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Archive for March, 2010

I-Con Costume

I have pictures!

This is the finished product: the elfish corset bodice that I made to wear to I-con. I am very happy with how it looks with my cool boots. 😎 Thank you Kelley for the awesome picture!! The grommets were difficult for me to set because I’ve never done it before. I bought a grommet setting hole-punch tool, but it didn’t come with directions and there wasn’t anything super explicit online. I pretty much figured it out though. The grommets look perfectly fine! And they totally didn’t fall out. 😀

I will put a few more pictures of this bodice up on my cosplay.com account, which can be found on the right under links. I don’t know if I will be making a page for this one here or not since it’s not exactly that elaborate.

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Review of I-con

I, having literally just stepped out of the car back from my trip to I-Con, with no time to digest my experiences, will attempt to write a review and/or summary of the con happenings as I knew them.

Location:

Now, to be fair, the weather was not ideal, and the con could have no control over this. Who  would have known that it would be in the low 40’s and windy at the very end of March? No one. But rain is a huge possibility all year round. Fortunately it didn’t rain on us, but it was still a fairly miserable weekend to be walking around outside in a costume. Which is the reason I will say that the location of this convention was no good. Stony Brook’s campus is huge!! And the events, were spread out all over academic side (which is a maze) It took fifteen minutes to get from one event to another, and when the panels were all scheduled back-to-back, as they normally are, the travel time made a lot of people late for everything. I could not imagine how icky it would be to attend in the rain!! My suggestion to the staff

would be to try and concentrate the convention in to two, maybe three buildings that were all next to one another, since, because of the weather, my group did only stay in the three closest buildings because of the cold with the exception of the dealers room, (a must see) which was almost a twenty minute walk from one building if you don’t know where you’re going. Now, I will say to be fair again, that if you attended the school, or had a guide who knew their way around, as we did after a while, it may not take that long traverse the long paths, but when we first got there, we were totally lost for a good long while.

Parking:

Parking was fun. There was not enough of it. Spaces I mean. The designated lot was in a great location, and it was FREE TO PARK. Awesome! However it filled up quick and people were literally blocking exits with their cars, maki

ng up their own spaces. It took about 20 or 30 minutes to park on Friday and Saturday. Sunday was not a problem.

Lines:

Not many lines other than registration, which is a good thing. But the registration line was OUTSIDE. In the dark, cold night. Why couldn’t we have waited inside? snaking through the hallways?? :(!!! It was very very cold and they separated the line by first letter of your last name,

which means groups of friends were split up. Not too happy waiting in that line.

Staff:

The staffers were all delightful, or the ones I encountered. They were all patient and polite, though a bit absent at times. My only real criticism is that they needed more volunteers or staff to direct people and manage lines. My friends and I totally wandered into the cosplay competition and sat down when we weren’t supposed to, only because there was no sign or staffer blocking the door. We were just following the map, found the room, and went in. We had no idea there was a line in a separate location because no one was watching the door!!

Food:

The only food I found on Campus was outside the gym. They served things like pretzels, and pizza, and soda. I bought a pretzel for $3. It was good, but not exactly a nutritious meal. They had pre-packages salads around but they looked little and expensive. There’s plenty to eat on Long Island, just not that much at the con that I saw.

Dealers Room:

The dealer’s room was one of the best parts of the con. It was better than I expected! The vendors filled an entire indoor track and had a wide variety of products. I totally bought something.

Panels:

The panels that I attended, for the most part, were very  good. I think I went to five panels over the course of the weekend, and four of them I enjoyed very much. The panelists were very talented and entertaining. One panel involved a single man acting out the entire Ghostbusters movie in one hour. It was hilarious!

Main Events:

I felt there was quite a lack of a centralized, main events room where people could return to for large events. Sure, the cosplay competition was in a large auditorium, but I didn’t feel that the event connected itself to the larger con. I like to go to main events and hear about news and highlights from other events that relate to the event that I am watching. It makes me feel more involved in something bigger.

Variety of Topics:

I-Con was advertised as a SciFi and Anime convention. I felt like it turned out to be more of a general-things-that-nerds-like-con. It had a little of everything, and it was up to you to find what you were interested in.

Scheduling:

It might have just been me, but it seemed like all of the really cool fun stuff was either happening at the exact same time, or way late at night when I would have already gone home. 😦 But that’s totally based on what I am interested in and doesn’t necessarily apply to anyone else. I just found that at 6 o’clock there were three things that I wanted to go to, and at 7 o’clock there was nothing I wanted to go to. It’s impossible to make a perfect schedule, though.

Cosplay:

I was a little disappointed at the cosplay at I-Con. Not because the costumes weren’t good, but because there were not a lot of them. I am guilty of it too, I didn’t wear a full cosplay. But that’s because I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps it was the weather or the fact that the con goers had to spend a lot of time outside. But I-Con just didn’t seem like a huge cosplaying con. There certainly were people in costume. I saw a lot of Ghostbusters, and a lot of vikings, pirates, and elves. I also saw a lot of people from Bleach and Naruto, like any other convention. But at any given time, there was probably at most 15% of a room full of people cosplaying. At least where I was, and I tried to get around to see everything. Most people weren’t cosplaying: they were just in costume. The difference between the two is profound, as actually described in one of the panels that I attended. It’s not the end of the world to not see a lot of cosplayers, but dazzling cosplays–and an abundance of them–really enhance the con experience for me.

