COS&Affection: Lazy Sunday with Emris
by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
With the Summer con season still burning up, we decided to take a lazy Sunday chatting with one of our favorite con buds. Allow me to introduce you to Bethany, the extremely talented mind behind Emris Coscept. When it comes to cosplayers we definitely admire, Bethany sits atop that short list of amazing people we think you need to know about.
Justin Prince: Thanks for chatting with me on this lazy Sunday! What have you been up to today?
Bethany: Actually, I just got done tailoring my jumpsuit for my Portal 2 Chell cosplay I'm finishing for PAX! So I've been sewing my butt off the past couple of weekends.
JP: Very nice! I'm looking forward to seeing it! As a cosplayer, you've worked with a variety of mediums. Your Ciri from The Witcher 3 stands out as an example of that. Officially, how many different materials have you worked with in your cosplay journey?
B: Oh goodness! Cloth, all 3 flavors of Worbla, craft foam, PVC and leather--Ciri's chain mail was the first time I worked with metal outside of jewelry-making, but now I'm going to learn how to cold-roll steel bars to make the supports for Chell's Long-Fall Boots. So six major ones. Seven if you count wig-styling.
JP: Styling wigs is no joke, I'd definitely count it as one. Of the materials you've crafted with, which would you say has been your favorite to work with... conversely... which would you say is the bane of your cosplayer existence?
B: Worbla is definitely the easiest learning curve I've had with a material. I was able to pick it up pretty quickly. I absolutely despise sewing zippers. Even after getting all the proper equipment and learning how to make them look good they remain my nemesis.
J: Got any war-stories you'd like to share? Preferably during the much maligned "cosplay crunch time" many a cosplayer encounters? Any 3AM breakdowns or one-on-one battles with a hot glue gun?
B: Oh dear god yes. About a week before ECCC 2016 I burned a hole straight through the over-dress for my Riding-Outfit Arwen cosplay. I'd accidentally bumped the iron and didn't notice how high it was turned up. The destruction was instant and I had several hours of mourning before I rallied to rip out the damaged panel and replace it.
J: Yikes! How much did that derail your schedule having to fix that?
B: Enough that I didn't have time to make her matching gloves and had to wear a pair that I'd bought that just...didn't go very well in my opinion. Everything still turned out fine and the con was a great experience but it was definitely a huge lesson not to work on things when I'm too tired. I'll never escape the con crunch, but I'm learning to manage my time better.
J: That con crunch though... it's inevitable. SO! Everyone's gotta start somewhere, tell us about your very first cosplay. Who did you cosplay? How long ago was it? Where did you unveil it?
B: My first cosplay was actually with my first cosplay group from Oregon, Tesla Cosplay (I miss those peeps so much!). We decided to make a five-person Kyoshi Warrior group from Avatar: The Last Airbender. We even learned a Tai Chi fan form to perform in the park! We debuted our group at Sakura-con 2013, which was also our first real convention. Everyone was AMAZING! Korra had just premiered that year and the Avatar community is just plain an amazing fandom... so we had the best time and met so many amazing people!
J: By all that is holy... that was your first? I remember that one! We at Lifted Geek met you that year!
B: Just in case that makes me sound too good, just don't ask to see the seams inside our cosplays. We were all still learning.
J: What matters is how it looks on the outside right? Did you have a background in sewing before you got into cosplay?
B: I did! Actually my mom taught me how to sew when I was a little kid, and she actually helped us puzzle out the patterns for those cosplays since we had to draft all our own patterns. I'd mostly sewn Renaissance costumes and such for community plays or faires before cosplay so I was so excited to find out about this hobby with a massive community behind it that would let me be whatever kind of nerd I wanted to be!
Huge shout out to my mom for teaching me my favorite skill. I owe a lot to her! <3
J: Impressive! Big shout-out to Mamma Emris for being the catalyst. So PAX is your next big show right? Are you just working on Chell for PAX or do you have any other plans?
