by Michæl W. Bard
©2007 Michæl W. Bard
Well, not really. However, its arriving for me.
Ive always been interested in extreme costumes. Not the quick stick on a mask and put on some old clothes and run around screaming to get candy type of costume (though Ive done it). Instead, I refer to the extreme mind-blowing Hollywood-like as realistic as possible type costume. Makeup, prosthesis, latex, careful sewing, all that sort of painstaking stuff.
Of course, that personal choice tends to delay costuming, or fursuiting, somewhat. It cant be done cheaply. And, if one does it oneself, there is a learning curve until one can do it well. Which is why it took me 42 years, finding furry (and the resources attached), having enough disposable income, and gaining enough knowledge and wisdom, to finally achieve my objective.
Which is still being worked on :)
However, I now have something wearable!
Some recent background first.
I first found out about fursuiting by seeing a so-called furry social tree which showed the relative social ranking of various activities within furrydom. Said ranking was, supposedly, graded by how a group contributes creatively to the fandom. At the very top were the famous personalities, then famous artists, then fursuiters, then good furry porn writers, then bad furry porn writers, then fans, then fantards, then haters And, at the very bottom, were those who tried to write serious furry fiction. So, serious furry fiction is of less use to the fandom than people who actively hate it, and go out of their way to broadcast their hate.
This, other than making my blood boil (which it still does), introduced me to the term fursuiting. From there, it was easy to find pictures, and to ask people I know as writers, and get an idea of what it was all about. And, deciding I wanted to try it.
For many many years Ive wanted to make some kind of digitigrade stilts. To do the whole digitigrade stance properly. About two years ago a fursuiting online friend pointed me to the HOOVES yahoo group, which had detailed descriptions of how to make digitigrade stilts. Primitive compared to later models by the same person, but, it proved to me it was possible.
So I went to work.
A year passed, and lots of designs and sketches. Finally I made a basic stilta 2x4 bolted to a wooden hoof with shoes screwed to said 2x4. It was wearable. But it had limitations. So the design developed. At about the same time I had the first design finished, I acquired a horse muzzle prosthesis from NorthFur and painted it up. It worked, and I figured out how to use a wig to hide my hair/ears, but it was limited. The muzzle couldnt really be furred, and the makeup took a fair amount of time. I also acquired a tail by getting a long bundle of black hair, tying off one end with a long leather strip, and making a complex mount (to hold the tail outward) to create an actual horse tail for either general use, or for future incorporation into a fursuit.
In March of this year I met a local fursuiter. He brought an otter head down to a local eatery, along with his tail, and showed them off. He wore them.
Now, seeing a fursuit on the monitor is one thing. Actually seeing one, in real life, right beside you, living and breathing (as it were) is something completely different. At that point I knew I wanted to do it. And, I knew that full head was definitely a better long-term solution for me than the prosthetic muzzle and makeup and wig.
So, that same March, I contracted with Beetlecat to make me a head and arms. The head to make it work right with mane, ears, and to cover my head, and the arms as Id never had a good solution to that problem, and she burst onto the fursuit manufacturing scene with an ungulate fursuit, including hoofhands which worked perfectly for me.
Besides, I know my sewing skills, and I know that she can do a far better job than I can!
At the end of June of this year I received said head and arms, and had a partial fursuit (barely) that I could wear. No legs or hooves, but with head, arms, and tail, I could get away with it.
At the beginning of July I was able to participate in some fursuit bowling. Or, bowling at a bowling alley whilst wearing a fursuit. Or, for me, a partial.
I had the time of my life! Or close to it. It was like a revelation, like a fog being lifted from my eyes. That, in addition to the recent escape from prison of my inner furry, made me feel on top of the world. Even though I barely hit any pins as it is very hard to bowl when your palms are padded with cotton and feathering so that you have zero ball controlI did figure out a way, and actually hit some, and danced while doing it!
And I wanted more!
Sadly, I havent had the opportunity to do moreyet. Scheduling/work issues, nothing local going on, but I do put my arms and head on every so often. The head more often. I now classify bad days at work as one-head days. Or two-head, or three-head days well, when I get home I put said head on and get on IRC and relax. Its positively therapeutic!
Now Ive started on the Mark 3 stilts, which should be the final version. Hopefully Ill have details next issue, which will be just in time for the Midwest Fur Fest (or MFF) which I am going to attend. Already registered, hotel already booked. And fursuit ready to go!