Overall, I would give I-Con a 3 out of 5. Meh. Not terrible. You should Attend if it’s convenient for you. I had fun hanging out with friends and dressing up. I also really enjoyed the dealers room. It just wasn’t the best con I’ve ever been too. Hopefully Anime Boston next weekend will be better.

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Next weekend I will be attending Icon, a sci-fi convention on Long Island. I will be going with “The Guild,” the University of Hartford’s science fiction and anime club, for which I serve as Sergeant at Arms. This will be my first time  attending Icon and I’m not sure exactly what to expect. I tried to gather a little info on their website but I still have questions. I don’t know how many cosplayers I should expect to be there, or what kind of events there are for people interested in cosplay. Either way, after much debate I have decided to wear an elf costume that I put together last minute. I just finished sewing a beautiful bodice from a mid-evil pattern, and the colors I choose make it perfect for a mythical character of the forest variety. The outside is a rich green with blue ribbon and golden cord. The inside is a floral gold which matches the cord on the outside. I also made some ears but  we’ll have to see how they hold up. I’m not taking this outfit too seriously because I will only be at the convention for one full day. Maybe a little on Friday. But Saturday is the main event and I feel like just having a relaxing con where I don’t have to worry so much about my appearance or competing or posing or anything. I’d still be flattered if someone asked for my picture, but it’s not the goal here.

If I get a few good pictures that document the costume well, and if I really like what I wear to the con, I will make a page for it on the blog as an original creation. But I make no promises. I have had such a crazy week trying to finish up my Sheik cosplay that I don’t want to set any more cosplay goals for at least another month!

Speaking of Sheik, I’m pumped. It’s going to be fantastic to wear that thing! I bought a light weight, aluminum fashion chain to use as a prop. The kind you see on little girl’s pants or purses. The kind that won’t hurt anyone because it’s as light as tin-foil. I’m excited to use it for pictures. Only two weeks until Anime Boston!! Wow. Two conventions, two weekends in a row! I’d better get a lot of sleep during the week.

Visit Icon’s website here.

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As part of a course I am enrolled in this semester called ‘Art in Science,’ we had to compose a paper on any topic dealing with the physics and behavior of light. Because of my zealous interest in cosplay and garment construction, I decided to write my first paper on the interactions of light waves and different kinds of fabric weaves. In my paper, I focused on cotton specifically, and went in depth about how the weave effects the look and feel of a raw material.

The paper can be found below.

INTERACTIONS BETWEEN LIGHT AND FABRIC WEAVES

BY SHAUNA LEVA

Weaves of fabric are often mistaken as types of fabric—raw materials from which textiles are woven. Many people think that Satin is its own material when in fact, satin is simply a type of weave. Satin can be woven from silk, polyester, acetate and blends, but the term satin does not denote the fabric content. The weave, more than the material that it is sewn out of, will determine how the textile appears and feels. Light interacts with all things, including all fabrics—raw, spun, or woven; but how the fabric is woven dictates the way that light interacts with it, changing its appearance from textured to smooth, shiny to matte, and opaque to shear.

Man has been weaving fabrics since 5000 BCE out of natural plant fibers.1 Basic weaves are made up of two parts: the warp and the weft. The warp is the vertical strands of yarn or thread that are placed on the loom before the weaving takes place. 2 The weft is the horizontally laid yarn that is woven through the warp. 3 There exists dozens of different types of looms and hundreds of different weaves used for belts, rugs, clothing, straps, jewelry, blankets, etc. Today’s fabrics are most often woven into what is called the “common-weave,” or a tightly woven warp and weft that is smooth and flat. Examples of common-weaves are organdy and linen. Another popular type of weaves, the “Even-weaves,” are simple, flat textiles where the thread count is the same for both warp and weft: examples being fine-single weaves and hardanger. 4

Light’s interaction with an object can be simplified into two involved rays: an incoming ray, also called an incident ray, and an outgoing ray. The outgoing, or reflected ray is what the viewer sees.  Reflected rays will leave an object at the same angle that the incident rays hit the surface at, but on the opposite side of what’s called the “normal line.” The normal line is an imaginary line that sits perpendicular to the surface of an object, anywhere on the surface. A ray of light hitting the object at a thirty degree angle will leave at a thirty degree angle as measured from the normal line. On a smooth, flat surface of fabric, all of the normal lines for each point on the fabric sit vertical—or perpendicular to the horizontal surface. When light hits this flat, smooth surface, it will all be bounced off in the same direction, and the eye sees a uniform distribution of light on the object. But when a fabric weave is bumpy, the normal line will change with each spot, depending on the orientation of that particular point on the surface. The result is that when light hits a bumpy piece of fabric, the light is reflected in several different directions.5 Not all of the light reaches the eye with the same uniformity as before, and the viewer will see that the fabric has a pattern of dark and light areas. In other words, the fabric has texture.

