.

Cosplay by Yaya Han, MostFlogged, Anna Elizabeth, Wilbert Rivera, Martin Miller & Cyrstal Lee.

Photos by Judy Stephens.

I'm done.

I wrote something with rationalizations, justifications, and defenses against misinformation but deleted it, because I realized it doesn’t really matter. What does is how I feel: my perspective has changed after this week on the world of cosplay. I will keep doing “make believe” costumes and encouraging kids (+those at heart) to follow their imaginations, but I’m out as far as everything else goes. No thanks. 

It probably would have been easier if everyone was just personally attacking me since that’s easy to ignore, but it’s that PLUS my friends and professionals who are amazing and hardworking, ethical people. Flawed? Yes. But do you want me to throw stones at your glass house?

My mom just survived cancer (again). I’ve gone to more funerals than I have weddings. My childhood was spent watching people I loved suffer through addiction, prostitution, jail, child protective services, abuse. I personally experienced things that are too triggering for me to talk about. 

And seeing all of this, that’s where I’m at. I don’t even want to go on my Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr anymore. Literally, panic attacks. And, I always tell people, “When it stops being fun, stop doing it.” 

I couldn’t even get 100 shares when I (against better judgement lest it gets plagiarized) posted an excerpt of my research that inspired the Peter Pan costumes. That’s what people claimed they wanted right? Process? Fun? But when they get it? Oh… sorry. There’s some drama happening, better re-post that instead. But don’t do that on the TV show because that’s not real.

I’m tired of traditional cosplay. You can find me in the world of the Never Never Land. If that’s where you want to be, you know how to get there.

I love you. Let’s never fight again.

2

Snow day!! Since I’m stuck at my house, I decided to share a photo of the newest costume I made!

Enira, the Banshee Queen from Lineage 2

Why I decided to make this costume:
As soon as I saw this character, I knew I had to make the costume. It was an instant obsession! I began collecting materials immediately, which is the key for me to turn any cosplay wish list item to actual craftsmanship project. I really really believe that half of the work on any costume is done through research, break down of materials and techniques, and the acquisition of every bit of material you may need. 
I also knew early on that I wouldn’t be tall enough for the proportions of Enira. There were too many details on her costume for it to fit on my damned short figure. So in a crazed moment I decided to buy a pair of stilts online and incorporate them into this costume. This one decision made Enira instantly into the most pain in the ass costume to make/transport/wear, out of all 270+ I have made.

How I made this costume:
Oh Goodness, this build felt like a battle all the way, mostly due the time limit I had to set for myself. I knew I had to get this costume done before my convention tour for 2014 started, because my travel schedule is about to get crazy and last through most of the year. I have the most blocks of time to do intense crafting between December and end of February, which is why often you’ll see my most elaborate costumes come out in Spring, not Summer. 
I used to not have the luxury of choosing from a wide range of materials, so these days, I buy in bulk and I usually get back up options as well. Time is my biggest enemy, so being prepared is the most important weapon I can wield. 

To keep this post from turning into a huge novel, I will post a detailed breakdown of construction on each piece when I add Enira to my website. For now, let’s just summarize that every piece on this costume is made from scratch.
My wig is 2 Arda Wigs combined, which a foam and Worbla base. It’s like a helmet lol! Steel boned corset, custom patterned sleeves with foam backing, a lot of Worbla used on various pieces, made and painted wings, 5 foot long ballgown skirt, tattered with a blow torch, spiderweb skirt is neoprene with Worbla spines, Fred the skeleton and my horns are foam with fast curing plastic brushed over and sealed… I’m sure I’m forgetting something… 
All together, about 50 yards of fabric, 100 yards of trims, hundreds of feathers, 1.5 full sheets of Worbla, 14 days of non-stop crafting with 1 - 3 hours of sleep each night, and a very scared Yaya not knowing if she can even walk on stilts with all this weight on.

I have learned a lot of lessons over the years about how to plan out and make costumes, and it felt very out of my element to take on a project that I didn’t feel confident in. There were many variables that could go wrong, and it was an interesting journey to make Enira in such a short amount of time. A big part of me is glad that even after 14 years, I still have a lot to learn and there are tons of projects out there that provide challenges for me. The whole point of being an artist is to keep growing and learning, and I appreciate every lesson.

I have to give a special shout out and Thank You to the following friends, who came over for an emergency day of help right before I left for New Orleans. Yashuntafun CosplayTwinklebat, Jessie and Rachel work in my office and saw that I was super overwhelmed one day, so they came over and helped with tedious bits such as tattering the skirt, making chain tassels, spray painting, gathering tulle, packing up the big pieces for shipping to New Orleans etc. Brian also helped with Fred the skeleton and getting me dressed each time since it was a 3 person job lol. A special Thank You also to Kevin Spooner for mixing an amazing track of music for me to walk out on stage to. I’m all about giving credit and I appreciate my friends’ support in this project. Sometimes, a costume is bigger than you O_O.

Photo taken by Brian Bolinghttp://www.flickr.com/photos/brianboling