Three days before the NineWorlds geekfest I decided to make some ambitious and untested cosplay. There’s nothing like panicking about a ridiculous goal before you go to a strenuous event*, and also I am an idiot.
I was feeling dumpy and grumpy, and I have a deep and abiding love from my childhood for the Dark Crystal**, so I chose to do Aughra. I didn’t have time to research anything or make a meticulous recreation. I aimed for a general impression of Aughraness***.
I started with the mask. This definitely isn’t a “how to” post, as I was making it up as I went along, and I suspect there is a better way to do almost everything I did. But if you’re curious about how I did it, click through on the pics below for details.
A portrait showing details of Aughra’s face.
The first batch of ingredients I assembled for mask, hair and horns. There was much more emergency shopping to come. Oh yes.
I cut off the hair from the gorilla mask, then started ripping it off the face, using pliers a great deal of BFI.
Good enough. Having no time for perfectionism is liberating in some ways. The hair left will either be hidden by a wig or buried under added modelling or the bald cap.
Stitched nose to make it shorter and more pug-like. Adding a cheekbone. Scrunched up masking tape so that it is sticky both sides and used it as modelling material. Created smooth surface with more masking tape.
Finished adding cheekbones and eyebrows and hot-glued bits of one latex bald cap over to smooth out. Top tip from Jem: tissue in liquid latex makes a much better modelling material, but wear gloves!
Other whole bald cap folded in half and hot-glued on to extend forehead. Note spoon handle for smoothing things down because hot glue is hot, even through a couple of layers of latex.
Cut off ears as didn’t need them and wanted to minimise what I was working with. Painted all over with a layer of liquid latex to try and help everything stick together and give a good painting surface. It’s drying over a couple of bowls.
Fiddled around sewing and glueing nose and lips a bit more. Also cut out centre of nose. so my actual nose tip shows. What I haven’t been doing is trying it on after each step. Foolish Zola! The eyebrows, cheekbones and eyes are really asymmetric, and it’s pretty heckin’ uncomfortable.
Aughra’s 3rd eye is made of blended yellow and metallic gold Fimo. I made a solid ball, then realised it would be too heavy, so made a hollow cup instead. Baked it, then slit open bald cap and glued it in place. I had to unstick it and make a new hole to move it at least once as inititally it was too far up. Gone a bit hot glue happy using it to fill holes, smooth joins, and add textures.
Initial coat of pinkish acrylic paint. Was going to dry brush grey over it, then realised was doing it the wrong way round. So this got a grey coat over the top, then dry brush of pinkish-grey to highlight the texture.
Cut out a lot more of the bottom of the mouth and chin. Cut section out of chin and rejoined it to make it fit tightly under my real chin. Cut bits off front of curly wig and glued on for beard/sideburns. Glued on straight wig bits for eyebrows and cheek whiskers.
Inside the mask. Did lots of trimming of stitched bits to make it more comfortable. Also made eyeholes bigger. Attached elastic strap at temples for best fit.
Mask all done! Took various sewing and making kit to geekfest. Cut eyeholes bigger and more symmetrically (Clare’s tweaks). Cut down size of forehead and stitched it onto wig. Got quite hot and cross and sulky doing it, but it worked. You can see paint has cracked in places.
Me going full Aughra with grey and black facepaint under mask. Horns fixed on with elastic straps going over wig behind forehead (so mostly hidden by hair) and under my chin. Not very comfortable, but best I could manage in the time.
I was going to ditch this as too crap to wear, but was persuaded otherwise. Big thank yous to everyone who gave me encouragement, and an extra one for Clare for looking at it critically and suggesting some tweaks that made all the difference.
Next up : the rest of the outfit, and confessions of my crimes against sewing.
* I always have a blast at Nineworlds, but with ME/cfs it is a high level activity. Totally worth it.
** It’s an 80’s fantasy film for kids, but surprisingly dark. Jim Henson’s workshop made all the characters and creatures. It’s currently available on Netflix.
*** I have an abysmal memory so I used a reference picture, but it’s not like anyone at the con is going around with a screenshot for comparison purposes.