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Our Crowdfunder goes LIVE!

Okay, this is not a drill!
After 6 years we need to stretch our wings and would love to have you along as part of that journey 🙂

If you are in a position to help us with our plans for growing the business a little bit more this year, please accept our most gracious of thanks and huge amounts of appreciation.

If you are able to do nothing more than share our appeal to others within your social media, that is also an amazing and awesome thing to do for us and we are so very grateful for your support.

*crosses fingers* Here is the magic link!

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/growing-cosmic-workshop

CROWDFUNDER REMINDER

Jules Morrisroe - Owner and lead creative

Taken in chilly depths of in winter, many layers necessary!

Our beloved and amazing Minions!

When we are at events, we have this unruly bunch of minions supporting us who we love to bits for always going the extra mile to help us ❤

Lee Morrisroe

Pod (Lee Morrisroe) – Owner of Letters of Marque, partner in crime at Cosmic Workshop. Image credit to the amazing Jo Rutherford as part of her Alter Ego project.

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CosXpo 2018 – Reading University

CosXpo 2018 – Reading University

It was a bit of a spontaneous decision to go to CosXpo this weekend.  I’d heard about it via social media, Facebook mainly, and there seemed to be a great buzz happening about this convention dedicated to Cosplay.

I emailed them asking if I could book in to exhibit our work, but was met with an apology for being fully booked, but we would go on their waiting list.

On a whim the week before, I decided to grab a hotel in Reading for a couple of nights (Novotel Reading city center, most excellent!) and drag our Heir to the Empire, Jasmine, into going with me to check out the event and make sure it was going to be worth the effort of dragging our butts that far South next year (hopefully!) hahaha.

Initial response to the event as a whole is YES!

The organisers wanted to create a slightly different event atmosphere; This is not a comic con or convention in the sense of the overly saturated circuit we have in the UK, it is different and it is bloody genius.

Cosplayers have long been the unrecognised back bone of many an event, the organisers deny that they make any difference to attendee numbers (looking at you old MCM owners) but this event is ALL ABOUT THE COSPLAYERS!

CosXpo was about recognising the creativity and talents that are abundant within the community and bringing them together to share their costumes, their talents, tips and techniques.  Like a showcase for everything that is inspiring in our world of costuming.

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They cleverly did not try to stretch themselves too thin and made this a one day event which I think worked out perfectly for their first venture.  They also managed to promote CosXpo so successfully that I did not even realise it was their first event until someone told me!

On getting our wristbands after a very short, quick moving queue, we were given a little bag with sweets, talk schedule and promotional cards from several of the traders and sponsor.  It was a really nice touch, as was having all the staff in branded hoodies and tees which made them easy to pick out of the crowd if you needed any help or advice.

As part of the inspiring day there was a good range of talks planned, set out on 3 different stages and the topics covered everything from cosplaying on a budget, how to get paid as a professional costumer at cons, to practical help with styling wigs and make up tips etc..

I did not get the chance to see many of them, but the ones we saw were informative and well attended.

A sprinkle of cosplay guests were in the first room attendees walked into, set alongside a very professional photography area.  Although they had the usual prints for sale, they were not simply glued to their table looking bored, it was good to see that they spent a good amount of time mingling, talking about the costumes they were wearing and I overheard a lot of brilliant advice on builds being passed on!

In the next room we explored we found the UK Cosplay group of volunteers manning a fully stocked repair station, compete with air brush kit!

We also bumped into our friend Danny who was showing off his shiny new 3-D printer, famed for his “I’ll print you one!” motto, you could check out the difference in print quality that investing a bit more into your kit can make and he is a veritable fountain of advice if you were looking into dipping your toe in the water in terms of printers.

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Joined to this room was a separate area host to a small but varied selection of traders.  The event focus was not them, but after chatting to the stall holders, they were happy with the balance of footfall and trader numbers and with the event itself.

We discovered the upstairs area after chatting to some cosplayers we knew and popped up there to find two amazing sets that had been created for the togs to show off their models in the best way possible, a cloakroom and a nice small but spacious room that looked to be where costumers were taking time out were also available.

The bar area downstairs was brilliant and did a fabulous range of bar food that was plentiful in size and easy on the wallet and there was plenty of parking.  Staffing was not an issue anywhere in this event.

My list of improvements I would suggest to the organisers, based on the time we were there is small, but I think important for their potential growth.  That’s not to say anything was spoilt for us, just that from experience, I spotted some things that could do with addressing.

Once you pulled into the university, it was a party atmosphere due to several rugby matches that were being played on the same day, this made finding the correct area of the grounds difficult as everywhere looked busy but there was no signage that we could see until security directed us to a turning off the main thoroughfare.  A decent sized banner just on that turning point would have helped a lot.

