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Challenge #11 was fantatic!  Our judges were wowed by all of the entries.  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Erin Schneider, Laura Zentz Proctor and Artemisia Moltabocca!

And here are the winners:

Third Place (TIE!):  ”Volka from How to Train Your Dragon” by Rachel Rand


Rachel says:  “This is the headdress I made for my Valka costume from How To Train Your Dragon 2. It is entirely handmade. The face portion is leather and the horns are sculpted from tinfoil over a wire armature and covered in paper mâché. The mouth is wired burlap and the eyes are 2 layers of mesh. The leather is hand-dyed and hand painted. It’s held on the armature with a combination of suede lace, wire, and some hidden zip ties. It sits over a set of football shoulder pads so the weight stays off the head/neck.”



Judges’ comments:

“A lot of thought went into the construction of this piece, from the infrastructure to weight considerations.  The character accuracy was impressive.”

“Great paint job!  Execution perfect to character reference.”

“I love the way you built the framework for fit and balance.  ”

Congratulations, Rachel!

Third Place (TIE!):  ”Fallout” by Prudence Allworthey


Prudence says:  “This hat is based on the video game Fallout. This was an custom piece created to go with a client’s outfit that will be a Steampunk Style homage to the Fallout game. She’s wearing it at an upcoming anime con.

There were several things to take into consideration for this hat.
#1- Hat style = The client has short hair and did not want a style that fit fully over the crown. She had wanted a top hat to go along with a Steampunk style version of the outfit she’ll be wearing, we settled on a 3/4 version of our top hat.

#2- Theme = The hat was to be an overall homage to the game which is now into it’s 4th installment. She specifically wanted a Victorian Steampunk version. She also wanted to include one of the game’s reacuring characters, Vault Boy, and as many iconic pieces as would be possible. This game is set in different areas of a post-apocalyptic Untited States and has a very deconstructed feel. Things like make-shift high tech weapons and cryogenics are also present.


#3- Lots of stuff/small space = It was a challenge to put so much into such a  little space, this included running and hiding power for 9ft of El Wire.
#4- Litterally – How you wear the hat = This was also a trick, as it became quite clear that this small piece was going to have a considerable amount of weight, particularly in the front. It was necessary to build two wire pieces, one front and one back, to help hold this piece in place and give her something to anchor to.
In the end I was quite pleased with the look, feel and stability of this small wonder.
In all her iconic pieces included: Vault Boy figure as seen breaking through the front, Nuka Cola caps which are found in several places around the hat and a Stimpack- a medical device used in the game. Both the Stimpack and Vault boy are removable. She can then use the Stimpack as a hand prop , Vault boy is removable to access the battery pack and on /off switch for the electronics.
The hat uses several scenes from the game in the form of “posters” on the hat which were printed onto fabric and applied. The hat needed overall aging and grime to induce the feeling of being in a dirty post apocalyptic world. It needed to look well lived in.”

Judges’ comments:

“I was super impressed by all the references in one hat!”

“I loved the removable pieces!”

“I love this hat!  The details are fabulous.  The thought on weight and wearability was fantastic.”

Congratulations, Prudence!

Second Place:  ”Lolth” by Bethany Padron!

Lolth onstage.jpg

Bethany says:  “This headdress is based on book cover art by Justin Sweets. It’s probably the most craft technique and materials I’ve ever had to use on one item.

I started with scale drafting the frontice-piece then cut it out of wonderflex and used balsa wood to make the raised fans. All of it was covered in worbla for a finished effect and I used the extra worbla to make the back piece.

The feathers are bleached peacock swords and white ostrich spads I mounted them to two arches of wired fosshape with E6000 and some sewing.

Close up and back

The base was pulled from a black capeline with a wired edge and then I used gutter guard wire to make a triangular support across the crown.

The feather fronds were sewn and glued to the base and the wire. Then the front and back pieces were attached to the cap. I formed a piece of worbla over the cap to fit my forehead and then spent a day sniffing a whole lot of glue as I disassembled Christmas garland and gluing each piece onto the fore-piece. I attached some split weather stripping to the front edge.

full shot

After that it was paint everything gold! I used three different colors of gold and one copper spray paint. I distressed it all a bit with watered down black acrylic and added some red to match the rendering a bit more.

I stitched some of the feathers together and stitched the wig to the back of the cap and after a whole lot of hairspray it was done.”

Judges’ comments:

“Whoa!  That is amazing!  Very cool sculpting and detail work.”

“I’ve seen this in person and is absolutely beautiful and masterful construction!”

“Impressive construction techniques!  Final product is gorgeous.”

Congratulations, Bethany!

First Place:  ”Angel”  by Leah “Lamia” Lloyd!


Leah says:  “This started as a companion piece to Paige Gardner’s “Abbey”, but quickly ran in a direction farther away than I could have ever imagined. While initially it was to be a stained glass angel, it ended up as a sculptural piece; Over many years, grateful devotees and hopeful petitioners have added offerings to the statue, and items have become embedded in the melting votive candles.

The tiara is layered buckram and wire, covered in polar fleece. Twill ribbons at the corners to tie on behind the head, a comb under the front, and 2 ribbon loops at the back for additionally stabilizing bobby pins. Using a dollar-store tiara, I traced out the pattern on craft foam, spray painted it silver, and created the halo. Floral wire and hot glue created the support.

leah1Toilet paper rolls were trimmed down and spray painted white. Inside were set soda bottle lids, or cardboard bases, if the roll was taller than a tealight. Then came ….. the hot glue.

