Tina Connell has been costuming at conventions since the early 1980s. She started off with hall costumes, and then was introduced by a friend to the fatal appeal of Costume-Con, which is an entire weekend of costuming and creative education, all day, every day. After she had attended a couple of these annual events, she gained the courage to make and compete a recreation costume based upon a piece of art she had admired, an ambitious project since it involved a headpiece with double spiral horns spanning almost three feet in width. That took a year to complete, but it was awarded “Best Recreation-Novice (Performance)” at Costume-Con 8 in 1990. The scarey part was when the judges’ names were announced – the artist who created the piece of art she was costuming was one of the judges!
After that, Tina became more involved in working backstage, assisting other costumers before they went on stage. She was one of the pioneers of the “Repair Table” concept at cons, and is always on the lookout for new repair materials to add to her repair kit. She has also served on numerous occasions as either a workmanship judge or a stage/presentation judge.
These days, she seldom creates new costumes (about once every five years is typical), preferring to help out backstage, but her costumes have appeared at several World Science Fiction Convention and Costume-Con competition events, and have included a ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Best Workmanship’ award at Torcon (World SF Con, Toronto, 2003), and the ‘Best Master – Original Design’ group at LACon 4 (World SF Con, Anaheim CA, 2006).
When she does create a new costume, her inspirations are frequently drawn from Art Deco and other artistic sources. Her idea of ‘fun tourism’ is traveling to costume and fashion exhibits at museums and other locations, and taking hundreds of close-up photos of the detail bits that are often overlooked. She is an avid science fiction fan, and also collects books and other resources about sewing and decorative embellishment techniques.
She is an active member of the NJ/NY (aka ‘The Sick Pups’) chapter of the International Costumers’ Guild, which meets (approximately) bi-monthly, normally in the central NJ area. Many of her costume and museum exhibit photos are included in the albums on the Sick Pups web site (sickpups.org).