On the signage theme, they had amazingly designed posters showing where everything was throughout the event.

Looking at the size and footfall, the event danced on that line between cosy and too small.  I’m not sure if the afternoon got busier or quieter as we had to leave around 1pm, but even with the initial crowds, moving between the traders was very difficult and inside the first room was tricky due to bulky costumes.

Upstairs was a very quick visit as it was much too small for what they were using it for, there was no room for attendees to just stand and watch the fascinating photography process as we just seemed to constantly be in the way.  If it was only for cosplayers and togs, then possibly it should have been signposted as such to avoid crowds of observers (equally, that would be a bit disappointing as an attendee though, so I’d go with giving it more space personally).

The talks that happened on the stages were within each of the main rooms.  This meant that for me they had the issue of sound quality as there was a lot of background noise and chatter to block out, which I’m not brilliant at, so if anyone had any kind of hearing problem, I’m not sure how much they could make out from what was being said.

They did however have excellent video screens so demonstrations went down well as visually you could see what happened.

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What I would love to see happen is for this momentum kept up for their next date and have some more sponsors so that they can hire more space and build on the amazing work they have accomplished in 2018.

I will certainly be in touch with them with some of the ways I would love Cosmic Workshop to get involved, but will give them a chance to breathe and wind down first!

Hearty congratulations CosXpo on a wonderful event and here’s to an even better future *cheers*

Jules and Jasmine x

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Posted by on March 26, 2018 in Events, Reviews

 

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Achilles WIP #4

Gluing and stitching and finishing oh my!

Finishing the edges of the leather can be done before or after dye as long as you do not use any product on it if you choose the before option!  A smooth finished edge can be achieved well using nothing more than water, but if you want it to last longer, products such as bees wax or gum tragacanth can be applied to hold the smoothness longer.

As you can see in the first image, the natural edges of leather are fuzzy and fluffy.

Before dye is applied, rubbing a slicker quickly over the edge will matt this fluff down and create a nice glassy smooth edge (see right hand side of the leather in image 2)

You can find a variety of slickers to buy made from either nylon or wood.  You can buy them to fit into a power tool such as a Dremel or drill as well as hand powered!

The damp edge of the leather fits within the relevant groove, then it is simply rubbed up and down until you achieve the level of finish you want.

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Once the leather is dyed, then you can repeat the process with the addition of wax or gum on the edge.

Using these products beforehand will mean the dye will not take to where it is applied.

……………….

So all the leather parts are cut out, details are tooled in, edges have been slicked, the dye has been applied and the metal finish is on the relevant parts.

Next we had to begin attaching everything together using a variety of methods:

Contact Adhesive

Saddle Stitching

Cap Rivets

D links and Laces

Press Studs

These are our glues of choice here in the workshop, choosing which one to use depends on what we need to achive.  Contact adhesive is a strong flexible bond that is instant, there is no wiggle room for re-positioning.  The leather cement resembles school PVA (but it isn’t!) and will allow for repositioning until it is dry.  Of course this also means things may need clamping together to hold parts in position until it does dry.

When gluing leather together, preparation is everything, which means creating surfaces that will grab and hold the glue.

You can buy little hand tools for doing this, but we simply employ a square of glass paper to rough up any smooth surfaces.

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You can see on the image how we lightly outlined the area so we did not ruin any part not being glued.

If this is done well, it will be a very secure way of fastening leather together and will last.

However, you can also use it as a way of holding things together or in place for riveting or stitching.

And here you can see the finished product! Very happy customer is off to Katsucon to show it off this week 🙂

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in Customer Info, Inspiration, Work In

 

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Survey request!

We are currently trying to plan out the next 18 months of the business and would really appreciate it if you could answer honestly a quick survey.

If the link does not work, please copy and paste address:

https://surveyhero.com/c/5678c44c

 

Thank you oodles! – Jules

 
 

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Achilles WIP #3

Holy Leather Batman!

So tooling is done, you can see on some of the details here that I decided to add a bit of texture by using a beveler tool that has a cross hatch pattern etched into it, so instead of a smooth tooling effect as seen on the edge, you get a shaded effect.

The tools you can see on the image are two ways we punch holes into our leather depending on the positioning.

The hand rotary punch is great for holes that are on or near the edge of the material, where as if you need a hole further in, the rotary punch will not physically reach it, so a hand hole punch and a mallet is required.

**SAFETY FIRST** Never hit a metal tool with a metal hammer! It may splinter and send it towards your squishy and vulnerable body or eyes.

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Tooling tools are available in a HUGE variety of shapes and textures to help you achieve different marks.

