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Anarchy Girls Cospace

Peering behind the doors of the cosplay maker's space.


The year is coming to a close, but some people are already planning out their next costumes for 2017, whether for the next convention or for next Halloween. But not everyone has quick and easy access to the tools they need to craft great costumes. (Those Overwatch Mercy wings aren't going to frame themselves!) In the spirit of shared workspaces that have been popping up around the valley, the Anarchy Girls Cospace was founded back in August, with the intent on providing women a space to design and create costumes with tools they may not have ready access to. Today we chat with the co-founder of the space, Kapiolani Love, about her cosplay career and starting up the space, along with details of what people can get from it. (All pictures courtesy of Anarchy Girls Cospace.)

Kapiolani Love

Gavin:  Hey Kapi! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.

 I am the president and co-founder of Anarchy Girls Cospace, and I have worked on a wide variety of projects. My favorite creations include my Lord of Darkness mask from the movie Legend, which took second place in the intermediate category at Salt Lake's very first FanX; Elric Of Melnibone, complete with Stormbringer, for a FanX 2015 competition piece; Artifacts' Angelus, which sported a 12-foot wingspan; Lady Death, in which I met and impressed the character's creator Brian Pulido; and the Death Gods project, which premiered at FanX 2016 with the rest of the Chaos Squad. With several other friends and colleagues, I designed and created Anarchy Girls Cospace, a place for cosplayers of all skill types to learn, share, build, sew and create projects of all kinds under the watchful eye of other professionals and experts. I bring my skills and experience with sculpting, molding, casting, thermal plastics and other FX cosplay skills to the workshop and I'm always eager to share my knowledge.

FanX 2016, (center front, then to the right) John Thomas O'Connell Jr., Morgen Yoakum, Peter Knibble, Jacqueline Black, Orbit Brown, Sarah Jane Eaton, Anastasia Thomas, Christine Osborn, Sequan Kolibas, Charles Riviera Gonazlez II, Kapiolani Love and Yazmine Tatiana in the boat. - CHISELED LIGHT
  • Chiseled Light
  • FanX 2016, (center front, then to the right) John Thomas O'Connell Jr., Morgen Yoakum, Peter Knibble, Jacqueline Black, Orbit Brown, Sarah Jane Eaton, Anastasia Thomas, Christine Osborn, Sequan Kolibas, Charles Riviera Gonazlez II, Kapiolani Love and Yazmine Tatiana in the boat.

What was it about cosplay that first caught your attention?

I have always enjoyed getting dressed up, and Halloween was my favorite time of the year. The first comic book I got into was Dawn by Joseph Michael Linsner, and I found someone to make some of the outfits she wore so I could go be her for Halloween. It wasn't called cosplay back then. I attended my first Comic Con in Vegas in 2003, and the costumes were jaw-dropping and overwhelming, I remember thinking, "I want to make stuff like this." Then Face Off started and inspired me to actually start creating and bringing my favorite characters to life.

How did you start making your own costumes? What were your favorite characters to make?

At the first Salt Lake Comic Con in 2013, I had met Russ Adams. He had a booth there and I asked him a few questions; I was working on making the Witchblade from Top Cow Comics, and was struggling with it. My molds kept locking, and it didn't seem to matter how many YouTube videos I watched, I couldn't get it down. I later contacted Russ to see if I could pay him to show me how to mold properly. He told me about his latex mask-making class, and I signed up immediately. Darkness was my first project and my first entry into a contest. We were bumped from beginner to intermediate and took second place at the first FanX event. To date he is still my favorite character to make. It was my first success, and he is such an amazing character and visually jaw-dropping.

Anarchy Girls Cospace grand opening event, Cosplay Carwash, (right to left) Stephen Burress, Nathan Sims, James C Carlson, Madison Lindgren, Elly Swedberg, Zack Sims, Sarah Jane Eaton, Morgen Yoakum, Noelle Cummings, - DERRICK HAMPSON
  • Derrick Hampson
  • Anarchy Girls Cospace grand opening event, Cosplay Carwash, (right to left) Stephen Burress, Nathan Sims, James C Carlson, Madison Lindgren, Elly Swedberg, Zack Sims, Sarah Jane Eaton, Morgen Yoakum, Noelle Cummings,

When did you eventually get involved with the local cosplay community and going to events?

This is a tough one, as I am not sure when I really started digging in. While I was playing with sculpting, casting and started playing with Worbla, most of my friends at that time weren't really into cosplay. They encouraged me and loved what I was creating, but the nerd thing was lost on them. Also, my characters were limited, as I don't know how to sew. At the local Pirate Faire in 2014, I met Yazmine Tatiana and James Christian Morris. I had gotten into this habit of, when I met people, I would think, what character would I make them? James immediately brought Elric of Melnibone to mind, and Yaz told me she could sew. We have been inseparable ever since. She handles the sewing (software); I handle the other stuff (hardware). We went to FanX 2015 with James in tow, and though we didn't place, we had a lot of fun. We also started making friends within the community. After people kept asking us for business cards or our cosplay page (we didn't have any), we came up with Anarchy Girls Cosplay driving home one day. We started attending events together and found we just clicked. It is very easy to make friends at these events; you automatically have some things in common with just the cosplay aspect, but quickly find other common ground in the community.

At what point did you start coming up with the idea for the Cospace?