B: Chell is my only new project this time around. I'll be re-wearing my Dragon Age: Inquisition Morrigan because she's way too comfortable, possibly Ciri if I finish sprucing her up in time, and an Ori And The Blind Forest kigurumi that I commissioned from Kimchi Kigurumis for the final day of PAX which is my day to run free and wild about the exhibit halls and catch anything I might have missed.
Or nap. Napping is a huge possibility on the last day.
J: Looking forward to seeing Chell in all her glory! While you have done alot, what is on your list of future characters to cosplay?
B: Actually, I'm going to be throttling back on my screen-accurate cosplays for a while to focus on more re-designs and original designs for a bit because they're what I have a real passion for. I'm still planning plenty of recognizable cosplays though! I'm filling the role of Morticia in an Addams Family group for Halloween, I'll be Poison Ivy for a Gotham Sirens Holiday group, and I'll finally be finishing Padme Amidala's Parade dress from Star Wars Episode 1 for ECCC 2018!
J: That Padme is going to be something to look forward to! I've seen some of your original stuff, like the Moon Jellyfish Dress. That was gorgeous!
B: Thank you so much!! I'm honestly so blown away by all the kindness and support I've received regarding my original designs. I'm especially happy because costuming and fashion is how I create art. I don't have a passion for drawing like a lot of the artists that inspire me, but I absolutely love getting inspired by something I see or hear, making ridiculous outfits and collaborating with photographers to make art.
And make no mistake, I recognize my photographers' contributions to the end result--they are HUGE! I am a massive derp of a potato in real life.
J: Dude, you are like the kawaii-est potato... ya know? ANYWAY! Stepping outside of cosplay a bit, with PAX being your next show... how big of a gamer are you?
B: And I'm actually relatively new to the gaming world! I grew up playing games like the Myst trilogy with my parents (who probably let me feel like I was contributing to the puzzle-solving) but I just recently got into video-gaming on my own. I'm deep into Final Fantasy XIV right now, but I love big adventure games with lots of story like Dragon Age, Mass Effect and The Witcher. I'm really interested in stories, so I'll fall in love with anything with a good plot.
One of my favorite games is a little Folk-Horror game called Year Walk. It tickles my creepy-bone and is very pretty.
J: Aside from FF14, what else are you playing at the moment? Anything at PAX you are looking forward to?
B: I'm currently playing Divinty: Original Sin 2, I just picked up Guild Wars 2, I'm playing through Portal 2...it's a time of sequels for me. I'm pretty interested to see if Bioware has anything Anthem-related this year, and I'm pretty excited to possibly scout any new games for VR since I've fallen in love with the Vive!
My favorite part at PAX last year was wandering the Indie-game booths and seeing all the beautiful work that newer developers are doing though! Some of it really caught my eye and we ended up with a few new fun games because of it!
J: The indie scene has really stepped up in recent years eh? Switching gears BACK to cosplay... before we finish up here... what advice would you have for any aspiring cosplayers?
B: You're always ready to learn a new skill. You may not get it quite right on the first try, or the second, but now is always the right time to learn a new skill. I used to think I had to wait until I was "good enough" to take on a project. What I was actually waiting for was to feel confident enough. Give yourself plenty of time to learn and practice and try (and fail and try again if necessary), but you're smart and now is always the right time to try. I'd have been able to accomplish so much more if I'd just allowed myself to try.
J: Fantastic Bethany! You really do deserve all the affection we can give! For our fans to show their affection as well, where can they find your work?
B: Thank you so much!! Right now I'm really only active on my Instagram @emris_coscept. It's a much better place to find me. I post there everyday and respond to all the comments that I see. I do have a Facebook Page for those who don't do Instagram though.
J: Excellent, well that covers another installment of COS&Affection, thanks for taking the time out of your Sunday to hang with me Bethany.
B: Thank you so much for chatting with me, Justin!
So g33ks! That was Bethany of Emris Coscept. She's one of our favorite people to run in to at cons and she never ceases to amaze me with how awe-inspiring her work is. Definitely navigate to her social media pages and give this gal a follow/like... and hey, if you pop by to send your affections her way... tell her your friendly neighborhood Justin Prince sent ya.