#LARPerspotlight returns in a new and improved format, as you can see, we've moved ourselves onto our own website and instead of a facebook post, we now have a literal page assigned to each of our LARPerspotlights where we intend to do a deep dive on the costume but also the person behind the costume and ask them about their own Larping experiences as well as their thought process, regarding the costume that we have on the spotlight.
Meet Marie Fankänel from Germany, Marie has been been on the LARP scene since 2013, as she puts it: "My first contact with larp was in 2013, where I joined a small larp as NSC and got to play many roles, from peasant girl to blood witch." Although Marie's interest with roleplay did not start there. With a background in pen and paper roleplay, it did not take long for her to be instant hooked by the premise of being able to be her character and not just act them.
However the transition was not one to one, as Marie states:
"At first, as many people do, I did not really have a vision of what I wanted to play, how I wanted to portray my characters and how to start making an outfit, so I bought random items online and on markets. Most of them I ended up selling over time, but some of them are still in use as part of costumes or recycled into different props."
Creating and playing many different characters is something also meant that Marie was able to try out different avenues of roleplay and different ways of being able to customize her character. In 2015 however, Marie began planning her characters:
"In 2015 I started to plan my outfits ahead and to craft some basic leather things, like bracers or ornaments on my belts, for my character Brynja, who's a classic fantasy Viking warrior. That led to more and more customization and now when I see a piece of clothing or armor I already think of the many ways I could alter it or add my own style. That has become my favorite way of crafting, to buy a basic piece and then adjust it and craft my own thing out of it
It is with that mindset that we will take a deeper look at Marie's main character for the past 2 years.
Created with a wish to focus on "(...)my love for fighting and behing a strong, independent woman with music and storytelling."
She created Katarzyna the bard Katarzyna ,"a bard that was active in the military aswell, which fit perfectly with the witcher background and my chosen origin, Temeria."
Katarzyna is an interesting character with equal parts fighting and social skills and even being able to sing! a wonderfully realized bard type character that you don't doubt for a second could and would exist in the world of the Witcher.
We were blown away just by how well that Marie hits that fine balance between colourful but also pragmatic, which can be a difficult balance to hit and cannot help but find new and awesome details that we missed on the first pass.
It's also a very well used costume as Marie says here:
"I use this outfit with bard on many Larps, and since I made two complete separate costumes for her, one thats practical, armored and usable for fighting and traveling, and one that's a bit more elegant and that I use for performing or just being in a safe town, tavern or village, I can adapt my clothing to the situation quite well. I also made Pyjamas, warm coats and cozy fur gloves to be ready for cold nights."
The outfit is far from finished however, as Marie puts it:
"(...)a larp outfit is constantly evolving, and after every time I use it and wear my costume I find one thing or another to change, add or remake completely."
It is a sentiment that we completely can relate, one never finishes a costume, but it constantly evolves, although still keeping a core look intact and it is something that we find mighty fascinating as designers.
Making a costume is not easy or fast, especially one as wonderfully realized as Marie's and we asked her about the challenges of getting the costume made as well as details she were especially proud of and what larps she used this for.
"The most time consuming, even though it's not really difficult, aspect of my costume is for sure that amount of handstitching that goes into it. Crude, contrasted handstitched seams are very typical for the witcher style and used on every part of my outfits.
The dedication pays off however with how well-made the costume looks and everything has a very real feeling to it, it doesn't feel like a costume but something, that someone would actually wear.
Which is why we love it so much!
Massive kudos and shout-outs to Marie Fankhänel for letting us highlight it!
A Singer of Grace
While not tied directly to the costume, Marie also sings and makes songs for her bard to regale while she is out and about. These wonderful melodies are both enchanting and bonechilling in equal measure and as Marie puts it, she does "(...) not like playing the "standard" medieval tavern songs, but write my own ones set in the witcher Universe, alter texts of lesser known songs or play some that are not usually heard."
Check out her youtube channel and next time you are at a larp and you see a blue plumed feather it might just be Katarzyna.
We hope you enjoyed this edition of #larperspotlight If you want to be featured like this, you can send a message to us via facebook on epicarmoury.
Hannah Gritsch Photo and Design
The wirtcher squad