Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My Weekend's Geekery

On Saturday John and I went to a little toy-and-art convention here in Orlando called FX. Hardly anyone showed up, though, which made it a bust for all the vendors and artists - many of whom told us they wouldn't be showing up the next day, much less next year. Such a shame!

It was still fun to browse the two vendor rooms and artist alley, though, and I scored some super cheap 'Trek books, a little chain mail jewelry, and lots and LOTS more art - because clearly I have a problem. :D

I even found a few folks in costume:



Some hipster/Rockabilly princesses and, uh... this guy:


I really loved these girls' dresses:


I didn't realize that several of the local artists I just featured in this month's roundup were there, so it was a happy surprise to find both Nathan (who did the Merida art) and Charlie (Who-bacca) there, plus Bianca of the Puff Monsters fame. John and I ended up spending most of our time hanging out & chatting with everyone in the art room - not to mention getting inundated with a bunch of free art, no matter how much we protested. (Ok, so maybe I didn't protest TOO much...)

Here's Charlie holding up my very own original Who-bacca watercolor:

FOR ME!!

He also gave me a Hello Pony print for the art give-away board, though. See? We ALL win.

(I spent a lot of time begging him and Danny Haas to do more Who-bacca prints, btw, and I think I managed to convince them. WHO LOVES YOU GUYS? Eh?)

Charlie tells me he's going to be posting a bunch more of his kids' geek booklets this Friday, btw, and they always sell out within a day or two, so watch his Etsy shop.

John acquired his very first piece of Pony anything from Bianca Roman-Stumpff, who in addition to being a super-cool gal also does the most fabulous MLP art:

We all shared a little moment together. It was special. :)

You can only purchase Pony prints from Bianca in person, but if you head to her Etsy shop (which I'm proud to say I helped bully her into opening) you can score one of her wood cut-out Puff Monsters, like this guy:
 
Another of John's purchases. It's now proudly on display in his man cave.

I have even more artsy goodies, but I'll save those for next month's art roundup.

***

On Sunday John and I headed out to Sarasota's Medieval Fair - a smaller, kinder, gentler version of the massive Tampa Bay Renaissance one.

My dreams of a cool and breezy Ren Fair were dashed by our blasted Florida heat, so we spent the afternoon sweating it out and looking for shade. We went with two Epbot readers, though - Michelle & Ralph - so that was pretty cool. (Pun intended. :))

I was a little too hot & lazy to chase down most of the costumes, but I did find the best dressed ladies of the Fair:



The gal in purple is my favorite. Check out that feathered headdress!


The lady in red is a close second, though:

I admit, I'm a little confused by the stuffed mice in the cleavage. 'Course, then I remembered reader Lynn B.'s photo of a fabulous TARDIS ren dress she spotted in Maryland recently:

So I can only assume storing pretty and/or cute things in cleavage is one of those things that separate Ren Fair geeks from Convention geeks. ;) (Also, I hope she removed the thorns first. OUCH.)

We spent a while watching the fencing matches, wherein they armed small children with swords and encouraged them to hack away at each other's heads:

The object was to pop those balloons. Here a mom gallantly stoops down to make it easier. :)

If you go to a lot of Ren Fairs then you're no doubt familiar with the Washing Women - who I hear have franchised now??

And that's the "Wheel of Death" on the right - bet he had a great view up there.


This gal had a fully articulated mouth that moved when she talked. It was amazing.

Overall it was a more pleasant atmosphere than at Tampa's, maybe because there was less drunken rowdiness. You were also less likely to be accosted by shop owners hamming it up in character - something we introverts tend to despise and avoid at all costs.


Instead, we found folks to be a little more subdued, and the ones in costume (and character) tended to stick to themselves and not harass anyone:


Charming game of jump rope (and later limbo):


I really liked this girl's flowery crown and face paint:


Before we completely melted in the heat we did catch the live jousting match, and I even managed to snag a good spot court side:




They made maybe a dozen runs, all told, and sent plenty of lance shrapnel flying.


