What or who got you into crafting?
This would be after my first time at a convention. The wife had seen an advert for MCM comic-con in London and we saw that people dressed up for it but boy did we underestimate by how much! Seeing all the impressive builds, costumes and level of detail I was hooked right away and wanted to build my own armour. It was that light-bulb moment of suddenly realising that all of the weapons, props, armours and artefacts in the games and films I love were possible to be made and I could do it too.
Have you done any formal training or have you learnt through trial/ error?
Definitely the latter. My first build I had NO idea what I was doing. My local church had a stack of cardboard from Ikea which they were about to skip, so I grabbed it, and armed with nothing but a hot glue gun a creative mind and enthusiasm I got cracking. I have always loved making things, painting, being creative and seeing how things work, so to some extent that comes naturally to me, but this was a whole other ball game. To be honest, I think Trial and error is the only way we can truly learn and progress with our skill sets. A mistake is never a mistake, it is always an opportunity to learn.
Is crafting an addiction?
Without a doubt. For me its how I relax. It calms me down. Its something that I can focus on that drowns the world out. I find that I can't just sit still and watch something. My mind is always racing with ideas or trying to work out a detail. My hands are always yearning to cut, stick, form and paint. I don't think I'm ever not making in some way or other.
What do you like about Poly-props?
They are a company based first and foremost on integrity, honesty and looking to support the community. The products they bring to the market are high quality, affordable, and innovative, constantly looking to change the game and improve upon what is available.
What is one thing not many people know about you?
There isn't a lot that people don't know about me, but I am a father of a crazy little girl who I call my mini shield-maiden. She loves spending time crafting with me, helping me draw and design new props, even to the point of wanting to help cut and stick foam together and spray my props. I honestly cannot wait until she is big enough for me to make her her own foam armour set.
What would your dream build be and why?
My dream build would have to be an oversized mecha-suit. Something like a Sidonian Tsugamori, Gypsy Danger or a Gundam build like Lancelot from Code Geas. Maybe even the moose from Chappie... I love the challenge of scaling these to both look right proportionally and also be operational, wearable and movable. To incorporate electronics like light, sound and other visual effects. The biggest challenge of all is finding somewhere to store it both in fabrication and when it is finished...
What has cosplay helped you to achieve:
Cosplay has helped me develop friendships and connections all over the globe that I would never have had before. It has allowed me to express myself creatively and develop an otherwise dying skill set that I hadn't practiced in years. It allowed me to combine my love for creativity and all things geek. I think more importantly than all of that, it has allowed me to help others express themselves in their creativity and see that making, foamsmithing and cosplay isn't an overly complex art form attainable by the chosen few, but something we are all learning and developing. It has meant that I have been able to share all that I have learned to others and see them grow in their skills. It has also annoyingly meant that every armour piece, every prop and every item in films, games and movies I see, my mind goes over how I would make it, and I try to see how the prop-makers on set made it too. Once your mind is open to that, it never closes