S: My first cosplay was when I was 17. I went to Otakon dressed as Lady from Devil May Cry 3. I had always wanted to dress up and embody a character but I was a pretty poor seamstress at 17 and had difficulty finding armored/weaponed female characters I could relate to. I didn't cosplay after that for the same reasons until 2013 and I've been doing it regularly ever since! It happened then for a few reasons: I finally found a game I liked to play regularly (and in that game some characters I wanted to bring to life), more resources and tutorials were available to help people learn how to cosplay, and I knew people within the community that would cosplay with me.
R: Over the course of your cosplay-making adventures, what's been the hardest element to construct? Can you describe the process?
S: The most difficult part of a costume I've had to make to date is Irelia's blades (from League of Legends).
The character wields these 4 giant blades that float around a glowing orb. I enjoy making impressive props, so that wasn't the problem - the issue was that it had to be both moveable and disassemble-able. In the game, Irelia's blades move between two stances: active (where the x-shaped blades are like open scissors) and passive (where the x-shaped blades are like closed scissors). This was simulated through attaching the four blades onto a plexiglass "x" shape that ran through an LED-lit acrylic orb (the plastic rivets of the orb would keep the x from opening too largely). Big issue #1 solved! Issue #2 - making this nearly 6-foot tall weapon fit into a normal-sized suitcase! I had to drill holes through each blade (which was 8 layers of dremel-cut EVA foam sandwiched between a thermoplastic layer), through the plexiglass parts, and attach screws that would hold it all in place - without the plexiglass cracking or breaking. It impressively hasn't broken yet and is displayed on the walls at the Riot Games office, the makers of League of Legends. I'm happy all that work paid off!
S: I'm definitely partial to Irelia both because I put so much work into it and because it was a collaborative effort. I had seen this artwork of Irelia as illustrated by Polish artist Ewa Labak and I fell in love with the details she had added. Irelia was an older champion (in terms of game design) that still hasn't been updated, so I contacted Ewa and asked if she'd be open to collaborating on concept art for her version of Irelia. She said yes and we literally worked for months on the piece. You can see her finalized concept art here! I'm also pretty proud of my Talon cosplay, because I took another dated champion (my favourite to play in a game of over 120 options) and added a lot of details. It's really satisfying bringing that sort of thing to life!
S: Thank you so much! I started jewelry classes in 2011 at a local centre that offered jewelrysmithing workshops. I remember the first thing they taught you was to saw your initials out of a bronze plate and I was so bored and pretentious because it'd been so long since I had to start something from such an elementary level again. A lot of other things you can learn on your own (jewelry included!) but I'm definitely glad I stuck through the years of study. I did the classes part time while I finished my bachelors in East Asian Studies and when I graduated I found myself to be a full-fledged adult with no real career prospects. I had dabbled in all sorts of arts (photography, graphic design, sculpting, book binding) and worked retail for years but nothing really jumped out at me. A month after I graduated it just sort of hit me that I could take jewelry more seriously. I had my first custom order for a centipede bracelet after only a few months of class. I've spent the last year and a half doing nothing but jewelry. It's been a lot of non-jewelry tasks (as it is in building your own small business) but I've never felt so at-home in my life. I'll be bringing the centipede back as a permanent part of my collection later this year. Sort of fitting, I think.
S: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't preferential to the Urobune Princess Ring. It was one of my first sketches and the last piece I was able to make because it was so complex technically. I love it so much. It's a halo engagement ring with 40 diamonds and an extravagant opal that's made to simulate a little UFO, so it literally spins on your finger. It's super cute and makes my heart soar just to look at it! I definitely have similar pieces in more affordable price-ranges coming soon.
R: All fantastic advice. Finally, because we gotta ask: what's your favourite kigurumi?