At one point one of the knights took a tumble:

 


He was fine, though, and got up to do another few rounds.



The victor!


One last beauty shot of the winning knight:


And that does it for the Ren Fair! Hope you enjoyed your virtual visit, everyone!



"Bye bye, boys!"
"Have fun storming the castle!"
:D


********

 GIVE-AWAY UPDATE:

And the winners of this month's art give-away are... Renee of "A Bibliophile's Life For Me" and Betty Martin! Congrats, ladies, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses & choice of art from the give-away board!

72 comments:

  1. The jousting, was it Knights of Valour? Near and dear my heart, those lads. The leader of KOV, Shane, actually competes! Very cool stuff.

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    1. Did anyone else notice how painfully thin that belgian is?

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  2. That looks so epicly awesome n.n. My brother wants to go to a ren fest. I found one in Little Rock (such a lonng drive) and the one in Fayetteville can 't decide if it is a faire or not.. *rolls eyes* google is failing me horribly lol. well i must stop and go to work. (Oh and i am about half awake at work and the jump rope picture threw me for a loop for a second i actually thought "NO legs.. what magic is this!" i need coffee lol)

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    1. It sounds like you live near me, maybe? (I live in Siloam Springs, which is about 30 minutes away from Fayetteville, and yes, their Ren Faire is AWFUL.) We've been going to this one: http://okcastle.com/renaissance/

      It's about an hour and fifteen minutes from Siloam, but almost all of it is Turnpike (which you have to pay for, of course, but you get to drive fast! :P). Anyway, it's in May, which means it's always HOT HOT HOT, but we really enjoyed it both times we went.

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    2. Wait. I live right outside of Little Rock. I've never known that there was a Ren Faire around here, but I've always wanted to go to one. Skye, have you ever gone to the LR one? What's it like and is it any good?

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    3. I knew some of the folks who try to put on Fayetteville's fair. Full of ideas, but need an organizer or business person. I've been to Muskogee and it's pretty good. Not been to the one in Little Rock. The Kansas City Ren Faire and Scarborough Faire (just south of Dallas) are very good if a bit of a drive, but totally worth it.

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  3. That Hello Pony print is totally adorbs! I teared up at how cute it is!

    Enjoy your warmth Jen, I woke up to negative 15 degrees Celsius this morning, no matter how much sweat is involved I'd trade places with you in a minute!

    Please give John a big hug and smooch for being such a wonderful guy, not many men would let their wife show the world the adorable little wall-art he has in his man-cave. It is nice to see a man who is not afraid of male judgement.

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  4. Is it just me, or does the lady in reds dress have eyeballs in it? It reminded me of a sea creature, watching... It was definitely my favorite! Totally jealous of the cute wookie art too!

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    1. It did, yes! The eyes are embedded in the leather - and we spotted a vendor there selling similar pouches and things. Creeeeepy. ;)

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    2. I have an eypatch with the embedded eye! If it didn't throw off my depth perception as much as I does, I would wear it to every faire as part of my pirate gear....

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  5. I used to perform in Ren Faires - stuffed mouse in cleavage= "titmouse"
    From the "stuff I wish I didn't know" files

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    1. Bwahahaha!! Ok, the pun just made it 100% cooler. Thank you.

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  6. Ohmygosh, I have a picture of that exact same lady in the TARDIS dress at the Maryland Ren Fest! I thought her outfit was seriously awesome.

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    1. That was me! And thank you! :-)

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    2. Patchie! WORK THAT BUSTLE, GIRL! Well done, you!

      Your Pal,

      Storm

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  7. So unfair, that you get to go to such a cool faire. We live in a town with a real medieval castle (not ad cool as it sounds though) and Ye Olde Geeks turn up several times a year. But they're really into HISTORICALLY ACCURATE so it has to be authentic Ye Olde clothes and Ye Olde food and Ye Olde games. They hold a sweet (real!) knights tournament each year and it would be SO much nicer if there were people in pirates clothes and purple dresses and mice down their cleavage. But noooooo, the history geeks rule *sigh*

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    1. Heh, yeah, I think you find that element around most fairs, although they're usually overruled by the more fun-loving, anything-goes crowd. (The steampunk purists are like that, too; they choke on their tea every time someone uses a ray gun. :D)

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    2. my friends in SGA use to call those people "authenticity Nazi's" because all they did was rip others who didn't live up to THEIR perceived level of historical accuracy. it sucks all the fun out of dressing up and living the fantasy. They also frighten quite a few away with their actions.