An assortment grab bag of bridal supplies, containing pearls, flowers, rhinestones, swags, beads, trim, buds, appliques, sequins, ribbons, leaves, clay flowers and who knows what else were all added. Hot glue was used to create “wax dribbles” from the candles, some covering decorative elements to imply age. The opacity of the glue was ideal, and really helped make it look more like candles. Battery-operated flicker tea lights were then placed in the “candles”.

The mask was built from scratch. Canvas, covered in white muslin, edged with double-fold seam binding. The eyes are a jingle cat toy, split in half and painted silver, with hematite rhinestones added to the spokes. The grill is a reusable coffee filter, painted silver, and with 2 triangles of the mesh cut out in the end to allow for the insertion of a straw. The breathing vents on the side are a pair of lawn twistie holders, lined with 2 layers of organza, sprayed silver and also with hematite rhinestones added.

Then the wiggly eyeballs went on. About 800 googly eyes, each glued individually. The angel is always watching you!
While not part of the headpiece, the shoulder is the completion of the set. It started life as a brown plastic flower pot. Trimmed and filed down, inside were set foam blocks to raise it up, and D-rings riveted in for placement of the straps. The dollar store tiara was brought back over, and traced onto more craft foam, forming the filigree surface texture, trim and edging. Then more toilet paper rolls, all of which had to be angled particularly for placement on the sharp curves of the shoulder. Dollhouse babies were given FIMO wings, painted silver, and added to the shoulder. More trim, bits and bobs, beads, pearls, rhinestones, flowers, and sequins were added to the shoulder, and then the hot waxing began. The entirety of a bag of wax sticks was used for this project, making dribbles and pools on the tiara and shoulder. The insides of the candles were built up, so that tea lights could fit in them naturally. Loops were added to the shoulder so that multiple strands of pearls could drape, more offerings from grateful worshipers to the angel.

Finally, assorted spikes of varying sizes and shapes were added to the shoulder, around the edges and over the surface, all on removable and replaceable Chicago screws so that it could be safely transported through airport security.
Interestingly, the mask was a challenge to wear not because of breathing issues (multiple air access holes) or limited vision (just the small bells for sight) but because the eyes were set on the sides, and I felt rather like prey, not being able to look directly forward. I found myself turning my head back and forth to see what was going on.”

Judges’ comments:

“Great googly moogly!  Amazing original design.  Bonus points for using simple items and turning them into beauty.  Creepy elegance!”

“I am terrifed and impressed!  It is very conflicting!  This is such an imaginative project and a tremendous amount of work.”

“I had a visceral reaction to this costume.  And your brain both scares and fascinates me!”

Congratulations, Leah!

The judges decided to award a Judge’s Choice award as well.

Judge’s Choice for Best Recreation:  ”Yuuka” by Maral Agnerian


Maral says:  “The whole thing was a lot of experimentation and problem solving; I needed the branches to remain flexible and not break even if I hit them on things, which I knew was pretty much inevitable.

I made the coral pieces by wrapping Worbla thermoplastic around artificial flower stems that I had leftover from previous projects. They were then coated with Flexbond, painted (I added shadows and dark imperfections to mimic the look of natural coral) and finished with a gloss coat. The front headdress is mounted on an understructure made of Wonderflex, with elastic securing at the back of the neck.
The hair is chainette fringe; I bought several fringe curtains on eBay and glued them onto a mesh cap in rows like wefts. I wanted ultra-long hair that wouldn’t tangle, and got the idea from watching this video:
The main wig is separate, but the headdress has some fringe attached to hide the understructure.

The hair loops are built on a Worbla base, with felt glued on top. I then laid down the ‘hair’ following the directions of the loops and glued them in place with a watered-down mixture of Flexbond, then painted with acrylic to blend the texture better.

xxxholic - 019
The entire thing is sectional for transport; the main front headdress is one piece, there are two additional side coral branches, and the hair loop section in back attaches with snaps. All told it is fairly comfortable and well-balanced, but incredibly heavy so I can only wear it for short periods of time.

Judges’ comments:

“Holy Shit, damn girl!  So impressed that words escape me.”

“Amazing from concept to execution.”

“Very creative material sourcing and planning.  Stunning piece.”

Congratulations, Maral!


The judges also decided to award the following Honorable Mention awards:

Honorable Mention for Best Recycling of Material for “Victorianish Hat”, by Sherry Greer!


Honorable Mention for Top Novice for “White Wedding Hat,” by Marilyn!

Maryah Hat 1

“Clean finish, great curve on the brim.  Looks like you’ve been doing this for years!”

Honorable Mention for Excellent Problem Solving to “Frollo”, by Christa Ludwig!


Honorable Mention for Best Whimsy for “Lily Pad Frog”, by Darcy Lewis!  


Honorable Mention for Best Historical to “16th Century German”, by Bethany Padron!


“What a beautiful hat, constructed with close attention to historical accuracy and details!”


And here are the rest of our wonderful entries:

“Enterprise Hat,” by Amber Ray!


“Rapunzel Tiara” by Christa Ludwig!


“Shipwreck,” by Darcy Lewis!


“Mini Hats,” by Dorianne Jarchow!


“Maleficent Dragon,” by Monty Montgomery-Hodorowski!

Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #11!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #12


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