SAN DIEGO – The Best In Show award at the 2003 Comic-Con Masquerade went to the One Ring Circus, a group of devoted Tolkien fans and costumers that wowed judges and audience alike.
The group (Judy Grivich, Mitch Steinberger, Aimee Steinberger, Carolyn Staehle, Leah Jakusovszky, Kelly Bolton, Cathleen Trowbridge, Cordelia Willis, Kelly Lima, A.J. Wu, Annie Kim, Nina Kempf) presented their 100 percent self-produced costumes along with an adapted “The Pitch” from Moulin Rouge. They stopped by the TORn booth the following day, giving us a chance to find out the full details of what went into the award-winning entry.
The concept was born at a Two Towers line party when Bolton and Willis discussed the idea. The lyrics were adapted and the ball was set rolling. Bolton, who works at a crime lab credited her job with providing her inspiration. “I do a lot of costuming because my job is boring and I don’t get to express myself creatively. I am not good at art and I am okay at writing but I am pretty good at sewing.”
Apparently her “pretty good” is good enough to win awards when combined with the sewing and other talents of the rest of the troupe. Grivich who was a fully-armoured, fully bearded and fully nosed invested an estimated 500 hours of work into her elaborate garb that weighed in at about 50 pounds. Much of the work involved making her armour which was linked by hand – all 15,000 pieces. She is unable to raise her arms above her head but knew right away she would be Gimli when the “fellowship” was announced. “It’s the height thing,” she said. Even the “easy” costumes average about 100 hours of work each.
Members of the group exchanged talent work in order to get the costumes at their top polish.
Richard Taylor of WETA Workshops spotted the troupe by the TORn booth and came over to congratulate them, calling their work “brilliant.” The group was pretty floored to be complimented by Taylor who they hold in high regard.
“HE actually came up to US,” Willis said.
The all California group which has its eye on production stills from Return Of The King has its own website at http://www.Stitchinbabes.com/orcindex.html