I moved to California from Sweden in 1995 and was delighted to find a vibrant fandom scene where I could immerse myself in sci-fi, which had up until that point largely been a solitary interest in my life. I especially took to the costuming right away, as dressing up was and to a large degree still is, considered a bit childish where I grew up.
The first convention costume I made was a recreation of Spock’s black tunic from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, a costume that is seen for all of 90 seconds in the movie. At that point all I knew how to do was sew and do a tiny bit of makeup, but in the 20 years since I have worked hard at improving not only my collection of costumes but also my skill as a costumer. For every costume I make I try to learn something new, acquire a new tool or play with a new material. I now dabble in a number of areas such as sculpting, mold making, leatherworking, foam carving, pattern making, sewing, wig modification, makeup, prosthetics, casting and painting to name a few. My costumes span a number of fandom areas such as movies, tv shows, comics, cartoons and video games.
I costume because it is a fantastic way to wear your fandom on your sleeve and to employ a multitude of creative skills to produce something with your hands. Wearing the costume is almost secondary to the process of making it for me. I relish the challenge of going into the unknown and designing, creating and problem solving all the parts that make up the whole without having a blueprint or cheat sheet for how you will get from A to Z. In the 20 years I have been at this I have gone from the shy Vulcan in the corner to someone who has made costuming a large part of her life reaching milestones such as braving the masquerade stage at Worldcon, traveling to England to train with the people that work on the special effects makeup on Doctor Who*, judging in masquerades, showing up on television and getting interviewed for Doctor Who Magazine.
But I cannot talk about my life in fandom without mentioning someone who is completely integral to my fandom life. Fandom has enriched and changed my life in so many ways: friendship, experiences and a sense of community and belonging, but the best thing it has brought me is my husband Bryan. We met through fandom, he proposed to me at a convention and together we have been navigating conventions of all sizes for 17 years and counting. We build costumes separately and together and we both love to nerd out about all things costume. And now we have the immense honor of being fan guests of honor for our favorite local convention Convolution! So please come find us at the convention if you have any questions/problems/tips/ideas or just want to hang out in general!
*Gorton Studios — Makeup FX and Prosthetics Creation course.
Photo credits: Richard Man, Chris Erickson, Christine Doyle, Mette Hedin