I had meant for this blog to be exclusive to the review of horror movies. However, exhibiting at comic book and anime conventions tend to take up my spare time. Also, including my spokes bunnies, Dexter and Ichabod in my web comic, Project Poppet further links my creative endeavors.
Besides, the following documents a roller coaster weekend. Let’s get to it.
Convention Prep: Pre-Party like a [plush making] Rock Star
As much as I joke about being a plush mogul, I put a lot of time and energy into my cats and dolls. I have a system, and my patterns. All the same, it gets time consuming, especially if I deviate from my patterns in any way. Boston Comic Con is a high sale show for me, and sometimes, I use that to experiment with new ideas and items.
For example, last year’s BCC was the debut of my whale cat hybrid. This was based on Merrilee’s, my friend and webmaster’s cat. Toby is Happy Kitty Studio’s head of Human Resources and a big and beautiful orange tom that likes to crash out in the apartment.
This year, I created BatCat.
Cute little guy, no? He’s a little bigger than my kitten sized plushes, and making the cape got to be a little tricky and a bit more time consuming.
Also debuting were character sharks. I had leftover fleece from other projects sitting in my fabric drawer after I had switched to a more plush fabric. I modified a pattern with a pocket mouth and knitted a small doll of a rival hero. Photographed below is Sharkpool eating a mini Cable. As I later told BCC attendees, I couldn’t bring myself to knit Ajax.
On top of my day job, which can get pretty busy on a normal day, let alone when special projects take me to other libraries, I found myself subject to solitary working evenings and weekends. Boston Comic Con 2016 was on August 12-14. I started marathon plush making the second week of July. I gave myself enough of a break after MASSive Comic con at the end of June to visit family in North Carolina, return to Connecticut, and get my apartment convention BnB ready for friends to come by for Connecticon, where I assisted for the weekend.
After Connecticon, I found myself going to work as per usual, walking home, eating a little before 4:00 while watching the Daily Show on Hulu, and afterward getting to work drawing and cutting patterns, sewing parts in batches based on the type of cat, putting it all together, and stuffing, the process broken up when I need to pick up fabric and other supplies. Again, it got pretty isolated. I saw friends sporadically and if you looked at my time with Netflix, it bordered on unhealthy. I work with background noise. Go insane? Don’t mind if I do. Top it off, there is little time for the gym. Hitting the treadmill and elliptical machine while watching Law and Order not only keeps me in shape, but keeps me on a even keel.
It hits me more and more that only some understand what I do, what I put into it and why. I could go on about dating, time constraints with the expectation some have of pulling geek cred out of my ass while looking cosplay model perfect (a little hard to do when gym time is cut short), but that’s another blog or online post.
As mentioned before, this is a high sale show, and my expenses piled up. I had to sew up a large stock of cats, 15 or more for some types to break even and profit sales wise. In a month’s time, I made close to fifty cats, knitted a few dolls, two sharks as well as two larger catpool pillows.
The expenses piled up, especially with the hotel, but thankfully, a few artist friends, Aradia, Stefanie, and her friend, Peli needed hotel space as well. We messaged back and forth to make arrangements. I contacted the hotel to let them know that my plans had changed and needed to add more people to my booking. While I was told that they would try to place us in a room with more beds, we kept our air mattresses handy.
The Long Hard Road out of Hell-or the Mass Pike.
Turned out, the hotel charges for parking. To save money among other reasons (including the amazing company), we figured that we would try to cram as much as we could into one car. Due to storage capacity in the trunk, Stefanie’s car was tasked. She and I compared it to my Honda Civic a few days prior to the show. While the engine on a Civic could possibly survive the apocalypse, it had crap for trunk depth. One thing I was worried about was my grid wall display. No way could my four pieces fit into a trunk, and it was questionable that it would fit in the backseat along with a suitcase of shelves and other display items, and not one, but two bags of a merchandise (a big duffel bag and a garment bag). I had my grid cube set on standby if it got to be cumbersome. I knew that I would be using it for Rose City Comic Con in Portland, OR the following month. To give an example of what was coming with me…..
All the same, my stuff and my person somehow fit into the backseat. I had to compress the garment bag of pillows down to ensure Stefanie’s field of vision, but it worked. Plus, I planned to come home with significantly less.
Peli came up to Connecticut Thursday. I went to the day job, got home a little before 5:00, time enough for them to come over and stuff the backseat with my gear . Their gear and prints were in the trunk. Aradia, who was based out of Massachusetts, went on to Boston earlier to set up.
We managed to make decent time getting to the Mass Pike. There was some lightning, but no major storms, and there was plenty of playlist goodness from Stefanie. However, the Mass Pike can get a little backed up especially getting to Boston. We opted to go to the convention center to set up first. After a few stops for snacks, and coffee, we made it to the loading dock and were directed by con staff to a parking spot. We had a little more than a half hour on the clock. Basically, we could pick up our badges, find our tables and the swag bag from Deviant Art given to artists which included a sketchbook, set up the bare bones of display and drop our things before staff announced that we had to leave at 8:00. Rushed, we had to find the hotel, where Aradia had already settled. I needed to leave a credit card for incidentals, but there were two beds. With everyone checked in, it was high time to go to the hotel bar for a cocktail and the Olympics before we started a crazy weekend.