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    3. I had a "Ye olde espresso" at the faire in Sterling, NY last year. :D

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    4. To be fair (no pun intended), that is what Ren Faires started out as; historically accurate reproductions of life in that era, established by a bunch of HARDcore history nerds. I'm a longtime historical costuming fan, and I understand their original Mission Statement, but it was/is terribly stifling, as far as creativity and fun went (and the way women were supposed to live/act like we were still mindless property). So, I always longed for Faires that were accurate, yet relaxed, and that happened for a while; people were dressing/acting in "traditional" Faire ways, but it was okay if people came as elves or fairies or centaurs, and there were usually pirates. And now Faires are just wacky mixed-era silliness, which is awesome, and yet... without SOME rules re: codes of dress/conduct, it's just a big outdoor costume party, and not *really* a Faire. Which, again, is awesome and I enjoy them, no shade no dis, but... I'm conflicted. PASS THE MEAD!

      The San Diego weather betrayed me and my Doctorsdonna costume back in early October; 80F in the shade is NOT conducive to wearing a leather trenchcoat, hat, or 12' long scarf, so I ended up not wearing half my damn costume. AND I broke my awesome sculpey Fifth celery stalk like an hour in. >:(

      Your Pal,

      Storm

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    5. D'oh! That sucks! Poor Storm! I was wondering how your costume had turned out. Sorry to hear that the weather didn't do you any favors. Send a photo of yourself in the costume to Jen, and maybe she'll put it in a post someday. I'd love to see it!

      If you have BBC America, I bet you're looking forward to this big celebratory Dr. Who weekend. We don't have cable, so my 14-year-old son will be spending the weekend with his friend who does. Lucky kid.

      Hope you'll try to wear your costume to another convention again in the future! Let us know how it goes.

      Qapla',
      KW

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    6. Well, I'll have to get/wear a wig or a fall to do it now, because I lopped all my hair off into an asymetrical bob like 3 weeks ago! My Vulcan is many wonderful things, but an ace photographer is not one of them, so not only did he pretty much forget to get any photos of me, the ones he did get are just awful; I was too busy working the con to think about seeing what he'd taken until it was too late. I'm hassling friends that took some to send them to me, so if any of them don't make me look too awful (Seriously, the pics he took are either out of focus or I look like I'm another 25 pounds overweight than I truly am!), I'll be sending them to Jen, WHETHER SHE WANTS THEM OR NOT! HA! DEAL!

      Oh yeah, I'm all over the week-long Who festivities on BBCA! Alas, I will have to DVR the Big Simulcast Event, because it happens at the same time as the Drag 101 class that I'm teaching, so I have to wait til I get home. You should check the BBC and BBCA sites, girl, they have crapTONS of links to Who related stuff, I think you might be able to watch online? At the very least, you MUST go to YouTube and look at the video "Night of The Doctor"; it has a special surprise guest, and is a prequel/link to "Day of The Doctor". I plotzed SO hard when I saw it, I watched it like 5 times! Go! Quickly! RUN!

      Your Pal,

      Storm

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  8. I live in Maryland where the RenFest is a BIG deal (our state sport is actually jousting; no lie), but I went to college in St Pete. The Sarasota one is so nice. It is large enough to be entertaining, but small enough to be enjoyable. Thanks for the pics; they brought back great memories.

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  9. I've got a cleavage dragon myself -- so there's something there to stare back at people whose eyes are looking in the wrong place!

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  10. Fragrant flowers would often be placed in the cleavage to act as a bit of perfume. You can see it in Renoir's Barmaid painting. Thanks, art school!

