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Ko-fi for Coffee, it’s punny!

Me

So since all the cool kids are doing it, I thought I would look into this Ko-fi malarky!

Looks good, most people do not realise how many brews and bags of pickled onion space raiders it takes to get me through a working week!

So if you are so inclined, you can help fund my very British tea, coffee and crisps addiction 😀

Hit the link!

http://ko-fi.com/cosmicworkshop

Jules xxx

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Posted by on August 16, 2018 in General News

 

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Influences & Infuriating Inspiration

I’m trying to juggle some spare time to spend perusing through some of the “Art Of…” books we own in the workshop because a) unless we have a custom order on specific to one of them I never get the opportunity to read them and enjoy the details in them as much as I want and b) Looking at amazing work by other people really gets my own creativity flowing!

It made me think though about what my influences have been over the years and what I take inspiration from and to be honest all I can come up with as an answer is “No single thing – it is a vast, complex thing to be inspired by something”..

..seriously, I’ve been inspired by something as small as a pattern on a shell to a giant piece of sculpture to the feel of grass under my feet…I wish I had kept more of my past sketchbooks, in hindsight they are more of a diary of my youth than any photograph.

I did my first degree in Fine Art Sculpture at Bretton Hall, the now closed university situated perfectly on the Yorkshire Sculpture Park grounds.  It was here I was surrounded by the stunning biomorphic works of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore and the industrial works of Anthony Caro amongst many more pieces in the open air exhibition space.

The Family of Man by Barbara Hepworth

The Family of Man by Barbara Hepworth situated at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire Photo credit belongs to the YSP website

I remember my sketchbooks filling, over the three years I was in attendance, with curves and angles and forms that I would love to look through again!  Another visit is surely overdue, I just realised it has been about 20 years!

I see the beauty in everything.  Shapes, colours, textures; and finding ways to incorporate them into my work is a challenge that I can really get my teeth into.

One of the single most influential things on my creativity has to be other people’s crafts.  I adore seeing what other people are making, what materials, processes and techniques they are experimenting with and love seeing a project come together after following a build for so long!.. perhaps a little of it is me living my “missing” creativity vicariously through others who have more time than me though!

I think that this is the slightly annoying thing about being so inspired all the time is that I run a business that takes up so much of my time, that I don’t get the chance very often to act on my own projects.  I’m hoping that some of the time management processes that have been put into place recently change this however!

Leather as a material I find very inspiring because it is available in so many textures and colours and thicknesses and finishes.  I have a whole section in the workshop where I have been squirrelling away off cuts and hides of beautiful leather for “a project at some point” that I really need to dig about in and start using, because if I don’t use it, no one but me will ever get to appreciate it, and that would be a damned shame.

BUT..the first thing I want to do is start sketching again…I have had a psychological knock to my confidence and stopped feeling joy in sketching ideas out, no idea why, but it is something I used to really enjoy doing.   So next week I need to find the perfect sketchbook, whatever that is (suggestions in the comments please) and break out my beautiful Blackwing pencil that Wood and Graphite gave me a couple of years back and get to sketching!

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Things that I’m looking at a lot recently are leaves and shrubbery (NI!) because they are so varied and their shapes, colours and patterns are beautiful…

..last month is was looking at historical costumes and their shapes and layers…

..tomorrow, who knows!

– Jules x

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2018 in Inspiration, or about me!

 

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Cosplayer Showcase – Team Stone Cosplay

Well this is new…why?

Over the last 6 years we have encountered so many amazing cosplayers, we thought it would be a great idea to showcase some of their efforts on our blog!

Inspiration can appear from anywhere for us, but one of the most influential ones is looking at what others are creating, what materials they are using, methods and mistakes they make..we love WIP progress here at CW and it can give us a real mental boost to see cosplayers achievements in costume building, especially when we have a project on that is going wrong!

The most obvious choice of who to showcase first is the pair who introduced me to the wide world of cosplay in the first place.

