Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Luna Lovegood's Lion Hat

For her first trip to the San Diego Comic Con this year, my niece Kate said that she wanted to cosplay. Because I'm exhibiting and wouldn't be able to go back and forth with her to the hotel, I suggested that she pick something that was as comfortable to wear as her everyday clothes, no heavy props, no elaborate makeup, no thick bulky costumes. She said she wanted to go as Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books...but Luna when she was wearing her lion hat and supporting Gryffindor. The only hitch was, she and her mom could source everything she needed..except the lion hat. So she asked me to help.
We looked at the version of the hat from the movie, but I'd done a painting of Luna in that hat where I thought my design would work better. The materials were ones that I could obtain and they would also pack well and not end up damaged inside of luggage. The tassels & ear flaps were also something I'd included in the painting that I hoped I could pull off for Kate's hat.

For materials, Kate and I made a run to a fabric store to get some craft furs, something for the mane, and other misc. The green roll is upholstery foam that I used to make the understructure form of the lion's head. For the mane, I'd planned to do it all with feathers, but a combination of knowing how MANY packets of ostritch feathers from the craft store and the fact that the colors were too stock YELLOW or ORANGE for our more natural fur color meant we went for something different: yarns. I didn't use any thread to sew the hat or any component of it...everything was done with the crafter's best weapon: Hot Melt Glue!

Unfortunately, I didn't get process photos of the head when I was working the foam shapes or starting to cover the head with the different furs. This is the earliest photo I have of the process when I got the golden fur attached to one side of the hat & flap and glued on an ear. To get the fur to conform to the foam's contour, I just draped the fur over top and then would start making cuts where the fur puckered and wouldn't lay flat. A little drop of HMG to tack it down and then work on to the next area.

Originally the eyes were going to be these made of yellow and black craft-foam sheets. I used copic markers to add some tone and details to the iris, but ultimately, Julia suggested I use some taxidermy eyes I had stored away (for the same puppetry project I had the fur on-hand for) and we didn't use the flat eyes. 
The longest part of the whole process was the mane. I'd take a length of yarn, tie a knot in the middle and glue the knot to the hat so that each glueing resulted in two strands of mane-hair. I glued and knotted and trimmed, and cut, and knotted, and glued for many hours before there was enough mane to look like a bulk of lion hair instead of a sad craft project. 
Kate helped me on and off, but most of the glueing and cutting was a one man opperation, so she worked on a coloring project of her own. Julia sat and pre-cut lengths of yarn at different lengths and knotted them for me, and as always offered her opinion and suggestions for how to improve the hat. She noticed I would get clumps of the same color, and helped point out where I needed to blend in the two colors of yarn and the natural twine in so the mane looked more natural and even.
Here are a few last shots of the Lion hat from that night after it was finished, including one of Kate wearing it and one of me wearing it.

Oh, and I also strung up some unused wine corks so Kate's Luna could wear her Butterbeer-cork necklace around SDCC.

2015 Appearances:
Long Beach Comic Con: Sept. 12-13
Baltimore Comic Con Sept. 25-27
New York Comic Con Oct. 8-11
Art-Bubble Comics Festival: Copenhagen: Nov. 14-15

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