CIA: What was it about @btanselanocian‘s redesign that inspired y’all to tackle this project?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: When I saw the designs I fell in love with the props, the attention to detail, and the use of color. Plus, I have always loved Dungeons and Dragons, so putting them into that universe was such a wonderful idea. I also look for fun challenges when it comes to props, and Mothra’s staff was so beautiful. I couldn’t resist.
CIA: Can you walk me through the process of creating this?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: It was a long process, and involved many different materials. For Mothra, I started with the wig. It involved a lot of cotton batting and white felt to build up the shape without adding a lot of weight, then shaping the wig fibers over that. I made the antennae out of wire and painted felt. The earrings are made of cut brass and painted beads. For the dress, it was a lot of patterning by pinning fabrics to my dressform, making a first draft, then using that to cut the actual fabric. I made a corset and skirt, and then the robe/dress piece that wraps over that. The skirt started out white, but was then dyed to the right colors. The sleeves were the hardest part to figure out. They were dyed and painted by hand, before being sewn to the dress. There are also a lot of appliqued gold fabric pieces on the dress. I made the belt, and all the shiny belt petals are also hand-cut brass pieces.
The wings are made of wire and old tights, that I then stitched, painted, and shaped to fit along my back.
The staff is made from a PVC pipe and foam base, then I added the electronics. There are green LEDs, and a small 10rpm motor that makes the moth wings move. I covered everything with foam strips, making them look like wood and vines. There are compartments made of foam and magnets, that way I can get to the battery pack or motor if I need to. I then added the paint and flowers. The moths are made of foam, pipe cleaners, painted posterboard, and faux fur. The moth wings are attached to the motor via some old ukulele strings. The monofilament keeps its shape and is light, but also strong. It’s fed through old metal brakeline tubing that goes through the staff.
For Godzilla, it was a lot of use of canvas cotton. We found these huge canvas dropcloths at the hardware store, and they were surprisingly soft, but sturdy, after washing them. They have a thick woven texture and take fabric dye really well. We used that for making Godzilla’s pants and shirt. The cape was made of thick cotton, cut, weathered, and painted. The spine has LEDs in it that go up into the hood. His chest and hip armor is all actual leather, patterned by hand and stitched together. The chainmail on the hip armor is hand made as well. His arm and leg armor is more canvas and layers of thick fabric. His shoes are leather and layered canvas and cotton. They are made by hand, and if you look on the bottom they have a Godzilla footprint. All the “claws” on his hand armor and foot pieces are made of bamboo from the backyard. All of the woven rope pieces are cotton wrapped fleece, braided together for a thick and lightweight rope.
The sword is PVC and foam for a base. The lights are two different sets: a LED string light set, and a neopixel setup. The neopixels were soldered by hand, and are controlled by a command board that also controls a speaker. We set it to play Godzilla’s roar with custom light animations. It has a plastazote foam to diffuse the lights, and then more EVA foam on top.
CIA: Were there some element from the original design that you had to adjust for real world?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: Some of the armor for Godzilla had to be adjusted a little, just to work on the body.
We had to scale the sword down just a little to work with the rest of the cosplay, and to not be too heavy.
On Mothra, the sleeves are incredibly detailed, and I had to make sure they were long enough, but not too long where I would add too much weight to my arms.
CIA: I believe you have some textile educational experience, how has that helped shape who you are in relation with cosplay?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: Having experience in textile studies has helped me so much with my understanding of how different fabrics work with dyes. I used a lot of dye techniques for different parts of these cosplays. Godzilla’s pants and shirt were dyed, Mothra’s skirt was dyed two different times, the sleeves were dyed, painted with more dye, and then painted again. I don’t think I would have been able to make my Mothra cosplay the way I wanted to without that prior knowledge and experience.
CIA: What is your cosplay origin story?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: My Mom is a skilled sewist and used to make Halloween costumes for my sisters and I when we were young. My sister was born on Halloween so we always had costumes and fun celebrations. That started my fascination with dressing up in costume and I always had fun doing it. As I got older, my Mom taught me how to sew. In 2010 I saw Alice in Wonderland, and fell in love with the costume designs Colleen Atwood brought to the screen. My Mom helped me a lot with making an Alice cosplay, and I went to my first anime convention. I had never been to one, and after that I wanted to go to more. I fell in love with the fun process of making cosplays and have been doing it since. It’s a huge part of my life now, and I met both of my partners through cosplay.
CIA: What is the best/worst thing about your Mothra cosplay?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY; The best part is the magic staff. I am so proud of how it turned out and the way the moths move makes me so happy!
The only thing that I get tired of is that occasionally I run into things with the wire wings, and the long dress can make it hard to go through crowds in convention halls.
CIA: Y’all been a guest at several events such as Memphis Expo, Planet Comic Con. Having you and Vic as a guest, does it definitely help there are two of you?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: Oh definitely! Vic and I have a system where we help each other, and I don’t think I could do it alone. We have Brady too, and between the three of us it makes it easier to run the booth and run panels, or allow for each other to take breaks when needed. We all support each other and remind each other to eat and drink water during the day. Sometimes the convention day gets away from us, so it’s important to have that support system.
CIA: Final thoughts?
STRANGE CAT COSPLAY: Godzilla movies have a special place in my heart. I always loved sci-fi and fantasy, monsters and crazy costumes. Mothra and Battra are my favorites, so when I saw the designs by btanselanoican, I was inspired. It brought back a sense of nostalgia and happiness while making parts of the cosplays. I still have more details that I want to add and fix, but my Mothra cosplay is one of my favorite projects I have worked on in a long time.