I’d seen comic cons happen and knew people who did cosplay as a hobby, but never been directly involved before.  Our leather work businesses at the time were focused on Letters of Marque (the historical side of things) and Cosmic Workshop was focused on LARP and odd bits for big theatres.

Then Chris and Stephanie decided I needed to experience going to comic con…and that I totally should dress up and I loved it, fell in love with cosplay and as far as my side of the business went..here we are!

Introducing TEAM STONE COSPLAY!

Chris and Steph Stone as DC's Joker and Harley Quinn

Chris and Stephanie Stone as DC’s Joker and Harley Quinn

Chris and Steph Stone are a killer cosplay duo who’s costumes are quite frankly mind blowing quality.

Nearly everything is hand crafted, mainly by Steph who has a skill level in sewing and prop building that I swear is sorcery!

The most remarkable thing about them though, in my humble opinion,  is how the hell they even have time to actually GO to comic cons, let alone produce such high quality gear to wear!  Their day job as film makers means free time (and sleep) is for the weak!

On a side note, if you are an actor or actress, they specialise in producing show reels and if you have not investigated and invested in Chris Stone Films, then you have not got the very best on board with your career #justsaying

Stephanie Stone as Holtzman from the Paul Feig Ghostbusters movie.

Stephanie Stone as Holtzman from the Paul Feig Ghostbusters movie. She made this costume from scratch, including a proton pack with full sound, light and smoke effects!

Chris Stone as Dr Strange from the 2016 DC movie.

Chris Stone as Dr Strange from the 2016 DC movie. Costume magic by Steph of course 😉

You can bump into Team Stone Cosplay at events throughout the UK each year and you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook .

 

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To top it all off, they are really awesome people too ❤

Thanks for all the fun so far, here’s to many more years of last minute creative stress, headaches, triumphs and shenanigans!

– Jules xx

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in Inspiration, Showcase

 

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The Cosplay Journal – a review!

First impression on opening my much anticipated delivery was pleasant surprise. It feels like a quality piece of print, an unusual sized book, but the perfect size for curling up on the sofa and browsing through with a good cup of tea (it IS the first British publication for cosplay after all!) and also has that lovely tactile, slightly rubbery finish to the cover that feels so soft to the touch. Im impressed…it looks like a very professional piece if literature.

My obligatory quick flick through the pages before delving my whole attention into reading it reveals a hybrid beast of a journey into cosplay that sits between being a book and a magazine…a Bookazine apparently. Not something I’ve come across before and is the phrase used by the editor with dry amusement in the introduction. It works well however, especially when it is compared to other the other internationally based cosplay magazines I’ve been investing in this month out of curiosity.

There looks to be a refreshing mix of images and articles and now I’m thoroughly excited at the thought of reading it properly!

So… let’s begin shall we!

Right from the start you are welcomed into TCJ with an attractive to the eye layout, simple yet effective branding and lack of clutter. Fonts are well chosen and easy on the eye and it almost has a slightly vintage feel, but with modern flourishes such as page sections that are mirrored with black background and white writing.

Just browsing the contents page you can see the variety of subject matter and get a sense of what they are trying to achieve with TCJ.

**All of the above was written in real time as the “bookazine” was opened, the next section is after having read through all the articles and closed the cover, by no means for the last time…links are at the bottom of the article**

The photography throughout is a thing of beauty! Such gorgeous shots of each featured cosplayer and their work.. the efforts to get the prefect lighting and pose in their locations is not lost on me.

The only criticism I’ll put in here is the images of Ghost Rider.

Now the photography here had a consistently darker, moodier feel to it, grainy too due to the choice of paper it is printed on.. (which it works well for on the other images in here)

However, the nature of the costume means I think I too would have been enamoured with the lighting effects employed within it, but what it loses in these images is the detail of the costume. Because it is all focussed on the lit up effects, there are none instead where I can really look at and appreciated the detail and work that has clearly gone into the costume in its entirety, which is a shame! Also, it feels a little odd not to include a picture of who the cosplayer was.