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  11. It's nice that you're not constantly harassed by people in character. That's why I stopped going to the Bristol Ren Faire--as an extreme introvert, I was in tears at the end of my last visit. I felt ridiculous, but it was just too much. Not to mention that I was there with my boyfriend and my family, and they were making sexual comments about us in front of my parents. I was mortified.

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    1. The thing that appalled me about the Bristol Faire was the complete inappropriateness of some of the faire-goers. We saw a pony girl (fetish, not MLP) there on one of our last visits, several years ago. We were there with my very young daughter. It's a family event, not an adults-only club. That's not cool.

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  12. The superhero/40's mashup dresses are SO CUTE! I wish I had a place to wear something like that.

    Who-bacca - squee!!!

    Jen, thanks for sharing the Ren Fair experience. It amazes me that all these people dress in these elaborate (and probably quite heavy) costumes in what I consider the summer heat (hey, I'm from Wisconsin).

    P.S. Does the back of the Kia Soul remind anyone else of a Stormtrooper helmet?

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    1. I totally agree about the 1940's Superhero dresses, they look amazing! So amazing that I want one!
      I'm currently putting together a Captain America dress through Etsy, so I think these will have to go on the back burner for me right now, but if anyone can supply more information about these awesome ladies and their swell costumes, it would be most gratefully received.

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    2. Re: Ren Faire costumes in the heat--it all depends on the material! If you stick to fabrics that breathe it's really not bad at all. I go to Scarborough here in Texas every year, where it often runs 95F+ during faire season, and the most comfortable I've ever been was when I was wearing an outfit that was completely linen and cotton--linen shift, linen bodice interlined with cotton canvas stiffened with hemp cord, and a skirt reversible skirt that was two layers of linen. It's a little bit heavy, but if you get the bodice right then actually the weight is distributed really well, plus you have great back support. For walking around and sitting on benches all day I've the right kind of bodice a lot more comfortable than even a good sports bra.

      People still brave our faire in costume satin or or full leather outfits and they soldier through the discomfort, but it's also possible to go all out with a costume and be comfortable, I promise!

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    3. Hi Jess. I'm the Wonder Woman in the pinup photo witg my daughter Supergirl and our friend Batgirl. We put the outfits together ourselves. It's a concept that I have wanted to do for a while now. So glad you liked them. :)

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  13. a friend of mine who does Ren Faires used to put a rose in her cleavage, and the rose was in a little vial that she would fill with ice water to keep cool during the heat. so that's another option as well!

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  14. YAY! Congratulations Renee aand Betty!

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  15. Aw I wish I knew about Fx, although I was working I might have sent people over

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  16. oddly enough the one in sarasota (at the Ringling museum) was at one time the "BIG HUGE" ren faire and lasted weeks (2) and the one in Key Largo now at MOSI in tampa was the small one. Then the Lawyers attacked and sarasota shut down for a number of years. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I always had a great time at the Sarasota faire.
    Good pictures by the way. did you catch any of the shows?

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    1. Just the Washing Women & jousting, although we caught snippets of the other performers while we walked around. (John was particularly intrigued by the pottery demos. Fun stuff!)

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  17. Of course I miss it by a week - I'm going to be in the Sarasota area next week! I'll have to get down there when it's going on one of these years - does it just go for the one weekend? Ours in Ohio is every weekend for two months, but I guess some of the others are shorter....

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    1. You're in luck, Megan; it's still going on next weekend! Here's the website so you can check it out!

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  18. Ahhh AHHHH!! That's my friend Rachel, in the awesome Tardis dress!!!

    You can find more of her awesome Dr. Who costumes here:
    https://www.facebook.com/PatchieCosplay

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  19. EEEEEEE! I'm so excited!! =D I can't believe I won!

    The ladies in the superhero dresses are AWESOME. Love those dresses so much. Oh and the TARDIS dress! It's fabulous! :D

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  20. The Fair looks so much cooler (literally!) in person. Glad we could meet up!

