Finding My Inspiration
I'm not always the most linear thinker, so forgive me if this twists and turns a bit. When I first started writing blog entries, I laid out for myself what I intended to use them for. I decided not to write my first entry right away, so I had more time to mull over what exactly I wanted to say; I didn't just want to drop this whole thing en media res, even though I am starting it well into my years of cosplay. Even so, it's coming at a good 'beginning', because I'm just coming off of a self-imposed Cosplay Hiatus that ran from about June - September. Why? I needed some time to re-evaluate what I was doing with my life, get my living space in order, and most of all, to figure out exactly what it was that I wanted out of cosplay. After over a decade of participating in this hobby and it's community, watching it change with the invasion of Social Media websites like Twitter and Facebook, the sudden sharp realization that there was a war to see who could get the most 'likes', I really didn't know what about it I found fulfilling anymore. During this time, I barely LOOKED at my sewing machine, didn't touch a single scrap of fabric or patterns. I swear, I'm going somewhere with this, but allow me to Tangent for a moment: Just a couple of nights ago, I was talking to a cosplay friend that I met this year, and she mentioned that this was her 5th year of cosplaying. I instantly felt old because I am going into either my 11th or 12th year since I started, I can't remember exactly. But then, I got to thinking about it, and really, I haven't been very consistant about it. Prior to 2007, I only attended one convention per year, and that was SakuraCon in Seattle, WA. Heck, I even skipped that one entirely in 2005. When I first started out, I made one, maybe two costumes per year. It wasn't until 2008 that I hit more than 2 cons in a single year, and I made 8 costumes that year -- a number I haven't matched since then. I guess you could say I made up for the 3-4 years prior to that, all at once. In 2009 I made only 2 new costumes, and mostly re-wore things from the year before. 2010 was arguably my 'biggest' year because of the World Cosplay Summit, but looking back, I only made 4 costumes. Really, I had hit a burn-out after coming home from Japan, but I was afraid of being one of those cosplayers who seemed to drop off the face of the earth afterwards. So, rather than take a break (which, in hindsight, I should have), I threw myself whole-hog into any suggested project that came my way, particularly for my cosplay group "Ninja of the Night", and our skits. I made costumes for no reason other than there were groups being formed and it was how I was cast. I collected materials for costumes I wanted to make, but they inevitably were put on the back-burner so that I could finish things for group commitments. After almost 3 years of this, I was left with a closet full of costumes I wore once and didn't care to wear again, and a growing stockpile of fabric for costumes that, it was beginning to seem, I would never get the chance to make. I felt like I was on a run-away train, and it would just keep speeding ahead, from deadline to deadline. Around the beginning of this year, I decided that I would not be making any plans for after my commitments at Fanime 2013, and take my much needed Hiatus. Honestly, it's probably the best thing I could have done for myself. For a while now, without realizing it, cosplay had stopped being a joy, and had become a chore. Sure, I still had fun at conventions hanging out with my friends, but I was starting to wonder if I really enjoyed making costumes anymore -- at least enough to justify the hundreds of dollars I was pouring into supplies, just to wear something once and sell it off at a fraction of the cost. At the start of my hiatus I felt this anxiousness, a nagging guilt that I was not sewing anything, despite the fact that there was nothing on my to-do list, and no impending deadlines. I had lived for so long in a perpetual state of riding on deadlines, that It took me a couple of weeks to get out of that feeling of urgency. I made myself do nothing, and told myself it was ok. I channeled my energy into re-organizing my work space -- a task I had been putting off ever since I had moved into my apartment, and one that took me several WEEKS to complete. In the end I didn't even get to completley finish it, because I purchased a condo, and had to pack and move everything instead. Even so, cleaning out the old, re-sorting everything so that I can see it all, feel it all, everything right at my fingertips, it did a lot to re-ignite that spark of inspiration. I wanted to sew again. during my hiatus, I attended a couple of conventions as a staff representative for WCS, and that also helped me to re-define what I wanted out of this hobby. More than anything, I want to create. I want to look at designs and characters that truly appeal to me, and spend as much time as I feel like, to get it exactly how I want it, without the pressure of a deadline. I want to fight against the negative, and scrammbling for popularity that has started to polute the community, by putting out more positivity. I want to encourage people to cosplay, whatever they want, however they want, and to embrace their fellow cosplayers; to not compare against each other, but to share what they know with each other. I want to share what I know, and have learned through many mistakes, so others don't have to waste the time and money I did on little things like finding the right needles, or how fabrics behave in dye-baths. I've found my inspiration. I know what I want out of this hobby -- this amazing hobby that takes so much of my free time, money, and energy. I want to be and make things that I can be proud of.