The sheer range of topics covered makes this almost a manual. A manual on upping your inspiration and cosplay game!

There are so many tips, tricks and how-tos to take away from reading this, as well as the real life feedback from people who are active in the community of cosplay on why it is such a great hobby and how it impacts their life.

Their Cosplay Survival Guide was particularly thorough and a great reference for anyone from “first ever con” to “seasoned con goer!”

One off the things I found most refreshing about TCJ after reading some other international publications, was the vast range of humans they featured. It encompasses what the very best of the community is all about..inclusion.

Cosplay is for everyone..Cosplay can look amazing on anyone..Cosplay does not give a flying *beep* what you look like under your costume, it is about paying homage to characters you love, costumes that empower you and having fun.

I liked the section “opinion” and the topic they choose to discuss. It was well balanced and thought through and a topic I’m also on the fence about as I’ve seen it done well at events such as CosXpo but also, unfortunately, unimpressive at a lot of events.

Overall this “bookazine” is worth every penny and we at Cosmic Workshop whole heartedly recommend that you go buy it and continue to support it.

– Jules x

You can purchase The Cosplay Journal on a variety of online shops including Amazon.

Check out their website www.thecosplayjournal.com for all information

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2018 in Reviews

 

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End of our 7th Year!

Negativity reined…

The end of May is always a stressful one, this year far more than previous for a variety of reasons.

It marks the end of our financial year as well as the biggest comic convention date of the year which means tight deadlines and a bucket load of pressure.

This year I nearly had a total mental meltdown but the after shocks of its ending has given me such a wonderful sense of clarity about the business moving forward that I almost appreciate it happening as equally as I hated suffering it.

I am not generally a sufferer of mental health issues and am the quite naturally positive light and perky optimism in the family in actual fact, but in times of self inflicted stress and pressure, the anger and resentment towards myself is very overwhelming…so things have to change in order for it not to happen again!

During all this breakdown in self belief, the copious tears and the withering doubt were people; People who surrounded me with support, rallied up what was left of my self esteem and bolstered it with kind words and heart warming gestures and for that I am so very grateful and thankful for.

Primarily my selfless husband and soul mate Pod who stepped in and took over micro managing me (in the best way) and dropped everything he had on to help me hit my deadlines by taking over all the saddle stitching! May your fingers rest in peace for a while now!!

My beautiful heir to the empire Jasmine who was full of warm hugs, gentle kisses and words of positivity, this made all the difference in the world ❤

My parents who always have gone above and beyond to help me through rough patches.  They are selfless in their love for me and my family and deserve the world on a platter for all they do for us ❤

My closest friends, who know the struggles, who are there with funny stories, encouraging words and encouragement that I believe how amazing I am in their eyes ❤

Lastly, the people who stepped in and did generous things for me when they hardly know me at all like getting autographs for Jasmine for me because I’m too busy working and breaking down to be able to get there and enjoy it all for myself.  Seriously, thank you ❤

I love you all and am now back to a more normal version of myself, thank you ❤

Positive will prevail!…

This weekend I’m sitting down in the office in full on Admin Goddess mode and planning out the next 12 months of our business growth and development in the form of a sparkly new business plan and marketing plan.

Some things are very obvious that need improving on or changing, but some are those difficult to shine a light on issues that I like to pretend are not really an issue and can just sweep away while I “just get on with it”.

So inner reflection, constructive criticism and looking at the bigger picture are in order.

One thing that I learned from looking at how successful businesses work is that they have set procedures and processes that everyone knows and follows.  It helps with streamlining jobs and improving time management, which has become my biggest nemesis in the last 12 months.  The business grew, my baby business became a brand name that my market audience knows and has opinions about – but I wasn’t changing and the behind the scenes routines were not changing to keep up with this

*then life backfires*

So if you are a customer of ours, or you follow us closely enough to have an opinion, please comment an answer to the following:

If our business could speak, what does it say to you?

