Jason and Dawn Gould won the 2016 CoreCon costume contest award for Best in Theme: Carnival at the End of the World. Jason, the artist, sculptor, and tinkerer, tells us what he thinks of cosplay.
Greetings and salutations!
I write today on the subject of costuming, what my inspirations are, and why I costume. Starting at the beginning, as one typically does, I have always been around costuming in one form or another. Growing up, I was involved in the Society for Creative Anachronisms or SCA, a medieval reenactment group. Think of them as a medieval LARP with a focus on historical accuracy and no fantasy element. I grew up in a unique time, straddling the old ways and the new, stuck between doing things by hand and doing things with a computer and never quite fitting in with either world. Costuming has always allowed me to step into another life or person and forget myself for a while, so it has been and still is an escape from everyday life for me.
For me, one of the biggest challenges has been budget or a lack thereof, making it necessary for me to learn how to do it myself. I am fortunate that both my mother and grandmother were handy with a sewing machine, so I learned pattern drafting and sewing early on. (I still typically sweet talked one of them to help me with that part.) Let’s face it: a sewing machine can be a little intimidating. It hurts sewing through your finger when you get distracted. Getting blood out of fabric is no treat either. My biggest joy in costuming has always been the props and other “hard” elements of a costume.
Prop making has been my biggest focus as I enjoy building things. I am largely self taught in that field as early on, I had a lot of difficulty learning from others. At the conventions I was attending, I would go to as many panels as I could on the topics of props and model making. This caused me a lot of frustration in that the panels largely turned out to be a display of “Look what I can do. Isn’t it great?” They never talked about the process of how they did it. At one point, I was told to leave for asking too many questions as they did not want to divulge their “secrets.” That was a formative moment in my costuming. I made it my mission at that point to learn as much as I could in any way I could and share that knowledge.
After much trial and error and a whole lot of reading on many topics, I was able to build a broad set of skills which I turned into a career. I found work as a master model maker for a local metal casting company, up until I got replaced by a 3D printer. So while I can no longer pursue those dreams and loves in this area professionally, I still have my props and costumes to escape to.
I stay relatively local for the conventions between here and the twin cities due to cost and time considerations. I would love to attend a larger convention at some point but am content enjoying our local scene. I host panels on costuming, typically focusing on doing it on a budget. I am fortunate to have married someone who is a geek as well and supports me in these endeavors and has recently started joining me in the costuming adventures with the conventions.
It all boils down to having fun, and being able to have fun with someone you love is wonderful. If I can encourage others and help them grow in their adventures as well then I say things are a success. If anyone ever has any questions about how do do something, I am more than happy to provide whatever knowledge I may have and help them do something they love as well.
Mr. Phikset, AKA Jason Gould.