A little about Anam to start with as that might help explain how her creative brain works. Here are her words:
I love to create regardless of the subject matter. I need to be part of the creative process every day to basically keep sane as I have Bi-Polar and ADHD. Being creative helps lessen my medication intake, increases my stability and gives me an outlet for the blips and swings that happen.
I spent 10 years in the world of scrapbooking and paper crafts, resulting in working for some of the biggest names in the industry like Prima Marketing and My Minds Eye. But i burnt out due to moving countries, time constraints and creative restrictions. so i quit the industry and have not really scrapbooked since because its still too emotional for me but i will never leave it completely – every few months i buy some new papers and plan out pages but I have yet to glue them altogether.
I still needed a creative outlet, so I have moved into cosplay – making cosplay costumes for different thematic genres – Steampunk, Comics, Sci-fi, Games and Manga. Cosplay means costume and props for more than just an average halloween party. I have always made kick ass costumes for the kids for halloween but never beyond that so this all started on a complete whim to be honest. We have friends around the world who take part and we have always been jealous but didnt have enough guts to go out of our own, but then we were told of a local event that was 2 weeks away and basically i went “what the hell” or such like and scoured charity shops and made some cosplay costumes for us to wear. We had so much fun and the kids loved it, so we continued on with it. Some people spend a whole year planning and making a single costume. I have two kids so my budget and my time is much more restricted. We have a budget of €50 per person per event so if a costume is to be worn for more than one event then i can add a bit more to the budget but never more than €100 total and i would not be able to do it at all without the local fabric market where I find cheap fabric and cheap supplies. Now I have a never ending list of new ideas and new techniques and new cosplay costumes to try out.
1) The day you stepped into your creative space for the first time, did you already know how you wanted your studio to look like or did the design evolve from the actual space?
I would love to have a room again just for me simply so i could close the door on it- i used to have when we lived in Canada but here in Barcelona, space is at a premium so I make do with a big closest space and commandeering the kitchen table as needed. everyone has an idea in their head of the perfect space if money was no object – mine would be an entire house if i could get away with it. Creative spaces evolve over time. mine have all changed based on how i work and what i need to do with a piece. the best thing ever I found was a drafting table that is used standing up – it is fantastic and keeps me mobile. currently if I am in the middle of a convention season, i use 3 tables – one for sewing machine, one for foam carving and one for boxes of things… i think we all have boxes of things regardless of which creative path we take.
These were our costumes for Barcelona´s EuroSteamCon event – I went as a steampunk Ursula (my tentacles are made from craft foam), my husband is a steam professor – his hat makes actual steam, my oldest went as a steampunk version of Twilight Sparkle from my little pony while my youngest went as Fluttershy, again from my little pony. you can see more photos here – http://imgur.com/a/9QWIH
2) After the work is done, do you clean up after each piece, after each day or whenever you can´t find the table any more?
i am sure my husband would wish i cleaned up after every piece or even a day but i am pretty bad on the whole thing. I just move spaces if the table gets full. I focus solely on the piece and until it is completed, the pieces and parts remain. This does mean i lose sight of the floor as much as the table. He is awesome about the whole process but he really hates adhesive backed gems and jewels as they end up stuck to his socks… and he may have banned glitter… I am lucky as he is a computer games artist so he gets how the creative muse goes.
This was our family look for a recent Batman by Gaslamp event here in barcelona to celebrate Batman´s 75th anniversary – more photos are here http://imgur.com/a/H0Xti
The whole cosplay genre has really helped us integrate into Barcelona and make a ton of friends who help us with ideas, invite us to events and put up with my atrocious pronunciation in both Catalan and Spanish.´”Poc a Poc” is the general theme when it comes to languages.
3) Which is your best time of the day to create?
When my kids are at school is the time i have but honestly my creative brain switches on at about 4pm right when i need to get the kids from school and then continues till 10pm but i have worked till 2am if the emotions are right. I am very much an emotional creative – if i am unhappy or angry, i cannot be creative and if i do nothing good comes from it. The longer i go without creating, the more grumpy i get , so often i force myself to do something small even on the days when my bipolar is bad. Catch 22 each way.
Music or silence?
Actually i normally listen to Spoken word comedy albums – like Robin Williams, Gabriel Iglesias and Dylan Moran. Or if its baseball season, then i have MLB gamecenter and listen to that (blue jays, red sox, giants, – really wanted Royals to win this year). I cannot work in silence, I always have something going on in the background – I am not paying attention to it – its just there to quiet my mind.
This is our League of Legends group – Ian is Tibbers, Lily is Annie, Fay is Shyvana and I am Kennen. We are trying to make more of a group going so we can all join in but it takes some planning as one of us need to have bag with water, repair kit, wallet, phones etc. the giant 7ft+ bear was a struggle and i cans till feel fake fur up my nose. but it was loved at the event and everyone took photos nothing like feeling like a rockstar for a day or two. more photo http://imgur.com/a/lMc3v
4) Which is your next project?
Each person in the family gets to choose a theme for one day of an upcoming event and i work with that so my husabdn picked Star Wars so we all have costumes for that but the girls picked their characters and they will pick new characters as they grow out of their costumes. Lily wanted to be a disney princess – she is in love with Tiana (i know not Frozen right?!) so we joined up with a local Disney group and went as Tiana, Ariel and Ursula – Ian hates disney so i couldn’t even persuade him to be the ultimate villain which is the hunter in bambi – so he was designated bag carrier that day. Fay plays a variety of computer games (well the all do except for me) so League of Legends was her choice for Barcelona´s Salon del Manga (ManagCon) and we all love Studio Ghibli so we do a day for that at the Japanese events.Currently we have a Manga event in december but before then we have a family event so some handmade presents are required for that, then Christmas presents, and then the new years party that requires paper crafts and a piñata. Once January starts, it time to plan and start for the Summer conventions – and being a family of 4, that means 4 costums per person per event or per day of event. thankfully we´ve been doing this just over a year now so we have a bunch of cosplay already to go. also after every convention, we have to sort out all the fixes and repairs, so its an on going cycle of hot glue burns, paint on my trousers and pin holes from sewing.
Our problem is that we have so many interests and we are part of so many different themed groups and each convention is only a weekend long, so we are limited on what we can do each day. in the works are three new costumes from star wars, a collection from How to train your dragon, maybe an adventure time group, and possible a set from the new Overwatch game.
Personally I am really enjoying the cosplay community and the whole genre of creatiness – i am learning so many new techniques, making so many new friends and basically its a good way for all of us to do as a family. normally i make everything you can see – all weapons have been converted and adapted so its not left as it comes out of any box. This is our Studio Ghibli – with an addition Pokemon (Jolteon) as it was a pokemon event too and i didnt get her Haku cosplay finished in time – I went as Zeniba – the good sister from Spirted Away, Ian was No Face and Lily had a Totoro Dress. Making Wigs is complicated! more photoshttp://imgur.com/a/RqKkM#KErnalN
So there you have it really, a little about me and what I do and how you can move from one creative path to another.