No, it does not ask you about your favourite tipple… 😉

Jules – Recovering Stress Head

 

 
 

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Day in the life…& mental shenanigans!

A couple of days ago I did a bit of a spontanious “day in the life” thread over on our Facebook page and it was very random and a mixed bag of what I was up to from school runs to leather creations!  I am after all, a wife, mum and daughter as well as a business owner with plans for world domination!

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Anyway, I think it is something I will repeat soon, but focus JUST on the work going on, so if this is of interest to you, pop over there and ‘like’ and ‘follow’ to get updates and see our regular shenanigans!  I’ll copy it all into an instagram flow too as I know a lot of our fans follow us there instead.

The best thing about doing the day in the life thread was the great interaction it encouraged, I love chit chatting on the page and it doesn’t happen a lot.

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I’m currently in the literal busiest time scale in our working year, the run up to the annual summer London MCM event.  It’s the deadline for usually the most complex and time intensive custom orders we have on, of which I am usually the responsible party!

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This year is no exception, we are currently in the middle of the Wonder Woman corset re-build that I have let drag out over a year before having the balls to get her done…I had a bloody awful mental block because of it not fitting the customer perfectly first go.  This doesn’t happen very often at all and it really threw me mentally about re-making it better!  What if it goes wrong again?! What if I can’t do this (even though I actually already did this skill) and why am I no good at this work *insert a couple of stress sobs*…

It’s been horrible, but instead of spurring me into getting it re-done quickly to get rid of the feeling, I stuck my head in the sand and no once again, although I have time to do it, I have time stress on top of self doubt stress and fear of the customer stress (which is total bollocks I know as the customer is possibly the most lovely and friendly lady ever) on top of everything else I have on stress!

Writing this has helped, as has my wonderful Pod micro managing me into just starting it the other day and now it is flowing well and looking good and I feel like I can tackle it once again!  I’m human, stuff happens, I get over it and create leather creations that make people happy 🙂

Leather Wonder Woman corset

Wet forming process of making the corset chest area for our Wonder Woman corset over customer body form.

The other huge custom order currently under way is a detailed and fiddly design, but gorgeous!

Balthier from Final Fantasy is not a character I had ever come across due to not being a gamer myself, but hey! that has never stopped me making their costumes!

Balthier Final Fantasy2

So if you want to see the progress photo’s I’ve been taking, I’ll be posting an album up probably next week when I get some time over on Facebook.

On top of these, we have the usual range of Star Wars  belts and random website items being make and dispatched each day just to keep us on our toes!

So that’s about it for today, I’m back to my motivated and determined self, orders are going really well, family is good, life feels positive *content sighhh* and I have a cup of tea ❤ ttfn!

DON’T FORGET…

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GDPR Information

GDPR Information

New regulations about how and why businesses such as ourselves collect data and what our customers know about it are being initiated this May 2018.

In compliance to this new ruling we bring you the following –

Cosmic Workshop Data Disclosure:

Cosmic Workshop – Leather armour and accessories for the entertainment industry

Website Data

  1. If you have placed an order through our main website, you leave us with the following data; Your name, Date of Birth, your chosen email address, your street address, your telephone number and of course, a purchase history is built up of what items you buy.
  2. We use email contact details left here for two purposes – Completion of your item (possibly asking to confirm sizing or colour etc..) or dispatch information (tracking number and date of dispatch etc..)  Phone numbers are only ever utilised if a package requires a courier instead of Royal Mail dispatch.
  3. If you ticked the “subscribe” button upon registering on our website, you will also receive our newsletter (when we finally get around to making one work haha)

We do not under any circumstances share any information left in our possession, with the exception detailed in 2. Where we may be required to include a phone number when booking in an order to courier your item to you.

Honestly, that is it, we are far too busy working to be any more nefarious than this 😉

 

 

 

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