    Michelle (& Ralph!)

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    1. ARG - I got Ralph's name wrong, didn't I? So sorry, Michelle; just fixed that. o.0 (We had fun! Next time: pottery party at your place!)

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    2. Well, he is randy at times, but not a Randy. LOL! Had so much fun. And pottery party whenever you are in town. Just let us know!

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  21. Well, as someone who frequently stores items in her bra, I'm cool with the corset storage. In fact, I'm attending my first comic con this weekend, in costume, and had decided my corset would be the perfect place for my camera. Maybe I should be going to a Ren Fair instead? :)

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  22. The TARDIS is me! And the thorns are totally removed ;-)

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    1. Patchie, I simply loved your dress and thought Jen would too, I think I'll just die of happiness now that she got to see it and posted it, and that you got to see that it wasn't just me who loved it :)

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    2. Oh and when I worked at the Renn Pleasure Faire in CA we called those little stuffed mice "tit mouses" and I loved mine :)

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    3. I reiterate my earlier statement: WORK THAT BUSTLE, GIRL! WORRRRRRRK!

      Your Pal,

      Storm

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  23. Such an awesome set of pictures, thanks for posting them! I'm so sad that I've never seen the TARDIS costume at the MD RennFest, it is gorgeous. We go every year, but we must have picked the wrong weekends, here's hoping we have better luck next year!

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  24. Excellent photos! Can't believe the timing required to catch that shot of the jouster falling from his steed.

    Thanks for all your photos always, even when I don't take time to comment. It's fun to experience your outings and adventures vicariously since I'm a hermit who leaves the house even less frequently than you do.

    KW

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    1. Hey, girl, hey! Thought we'd lost you back during Jen's Internet Hermitage! Cheers!

      Your Pal,

      Storm

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  25. I don't see that anyone answered the question about the mouse in the cleavage -- it's supposed to be a titmouse. Yes, it's corny, but people love puns like that. :D

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  26. Ohh, you're lucky to be having that weather, out here we're having sleet and ice. Boo! (I hate winter.)

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  27. The purple feathered headdress is from Dragon Wings (dragonwings.net) -- I have many of Debra's confections!

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  28. I loved all the Ren Faire pictures as I can't go this year! And that Hello Pony print is seriously the most amazing combination of my two favorite things ever, therefore.. I am SUPER excited for your next giveaway! :D

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  29. Not to be the one to bust the happiness bubble on the art.... but a big reason that most of these people probably weren't selling it online is that they are using copywrited images (or even names). Unless they have permission from the companies who own these images, it is illegal. If the company decided to go after them, they would get in trouble and so would the place they are selling. While it's nice work, it's not something that is ok to be making money off of, and really shouldn't be encouraged. Sorry.... just thought it needed to be said...

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    1. Mmm, depends. If it's a one-off custom piece, and not mass produced, there's legal leeway. Artists have been doing commissions of copyrighted characters at cons for decades, often right next to the big Marvel or DC or Lucasfilm booths; I have many friends that make a fairly good living this way. It's when you print off posters, shirts, etc. of the same piece that they get uppity. This is also true for those of us that re-create copyrighted costumes for people; as long as I'm doing just one costume, I'm golden, but the second I get a sewing shop to knock out extras, I'm in trouble.

      No, I'd say from reading the site for the con that the problem was the con itself; it sounded insanely lame. When your two big draw guests are Urkel and Barry Bostwick (no shade there, I'm an old Rocky Horror freak, I could groove on meeting Brad Majors), you need to re-think something somewhere in your LIFE.

      Cheers, thanks a lot,

      Storm

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    2. I said nothing about the con itself, not sure what that has to do with anything.

