To complete the in-store shopping, Joanne and I bought gold paint and craft foam at Wal-mart (they didn’t have the clay or gems we wanted) and went over to Napa Valley Art Supplies to get the rigid wrap and clay.
After getting the other items from my house and returning to Joanne’s, we got to work starting on the sword making. First Joanne taught me how to control the drill and she then drilled a two-inch hole in the dowel to hold the aluminum rod in. We then adhered the rod to the inside of the dowel with 5-minute epoxy and let it sit. After letting it sit, I wrapped the aluminum foil around the rod outside, hammered it, wrapped it again, and hammered it down twice more until I was satisfied with the look. We proceeded to mix and apply just enough of the thicker, long-drying epoxy to the blade to have it dry. We stood it up in a grated crate for the night and went inside to start on the shoulder armor.
We had decided earlier on to purchase chicken wire as a solid, but pliable metal base for the shoulder armor. Little did we know it was not very bendable and was extremely hard to cut through. To begin, cut out a piece from the chicken wire to shape in replicating the armor in the reference photos. After cutting it out we attempted to shape it on the mannequin, but we kept on hurting ourselves on the sharp ends of the chicken wire. Eventually, we taped over the chicken wire once we got it to shape properly. The real challenge was creating a replica of the first piece, since we didn’t make a pattern. We eventually replicated the idea behind the first shoulder armor piece, but it wasn’t exactly alike. Setting the pieces on the shoulders of the mannequin, we got to adjusting them by cutting and shaping the armor more.
After having them shaped to the best we could to look like one another, Joanne worked on adding clay to one of the shoulders of the armor pieces to round them out by placing a bag over the mannequin and adding wet clay to the chicken wire. I, on the other hand, got to work sculpting the small details of the sword handle (dragon head/wings and other beading-type pieces.) by the time I was completed with sculpting those pieces, Joanne had finished one shoulder and wanted me to work on the other. It took significantly less time because we had two different clay types and the clay I was using was more moist and spread easily without needing water. I also needed to use less clay on my side because it was already more rounded out in the shoulder area that the other shoulder armor piece was.
After getting the clay on the shoulder piece, I set the sword pieces out to dry outside with the actual sword.
The process of making the armor is even newer and more exciting (in a way) than the process of sewing the costume together. This is interesting as well and I feel it allows for more creativity than sewing does. Sure, you can change up the pattern or even make your own pattern, but this is creating things for props that are meant to be used on farms and in bars and kitchens! This is really interesting to take materials out of context and unless you want to make a trash n’ fashion dress, you can’t really take materials out of context for making costumes.
I like taking the opportunity to risk things and try new processes, to see what works and what doesn’t. As I keep saying, this whole experience is a huge learning experience and I would never have tried cosplaying if the Senior Project didn’t allow it. I never would have had the time, money, or sheer motivation. I am never going to stress enough how thankful I have been and will continue to be to get to learn these new things and look into a world of people and things I never would have otherwise known without choosing this project to complete and this wonderful mentor to complete it with.