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May 2014

Cosplay Inspiration and Events

May 28, 2014 | Ames | Comments (0)

Danbo from Yotsuba&!
Danbo from Yotsuba&!. Photo by author.

Last weekend was Anime North, an annual, fan-run convention in Toronto for anime, manga, gaming, Japanese and other Asian culture, as well as pop culture. I have been a loyal attendee since 2001, and most years, I cosplay. That is, I attend in a costume based on a character from a game, a book, a movie, or a television show. One of our guest bloggers, author Amanda Sun wrote an excellent post for us last summer on what cosplay is, so I'll skip over that here.

Super Mario Cosplayers
Gender-bending cosplay or "crossplay"

Normally, I make a costume based on one of my favourite anime - such as Black Butler (also a manga!) - or a video game, but this year I decided to do something different. This year I decided to make a steampunk costume. Rather than recreating a specific character's costume, I was working from my imagination, and I was paralyzed by choice. Gears, goggles, and gadgets, oh my!

So I turned to the many books on steampunk costumes and accessories available from the library. Here are a couple of my favourites...

Anatomy of Steampunk




The anatomy of steampunk : the fashion of Victorian futurism 

by Katherine Gleason






1000 steampunk creations : neo-Victorian fashion, gear & art

by Joey Marsocci

Both are full of gorgeous pictures of fantastical costumes and creations, done with a level of skill and an eye for detail that I can only dream of one day achieving! But since I was looking for inspiration, I got some excellent ideas for pieces with elements that I wanted to incorporate into my own costume.



For some great ideas that are less daunting, I recommend...

  Steampunk Your Wardrobe



Steampunk your wardrobe : easy projects to add victorian flair to 
everyday fashions

by Calista Taylor





Steampunk: Gears, Gadgets & Gizmos



Steampunk gear, gadgets, and gizmos : a maker's guide to creating modern artifacts

by Thomas Willeford

Not only are these ideas that anyone can achieve, they include the instructions! I particularly like the Taylor book for recommendations of steampunk elements into a daily wardrobe, not just extravagent costume ideas.



1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay IdeasOur own Library Thomas recommends 1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay Ideas by Yaya Han, which includes many different types of costumes – not just steampunk. As his review suggests, it's really more for inspiration, and doesn't include a how-to!

If you’re looking for more costume inspiration, you could always take a look at books on Japanese fashion, including Gothic Lolita and how to make your own kimono, watch some anime via Hoopla, or read an eBook on drawing manga?



For instruction, why not look at books for crafting metal jewelry, or eBooks on sewing?


Anime North will be back next May, but if you’re looking for somewhere else to wear your costumes this summer, here are some opportunities!

 and, of course…

 Where else do you plan to cosplay this summer? And what do you use for inspiration?

Edit: Added the link for the Sanderson Cosplay Fashion Show.

Farley Mowat, 1921-2014

May 7, 2014 | Sarah | Comments (3)

Beloved Canadian author and activist Farley Mowat has died at the age of 92. From Sandra Martin's obituary in the Globe and Mail today:

"Mr. Mowat was a trickster, a ferocious imp with a silver pen, an ardent environmentalist who opened up the idea of the North to curious southerners, a public clown who hid his shyness behind flamboyant rum-swigging and kilt-flipping, and a passionate polemicist who blurred the lines between fiction and facts to dramatize his cause. Above all, he was a bestselling and prolific writer who kept generations of children (and their parents) spellbound by tales of adventures with wolves that were friendlier than people, whales in need of rescue, dogs who refused to cower, owls roosting in the rafters and boats that wouldn’t float."

Here are links to some of his most popular books in the Toronto Public Library catalogue:

Never Cry Wolf

Owls in the Family

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be

Lost in the Barrens

Bay of Spirits: A Love Story

A Whale for the Killing

There are so many more books by and about Mr. Mowat - far too many to list here! I will end with an image from the 1981 NFB documentary Ten Million Books: An Introduction to Farley Mowat.



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