      Using copyrighted images for profit is not legal in any sense (unless of course you have permission from the owner). If you are giving them away, that is one thing. Or if people are making donations to you that is ok. But the minute you stick a price on it, you are making a profit from someone else's work. And it doesn't matter if you are right next to the booth where the company is and they haven't said anything to you. They still have legal rights to come after you on it later. And yes, making even just one copyrighted costume is also illegal. You may be ok in your head only making one, but it still is.
      And my point was encouraging people to open up online shops to sell these constantly is also against the TOS for most of these places (such as Etsy). They can quickly get reported and have the shop closed down, check out Etsy's forums and do a little search for "copyright" or "copyrighted items" people get their shops shut down constantly for selling these items. There is a reason it is against their TOS.

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    3. Whatever. I see that sort of thing on Etsy all the time; the Wonder Woman costume collaboration for Jen's last Exemplar was partly through Etsy. And if there's one thing Regretsy taught me, it's that Etsy only enforces rules when they feel like it.

      My point about cons was simply that people sell one-off drawings and costumes right under the noses of the copyright owners at cons everywhere; if they were that illegal, wouldn't that be the perfect opportunity to bust someone in the act and hit 'em with a Cease and Desist? Every Artist Alley at every con is full of artists that are getting paid when someone comes up and says "Can you draw me a picture of The Hulk holding hands with Bugs Bunny?", or something just as odd, and no one is busted; again, I have several (semi-well-known) friends who do this for a living, including some who started out that way on moved on to bigger and better things, WITH the companies that owned characters they'd been drawing. And I've been going to cons longer than I care to admit, and never heard of anyone getting busted for anything, except at Comic Con '87, when someone was selling shirts of Judge Dredd holding the dead body of Cutter from "Elfquest" by his hair, and Richard Pini went ballistic on every dealer in the joint to pull them. Again, it's mass marketing that tends to get busted, not custom one-offs.

      And please, don't tell me my business or make me out a fool, especially when you're anonymous. Thanks.

      Storm Bourbon
      Professional Re-Creation Costumer
      30+ Years In Business

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    4. I wasn't "telling you your business" and where I was trying to "make a fool" out of you is beyond me. I was stating facts.

      It's not illegal to make a costume for yourself that is of a copyrighted character. If you're selling them, you do run a risk of being shut down for copyright infringement (or worse). And if you expect to never get caught, then you are only fooling yourself. It can happen to anyone at any time. And my point of it all was that encouraging people to sell art that is made entirely of copyrighted images may not be the best idea. Encouraging artists who make their own original work- now that is a better idea.

      Most of these big companies never do end up busting the "little people" over things like you mentioned that go on at cons because it's picking off the small fish to them. They don't have the time or people to go hunting down every single individual. It doesn't make it any less illegal on a technical standpoint.

      And just because I'm posting under anonymous doesn't make me less of a person. You're posting with a clearly fake name. I fail to see how posting with a made up name is much better. I can make up a pretty fake name too if I wanted to. You act like the point that it is illegal is an opinion, when it is a fact. Stop being condescending and rude.

      Pretty Flower

      And FYI- I have been a professional artist for over 20 years who has never once copied other people's/companies work, not just because I know it's illegal, but because it feels wrong to do so and I wouldn't want someone else making a living off of my work.

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    5. Nope. That's my name, Storm Bourbon, as signed above. I have a problem taking criticism from someone who posts anonymously, on any board. I just do. And "You may be ok in your head only making one, but it still is." is pretty bloody condescending, and frankly irritated me. I should have checked myself, not out of courtesy to you so much as to Jen, because it's rude to bicker on someone else's page/blog/site.

      And I said "legal leeway", not "isn't illegal in any way". Of course it is; you made it sound SO dire and disreputable somehow.

      If you have an issue with people making art of other people's characters, I fail to see why/how EPBOT appeals to you, as there is a LOT of fan art on this blog.

      But whatever. Enjoy your holiday, I'm done.

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    6. I wasn't going to say anything, but I have to say, I think all of the art on here is adorable. It's very well done. And I think there's a lot of talent here.

      On the flip-side of this, I can see where people can get irked by it easily too. About 20 years ago I used to sell at craft fairs. A LOT. Enough so that I had people who would ask me which craft fair I was going to next. Then one time, I had someone ask me why I was still selling at craft fairs. I asked what they meant. And they said they saw my work at a store the next town over. My heart sank. Like most crafters, I assume the crafting community was filled with people like me who loved crafting and loved other crafters work. We don't copy, we respect other crafters. Done and done.

