Kitsune mask

Worn at: Anime North 2004, Ad Astra 2005
Awards Won: Best Staging (Master division)

This is an original design...I wasn't too fond of any of the designs from Spirited Away, so I decided to create something that MIGHT have been at the bathhouse...after all there were all sorts of spirits there, so why not a fox spirit? ^_^ In Japanese folklore, fox spirits often appear as women in lovely robes, so that's what I went for. The mask was based off a picture in the Spirited Away artbook (seen at right), and I designed the robes to be Heian-era style (also seen at right).

I bought 25 yards of white silk and then dyed the uchigi (robes) myself. The colour scheme (researched from Liza Dalby's "Kimono" book) is a favoured one in Heian times , "shades of scarlet-pink" (the first layer, or hitoe, is supposed to be blue-green with this scheme), and I found the gorgeous golden fabric at Designer Fabrics and couldn't resist using it for the ko-uchigi ('little robe' or jacket). Then came days and days and DAYS of sewing. It bothered me that I didn't have time to hand-hem the robes, as it looks much nicer than topstitching, but there turned out to be no workmanship judging so it wasn't a big deal (except for my pride...hehe). The hakama is cotton twill and the kosode (white first layer) is plain white cotton, chosen for comfort. I used patterns from this site.

Mask: I sculpted the shape out of Plasticene, then carefully covered it in strips of papier-maché, then lots and lots of gesso and sanding. It's still not perfectly smooth, but I ran out of time. The ears are foam covered in papier-mache and gesso.

I'd like to do a proper Heian ensemble someday, as this silk turned out far too shiny and supple; the robes should have some stiffness to them. I'd also like to have them all lined properly; this was sort of last-minute Heian. :P

Me and Yubaba (Dawn) on the stage From the group photo...can't see much of the costume here. A better shot of all of us At Ad Astra At Ad Astra At Ad Astra At Ad Astra At Toronto Trek At Toronto Trek

Pics#1 and 4-7 thanks to Ikegami
Pic#2 thanks to Sabrina
Pic#3 thanks to