Or; how we got started in Costuming
went to his first Science Fiction convention, Archon, back in 1979 or
'80. That's also where he saw his first masquerade. He watched how much
fun people were having for 3 years before he got an idea to build some
sort of robot costume. When the British TV show Doctor Who began
airing in St. Louis in 1983, he decided to try making a Dalek -- a
robot-like creature from the show. It made its debut in 1985, and after
that, he was hooked. After marrying Nora, and realizing he was somewhat
limited as to what he could build with wood, plastic and other rigid
materials, he asked Nora to teach him to sew. He always admired people
who made their own clothes, and he now finds sewing very rewarding; it
has opened a lot of new creative avenues.
Coincidentally, Nora also discovered Costuming at a convention; a Doctor Who convention. She'd seen people dress up at the club meetings but had no idea that they got on stage and performed -- a star was born! Her mother taught her to sew when she was very young but it was pretty boring. It wasn't until high school when some friends persuaded her to take some Middle Eastern dance classes with them that she discovered a practical use for that early training. (Dance costumes are very expensive, even to make, and a high school student simply didn't have the cash for someone to custom make her costumes.)
She started small, mostly hall costumes, and worked up to fancier stuff. To the essential sewing skills she added original design work (from her art training), embellishment and detail (from Middle Eastern dance costumes), and a Taurean love of rich fabrics
Neither one of us likes to stick to one particular medium or style, like foam, or papier-mache; we prefer to learn new techniques and work with different mediums, and broaden our artistic horizons.
While we were engaged, we discovered there was an organization called the International Costumers Guild. Its purpose is to further the appreciation of the artform, and serve as a resource for costumers of all types. Nora interested enough people to form a St. Louis Chapter of the Guild in 1991. She served as President of the St. Louis Costumers Guild (aka St. Louis Ubiquitous Tailoring Society -- SLUTS) for 5 years, then took to chair Costume-Con 16 which we hosted in April of 1998. As of October 1998, Bruce took over the reins of the chapter.