Whether or not a fabric appears smooth or bumpy, again, does not have to do with the material, but rather the way it was woven. Cotton for example, can take on several different appearances and uses depending on the weave. Terrycloth incorporates a looped weave that makes the cotton appear fuzzy (used in towels), and organdy is a very light, transparent apparel cloth.6 Cotton can be weaved into Diaper cloth, Dimity, Drill, Duck, Flannel, Flannelette, Gauze, Gingham, Lawn, Muslin, Organdy, Outing Flannel, Oxford, Percale, Pima Cotton, Polished Cotton, Poplin, Sailcloth, Sateen, Seersucker, Swiss, Terry Cloth, Velveteen, and Whipcord. Today, cotton is treated to “permanently straighten the cotton fibers which then becomes a smooth, rod-like fiber that is uniform in appearance with a high luster” 7. This treatment, along with tight weaves like satin, makes fabrics like the shiny Polished Cotton, possible. Cotton can even be made into felt by soaking finely cut bits in a sieve in water. When the sieve is removed from the water, the cotton fibers settle together and can be pressed into felt sheets. These sheets are also known as Kleenexes!8

A fabric’s opacity is also determined by the way it was woven. A fabric is considered transparent—the opposite of opaque—if it allows a lot of light to pass through it, allowing a person to see through the fabric. Transparent fabrics have their advantages and disadvantages: They are a soft, beautiful, and cool to wear, but when used for apparel or privacy they need to be paired with another opaque fabric. To make an opaque fabric, the same raw material and weave should be used throughout the textile because this allows the fibers to lay as close as possible to one another. Also, there should be a high yarn density, that is, a high count of yarn per centimeter. Also there needs to be minimal “float”, which is how much the warp and weft slip and move when the fabric is moved or stretched. 9 When there is too much space between each fiber, significant light can pass through, making the fabric transparent. Sometimes cheap apparel fabrics that are meant to be opaque do not work out so well because of a low thread-count and too much float. An example of this would be a light colored women’s bounce that appears opaque where slack, as around her arms and the small of her back, but transparent where taught, such as across the chest. This embarrassing change in opacity happens because the warp and weft fibers are moving too far apart from one another when held taught.

Taking advantage of the variety of weaves available in the early 20th century is Dorothy Liebes. Liebes is a textile artist known for her excellent sense of color and incorporation of ribbons, yarn and unusual beading into the weave of common fabrics.10 She was “credited for putting metallic yarns tastefully into every type of textiles,”11 and made both one-of-a-kind textiles for those who could afford it, and beautifully designed, massed produced fabrics for the everyday consumer of the 1930’s and 40’s.12 Liebes used a variety of fabrics in her work, such as cotton, rayon, nylon, and linen, but it is the variety of the weave and color that gives her work its volume, contrast, pattern, line, and its purpose. With the help of synthetic materials, and power looms, man can make a textile to suit any purpose. Cloth has always been one of man’s most basic needs, but with such abundance and variety available today, it has become one of our most expressive materials.

Notes

1 Verla Birrell, The Textile Arts. (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959.) 14.

2 Verla Birrell, The Textile Arts, 47.

3 Verla Birrell, The Textile Arts, 490.

4 Elsie Hagley. Embroidery Techniques. (Needlecraft Superior. 29 Dec. 2008.) <http://needlecraftsuperior.com&gt;.

5 Thomas D. Rossing, and Christopher J. Chiaverina. Light Science: Physics and the Visual Arts. (New York: Springer, 1999) 67.

6 Fabrics.net Cotton. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://fabrics.net&gt;.

7 Fabrics.net Cotton.

8 Verla Birrell, The Textile Arts, 2.

9 Rui Miguel, Jose Lucas, Maria Carvalho, and Albert Manich. Fabric design considering the optimization of seam slippage. R&D unit of textile and paper materials, Textiles department, University of Beira Interior. Covilha, Portugal: Emerald Group, 2005. Vol 17. .

10 Dorothy Liebes. Dorothy Liebes: Retrospective. (New York: Museum of Contemporary Crafts, 1970.) 3.

11 Dorothy Liebes. Dorothy Liebes: Retrospective, 3.

12 Dorothy Liebes. Dorothy Liebes: Retrospective, 11-34.

Works Cited

Birrell, Verla. The Textile Arts. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1959.

Fabrics.net Cotton. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://fabrics.net&gt;.

Hagley, Elsie. Embroidery Techniques. Needlecraft Superior. 29 Dec. 2008. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://needlecraftsuperior.com&gt;.

Liebes, Dorothy. Dorothy Liebes: Retrospective. New York: Museum of Contemporary Crafts, 1970.

Miguel, Rui, Jose Lucas, Maria Carvalho, and Albert Manich. Fabric design considering the optimization of seam slippage. R&D unit of textile and paper materials, Textiles department, University of Beira Interior. Covilha, Portugal: Emerald Group, 2005. Vol 17. <http://emeraldinsight.com&gt;.

Rossing, Thomas D, and Christopher J. Chiaverina. Light Science: Physics and the Visual Arts. New York: Springer, 1999.

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