While I’m having a fun foray in the Caribbean, frolicking with friends and focusing on fruity concoctions such as fuzzy navels, I also managed to plan a bit of a treat for my readers!
I’m super excited to announce that this Thursday, QQ will have its first guest poster!
Who is this guest poster? Well, that is what today’s short post is about!
Meet Meris from over at The Fabric Alchemist! Meris is a museum educator by day, sewist and costumer by night, and nature enthusiast on the weekends. With a background in archaeology, she has proven that she can be an irritatingly meticulous D&D player when exploring deserted dungeons. Cosplaying since 2011, she has made costumes based on Assassins Creed, My Little Pony, Bioshock: Infinite, Firefly, and Legend of Korra.
She’s going to be doing a fantastic post for us later this week on a recent convention she attended, so be sure to come back Thursday to hear her convention report! For now, I’d like you all to get to know her a bit better, so earlier this week I asked her a few questions!
JEN: How long have you been sewing?
MERIS: I first asked my mom for a sewing lesson in high school and then she helped me make one Halloween costume for myself during my sophomore year of college. My current sewing spree began in 2011, shortly after I had moved to Seattle and entered the convention scene. In 2010 I became interested in making costumes and reducing the number of ready-to-wear clothes I bought (I am also a big environmentalist). Greg conspired to make sure I was given a sewing machine for Christmas, and the adventure began.
MERIS: I can’t think of any specific tricks that I frequently use. However, my most valuable skill is pattern-drafting. I was able to take a “personal enrichment” class through the University of Washington that taught basic pattern drafting. Knowing how to read pattern drafting diagrams and just having basic pattern blocks that fit me have made costume design so much easier.
JEN: I love reading about your all of your sewing, but especially your cosplay! I am still tickled that we have both done Elizabeth from Bioshock (and with our respective Bookers)! And I’m still jealous that you got to do it with your own hair, that cut worked perfectly 🙂
MERIS: The ancient Egyptian costume I made during college (2002). This was the first time I intentionally set out to make a costume for myself. I was an archaeology/ancient history snob and the “store-bought” Egyptian Halloween costumes were not authentic enough in my eyes.
The costume cost me $80 in materials and took me weeks to complete (including accessories), but it taught me that making my own costumes was very doable. That experience was the source of my confidence when I first approached convention costumes.
JEN: I know you are in the progress of planning your wedding. What wedding decision/feature/choice are you most excited about (aside from Greg, of course)?
MERIS: Greg and I are making our own wedding rings–this weekend, in fact! With These Rings is run by a local jeweler helps couples design and fabricate or carve their wedding rings. Going into the wedding I did not have strong feelings about our wedding rings. When we learned about this opportunity, it just clicked. We both make costumes and do hand-made projects around the house. Of course we should make our own rings!We are very fortunate to have won a contest that provided us a discount on the studio time. We couldn’t have won the voting contest without our friends and members of the geek community (Irrational Games even tweeted about us because we had chosen our Bioshock cosplay as the contest entry photo). When we make and wear these rings, we will of course be reminded of our marriage, but we will also think about our wide support network of friends, families, and geeks. You can read our “story” here.
JEN: What do you think is the best thing about living in the Seattle area?
MERIS: Geek is a profession here. Simply between Microsoft, Amazon, and countless other table-top and digital game studios, the Seattle-area is home to thousands of people who make a living producing media content that appeals to the geek-demographic. This also means that there are people with well-paying jobs who love geek culture and are eager to support actors, writers, photographers, and artists who want to create geeky web series, online comic strips, or artwork. There are improv groups that structure shows about Doctor Who and Final Fantasy, and musicians who incorporate geek & pop-culture media references into their songs. We have three well-loved restaurants that cater to the board-gaming crowd.In a way the community is self-perpetuating. As game and technology companies emerge and grow, more people who typically have geeky-tendancies move to the Seattle area, adding more geek creators and consumers.
I appreciate being able to walk down the street in costume and not be heckled or harassed. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco all have their own weird cultural quirks, and not just in the geek community. Some people might look quizzically at me, but Seattle has a history of unusual events and festivals. As a city, most people tend to just shrug their shoulders and accept what they see as someone’s personal expression.
Seattle is a very easy place to openly be a geek. (There are also some GREAT hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities.)
JEN: How many different conventions have you been to? Do you have a favorite?
MERIS: I have attended 4 different conventions, all in the Seattle Area:
- NorWesCon: primarily a science fiction/fantasy literature convention
- Emerald City Comicon: comic-book and pop-culture convention
- PAX Prime: Video and table-top games
- Geek Girl Con: A four-year old convention that champions the role of women (creators and characters) in geeky genres and STEM careers.
While I experience more mind-blowing moments at PAX or Emerald City because of the events (Live D&D game!), exhibitors (game previews!), and celebrity guests (Patrick Stewart!), I think Geek Girl Con is my favorite. It is small and intimate. The big conventions give me pride because I see how large and far-reaching the geek community is. Geek Girl Con gives me hope and allows me to form tighter bonds with people I meet at the convention.
I never had a problem showing my geek growing up, but I know lots of people who were bullied in their youth (and as adults). I appreciate the atmosphere the GGC creators have tried to establish. “Girl” is in the title, but is a safe place for all genders and all ages. Panels explore race, sexuality, gender, and representation in different media. Young girls can meet women professionals in comics, games, or STEM careers. It is a convention I recommend to people who are new to pop-culture/geek conventions or to anyone who wants to have productive conversations about the future of geek media and the geek community.
Thanks again to Meris for being my first guest post here on QQ! I’m excited to read all about your recent convention experience! Stay tuned for some excitement on Thursday, readers!