      Well long story short, a couple who had more funds than me decided to not only rip-off my designs, but also looked into it and realized I had not trade-marked my "company" name. They also took that. I was only selling at craft fairs, didn't think there was a point to trade-marking and all that. And I quickly learned that putting "copyright" on my pictures means nothing unless you actually have it done.

      Hard lesson learned. I haven't sold anything else since then. Only allow friends and family and regulars from back in my craft fair days to receive my work now. It was very disheartening. And it's because of people like that couple, they make others wonder where is the line drawn on copying someone else's work? Especially if you have had anything stolen before. Sad but true and it really happens.

      And I'm not saying that you (or anyone else on here) would ever do something like that. But I can understand why some people get frustrated with artists whose work consists solely of not-so-original work. It is a difficult thing to deal with when you've had your work stolen. :(

      Monica

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  30. I know there's something called a "bodice chiller" or "bodice cooler", which is a glass or metal (or possibly also ceramic, I'd imagine) vial that you fill with ice, or with water and then freeze it, and you can tuck it into your cleavage when you're wearing a bodice/corset to help keep you cool when it's hot out. Neither of those ladies appear to be sporting one, though, but it is a thing!

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    1. It certainly is a real thing, the faires I grew up with in CA often had them for sale from the glass blowers :)

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  31. Those '40s/superhero ladies are AWESOME! So classy! I love them!

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    1. Thank you! We had an awesome time at FX! meeting all kinds of cool people. Love the reaction to our outfits. Makes all the work of putting them together worth while.

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  32. Is it just me, or are those rockabilly princesses doing "The Little Mermaid" cosplay?

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  33. Such a shame about that convention - was it not advertised properly, or had people blown their wads elsewhere?

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  34. Funny you say that about Sarasota MedFaire. I found it to be underwhelming compared to Tampa Bay Ren Fest... while it can get quite busy, the Sarasota one just wasn't busy enough for mew when we went a few years ago. But I do hope its gotten better since then!

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  35. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Texas Ren Fest just outside Plantersville, Tx, about an hour's drive north of Houston. Supposedly the biggest in the country (60 acres), it runs every weekend from early October to Thanksgiving (weekend). There's a different theme every weekend, ending with a Christmas theme. (This year's was Celtic Christmas.) There's a barbarian weekend, fairies, pirates, etc. Several outdoor theaters with a wide variety of acts, trades demos (glass blowing, metal working, etc.) a jousting arena, a fairy garden, hand-powered rides, and tons of shops and places to eat. It's been going for 39 years, and I've been going (off n on) for almost as long. My parents took me & now I take my kids. Has gotten more open to 'interpretation' and is more relaxed but very busy. Even had Dr. Who-types this year (which kinda fits when you think about it). One shop had a sign on the roof: "TARDIS parking only". :-) I'd be happy to take y'all if y'all are ever back in Houston @ this time of year. October can be hot but November cools off pretty quick. It was in the 60s this past weekend when we went...

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  36. The items in the cleavage (definitely the flower) are most likely bodice coolers. Lots of ladies use them here at the Arizone renaissance festival, which is going on now. It gets very hot for cast members who wear historically accurate costumes, sometimes weighing 20-50 pounds depending upon the character, nobility weighs more because of the material and layers of skirts. Fabrics are usually brocade, stitched not printed, our costume director is amazing and very accurate, I adore her! Of course the playtrons and patrons come in anything from party city or rented costumes to historically accurate costumes they spend hours and hundreds of dollars on.

    I would have never known this but my daughter and husband are on cast this year and I will be joining late, next weekend in fact. I'm so stinking excited! Hubby and the costume director are working frantically to get my gown made, corset and bum roll are done, while I am shopping frantically for jewelry and shoes. It's hard to find boots in the spring, lol! :)

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