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You can see here the tooling on the various parts of the belt drop strap.

Next is dyeing of the leather… *EDIT* please note first part of WIP #4  as I forgot to cover what we did to edges before dyeing!*

We used a very dark brown as a base colour with gold sponged on to give the effect of metal.

Dyes are available in a variety of forms for leather.

Oil Dye

Alcohol Based Dye

Water Based Dye

Acrylic Dye (paint)

The first 3 are all similar in application in that these dyes physically soak into the leather surface making them permanent.  The only thing you can do to “fix” any colour mistakes with these is go darker or black!

The oil and alcohol ones are also smelly so make sure you work in a well ventilated area or wear a suitable mask.

The acrylic dyes are actually a paint type application, where as the fluid sits and dries on the surface of the leather rather than soaking into the surface.

Bonus, if it is still wet, a damp cloth may remove it, downside, if you do not prep the leather well before using it, and use a sealer on top of it, you will find it is easily scratched and can peel away.

All of these dyes will eventually wash off you skin, but it is best to wear gloves and old clothes as is does not wash out of fabrics.

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Test test test!!! Have a scrap piece of the same leather you are using and test everything first!

Here is the mid way photo of the bracers and drop pieces from the belt:

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You can see the lovely effect of having the gold sponged over the dark dark brown has combined with the antique brass rivets, quite happy with them at this point!

 

Next we need to do pretty much all these steps on the rest of the leather required on the body armour, greaves, belt etc..

So I’ll follow this up with some gluing, stitching and finishing off next!

Jules x

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2018 in Inspiration, Work In

 

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Achilles WIP #2

Moving on from cutting the leather pieces out, we now needed to tool in some detail into parts… The image is a drop piece from the belt.

If you want to apply any kind of mark to leather and keep it sharp and permanent, you need to case the leather first.

This means you simply damp the leather using a wet sponge or water spritzer (you will see the leather go a darker colour) then as it returns to close to original colour, this is the time to apply marks/tooling/stamping.

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Case your leather front and back, you leather needs to be damp, not soaking!

Because we wanted to create an edge effect to this shape, we use a creaser (image 2) adjusted to the width we require, to gently press in a line for us to follow.

For freehand designs, or transferring a pattern from paper, you can use a stylus, empty ballpoint pen or anything with a rounded end.  The one in the first image is actually from a set we picked up in the 99p shop in the manicure section!

Now we needed to cut in the line we marked out around the edge using a swivel knife. 

These come with a variety of knife blades and can be straight edged, angled, metal or ceramic, large or small.

The image shows an angled ceramic blade.

For tooling in the edge that we cut in, we used a beveler and a maul (mallet)

As you can see the beveler is a wedge shaped tool, you run the fat edge along the cut line, using the maul to tap it as you go.  This is tricky first time around, but gets so much better with practice!

In the last image you can see the effect this has on the leather.

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This is how the beveler sits in the cut line as you tap it with the maul while moving it along the line.

The next stage in this process is edges, dyeing and finishing…to follow!

Jules x

 

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Customer Info, Inspiration, Work In

 

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2018 Exhibiting Events

As promised here is the post you can watch for updates if you want to come and see our work up close and personal.

We mainly exhibit when at events as 99% of our work is made to size, which makes it difficult to carry stock without being wasteful.  What you CAN do is order and pay securely for your items after seeing the quality or chatting to a minion about any custom order details.

Cosmic Workshop

Our set up in 2017 is going to see yet more upgrades this year! It’s really very exciting meeting people!

You can also buy items online and skip the shipping by picking up at the event (you’ll need to message us to get a code that makes that work on the website) and you can, if needed, get measured up on the spot for any of your items.

There is usually an array of props and accessories to buy on the day such as the Ghostbusters holsters, Rey holsters, wanted posters, quirky gifts etc.. Things that are not size dependant.

SO without further ado, our first confirmed attendances in the UK.. please feel free to invite us outside of the UK, we are easily bribed with the term “all travel and pitch expenses paid” 😀

Click on the links to go to their own pages.

TRUE BELIEVERS – CHELTENHAM RACE COURSE – FEB 3rd 2018

SCI-FI SCARBOROUGH – SCARBOROUGH SPA – APRIL 21-22nd 2018

YORKSHIRE COSPLAY CON – SHEFFIELD ARENA – JUNE 2-3th 2018

CHESTER COMIC CON – CHESTER RACE COURSE – SEPT 23RD 2018

*On our books but yet to be confirmed*

Lime Street Comic con

STAR WARS GATHERING – LIVERPOOL EXHIBITION CENTER – JULY 7th 2018

For the Love of Sci-Fi

 

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2018 in Customer Info, Events, General News

 

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