Jacqueline Black, our Vice President, had posted on Facebook that she really wanted to cosplay Anubis, the Egyptian God, not a movie version or anything. This quickly evolved into the Death Gods for FanX in 2016, and a large group of 14 cosplayers. We worked at my house every weekend for months, taking over the basement at first, then spreading to the whole house and garage. We had a fantastic time working together, and found that working in the group kept us motivated, and was just easier in so many ways. The only downside was the mess that was left in the house and tripping over each other. My roommate informed us prior to FanX that we wouldn't have a place to work that summer, as he would be tearing the house up to remodel. We started to talk about renting a space somewhere so we could work and work more comfortably. We had noticed that a lot of people were asking for help or saying that they would love to cosplay but didn't know where to begin on the various Facebook groups. We started thinking, what if we could create a space that was like the Makerspace in SLC, but gear it towards cosplayers instead with the tools and things that we use.

Fox 13 Studios (right to left) Aaron Sutherland, Christine Osborn, John Thomas O'Connell Jr, Jacqueline Black, Anastazia Love, Yazmine Tatiana, Kapiolani Love - DERRICK HAMPSON
  • Derrick Hampson
  • Fox 13 Studios (right to left) Aaron Sutherland, Christine Osborn, John Thomas O'Connell Jr, Jacqueline Black, Anastazia Love, Yazmine Tatiana, Kapiolani Love

How did you go about finding the location in North Salt Lake?

I have been a loyal customer of FX Supply in North Salt Lake. The building adjacent to that shop was vacant, so I started talking to Steve Biggs, the owner of Special Effects Supply, about the space. I explained what I wanted to do, and he told me the space behind him would be perfect for it. So we called the management company and started the process of getting that space; it really was perfect for what we wanted to do. North Salt Lake was close to my home, so I could be there quickly, which was important as we knew I'd be the primary person running the joint. It was also a convenient location between Salt Lake City and Ogden for people to get to.

What was it like gathering up all the equipment you needed? What do you have available for people?

My roommate Ryan, who is also on our board of directors, and myself had been going to auctions for quite some time. We started stockpiling things like fabric and sewing machines. At some point, we were talking and he asked what my goals were for the space. I really just wanted to break even and have the space make enough money to pay for itself and give us a bit that we could use to upgrade equipment or buy new equipment that would be useful. He suggested we go the nonprofit route. It made the most sense, since we had already figured all the money coming in would be put right back into the space. We had already gathered all the equipment we needed to get us started prior to the conception of the Cospace idea. Currently, we have a variety of tools such as a belt sander, spindle sander, heat guns, sewing machines, serger, 3D printer, color laser printer, computers, photography studio lights and other miscellaneous items like razors and wood burning tools.

  • Anarchy Girls Cospace

What are the rules and guidelines as far as people using the space?

We actually have a set of commandments that apply to the space. Anyone can join and all are welcome:
Cospace Commandments
1. Treat the space with respect, do not abuse the tools/machines or space. Clean up after yourself so the next person doesn’t have to clean before they can start working.
2. When your time slot is up, clear out so the next person can work.
3. Play nice. We will have all different skill levels, please be nice and answer questions if someone asks. We want this to be a collaborative community; remember we were all beginners once.
4. Don’t photograph others or their work without permission.
5. If you see someone abusing the space/equipment or other members, please alert a staff member.
6. Bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. This includes any kind of hate speech directed at another person for any reason. In other words, don’t be an asshat.
7. If you are unsure on how to use a particular piece of equipment or tool, ask for help.
8. Work safely, no rough-housing, light saber fights and other such play within Cospace. Take it outside.
9. No food will be allowed in any of the workspaces. You are welcome to eat in the meeting space if it is not booked
10. All drinks must have a secured lid on them.
11. You are responsible for any damage you cause in Cospace.
12. Show tolerance. We all have different beliefs; Cospace is neutral ground, so please leave politics and religion at the door.

What are some of the cool costumes you've seen some out of it so far?

One of our friends who supported us from the beginning is Aaron Sutherland. He came in about three weeks before con and wanted to make the White Power Ranger. We helped him with each step and it turned out amazing. He really was a big hit at this last convention and I was so proud of what he accomplished. We also did a latex mask class with Russ Adams, and the masks that came out of that class were spectacular.

  • Anarchy Girls Cospace

For those wishing to take part and utilize the space, what do they need to do?

All anyone needs to do is sign up for a membership and they can start utilizing the space. Our website is up, and you can sign up right there. Prices are $40 per month for a standard membership and $60 per month for the photo studio membership, with discounts given for purchasing multiple months in advance. Once signed up, you get access to the site to start reserving time slots to come work. We use the reservation system to let us know when people will be there, so we don't have to be there all day/night when no one is planning on working. We don't have contracts, so you are not locked into anything. You really can just do one month at a time. Our memberships do not auto-renew; you will get an email when you are close to expiring, but you are in charge of renewing each month or at the end of your sign-up term.

Now that you've established yourselves, what do you hope to do with the space down the road?

I think we are still working on that. We've been open just a little more than two months; our grand opening date was Aug. 7. I feel we are still working on building a base and getting the word out there about what we do and what we can offer. We do have big hopes and dreams for the space down the road. We would love to get more equipment, such as a laser cutter, industrial sewing machines, better photography equipment and so forth. We will be creating a member committee that will be comprised of members of the space that will advise the board of directors on what members would like to see most. Then as funds are available, we will purchase those items for the space.

  • Anarchy Girls Cospace

What can we expect from you an Anarchy Girls Cospace going into 2017?

We will continue to grow and expand what we offer. We have some great class offerings, and will be expanding on those throughout the year. We are also hoping to become guests at other conventions in the U.S. to bring the idea of Cospace to other states as well. We would love to see a network of Cospaces out there. There's power in numbers; if we can get the idea to catch on across the U.S., then we may be able to get additional sponsors and donations that would really benefit all cosplayers. It would be great when a cosplayer travels if they had a place they could go to work/repair on a cosplay when visiting outside their home states. We are also hoping to add scholarships for those who cannot afford classes or memberships next year. In addition, we will offer a few events held at Cospace to bring people together for some low-key fun.