Boston Comic Con: Friday
First thing was to navigate ourselves from the hotel to the convention center. Usually, I book hotels outside of the con to avoid both extra expense and loud attendees. This time around, I found what turned out to be a pretty awesome hotel. Without the clutter of gear and merch, we were able to stop at a nearby Dunkin Donuts for goodies and much needed caffeine for the day ahead.
We get there early and part ways to set up.
Friday is a shopping day, but often since it is the first day, it’s more of a window shopping type of day. Sometimes, I’ll make back the cost of my table space that day, and sometimes, I will fall short of that amount. However, I saw friends both as artists and attendees. My friend, Scott came by smiling, joked that he was with marvel and asked about my copyright credentials before checking out both the Deadpool and Loki sharks. He told me that I was coming up with really good ideas and that meant a lot coming both from him and his girlfriend, Merrilee (aforementioned webmaster and cat owned by whale cat inspiration Toby). They are two highly talented people, and know good stuff when they see it. Another friend, also a Scott, came by and after chatting told me that due to the Harley Quinn tank dress I wore I had a Harley Quinn lineup print waiting for me. When I got some time off, I picked it up afraid I would crush it under my stuff. Other friends, Pixie and her husband Shadow said hello and we talked about her cosplay and caught up-some of which involved cat pictures. It was a kitten sale day overall. At the end of the day, we were a little tired and it was time for food.
The Drink and Draw was just across the way……..
While a little convoluted in location, we make it in due time and despite crowd, we manage to get a table, meet new people, and get a little drawing done. Peli drew a wonderful cat boy and I did a few sketches in the Deviant Art sketchbook as we grabbed a little food and grog-hotel bar fare to be sure, but okay.
Boston Comic Con: Saturday
Saturday is the sales day. Due to high volume, I figured why not stand out? Now, some cosplays can get pretty elaborate, and all are a work of art in of themselves. I was keeping count of movie Harley Quinns and Jokers as opposed to the more classic version. With the release of the Suicide Squad movie, there were a ton of the movie version dotted with other members of the Justice League, Deadpool as well as Marvel and Disney characters.
I opt for Final Fantasy VII. I should pay as much attention to curling my hair on a normal day, but I get to wear slippers.
Profit was an understatement. I sold out of the (classic) Harley Quinn kittens (though how I could cat-i-fy the movie version is beyond me) and came very close to selling out of the twenty two Catpools I had. Not getting so much as a break due to attendee volume, I was happy about that, as well as the Loki shark eating a knitted Thor being my first sale of the day. Other than that, the knitted dolls didn’t get as much attention. On the other hand, I did get a commission from my friend Margaret in the form of a fox!
The duffel bag ended up in the suitcase by the end of the day. I was kind of amazed and was hoping that the giant pillows would sell and give more room by show’s end.
Afterward, I learned of the magic that was Chuck Tingle and his entertainingly bad titles thanks to Aradia, our friend, McKenzie, and the terrible vampire/viking/angel romance novel her job pawned off on her. She felt the need to share the love and Aradia shared in turn.
I’m in the wrong line of work.
Boston Comic Con: Sunday
Down to my last few kittens, a shark and the giant pillows that filled out my display, I had a slower Sunday. I chatted with my neighbors and enjoyed wearing jeans instead of dresses and my Slytherin shirt. The show was winding down but the crazy part happened after we packed up…
Holy Aftermath, Batman……
Packing up, helping others and saying goodbye was uneventful enough. We waited for Stefanie to pull into the loading dock. It took time for everyone, and we pack and pile into the car, stopping for gas in Waltham. I was looking forward to a coffee.
Only, I learn then that my bag with cash, wallet and essentials was left at my table. I call friends nearby, friends on staff and convention security to see about retrieval. No one had seen it. I was freaking the hell out. I call my landlord to report a lockout and explain the situation. He left me spares to borrow until I can make copies or if the keys return. I knew that it was all I could do for the time being, but I was pretty upset. I’m grateful to Stefanie and Peli for helping me cart my crap up the stairs. When they leave, I cancel my cards, and stop worrying about what else could happen, and what was I going to do long enough to get some sleep.
Monday, I post about it online. Margaret shares the post asking other convention friends to let us know if they saw the bag. My friend Dave, who was on staff emailed other staff to see if anything was turned into them. Overall, there was an outpouring of support that really humbled me.
I’m losing my mind waiting for convention security to call. I have to admit, I assumed the worst knowing that there was cash in the bag. I check my Happy Kitty Studio email to see about any information for my next show later in the afternoon and I get a message from my neighbors informing me that someone gave them my bag thinking it was theirs and about to be forgotten. They take a look, find the sweater I wore all weekend (and part of the week at work….it needed washing, shall we say) as well as knitting supplies and knew it was mine. One went to college in West Haven, and I was on the way to her dorm. They stated that everything was there when I tore open the bag and thanked them profusely, but the first words out of my mouth were something to the effect of how the sweater stank to high hell, but it was home.
I really hope it wasn’t too ripe on the ride back….
I could not put my cash in the bank fast enough.Those two are getting some free Catpools!
Again, this humbled me more than I can write. I know that stress made me careless, and I am going to be more mindful in the future…and the con season is not over yet.