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40k Cosplay Interview: The Works of Paige Gardner

5 Minute Read
Aug 22 2019
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We’re diving deep into the records of the Inquisition this week, peeking behind the veil at the creative mind that dreamt of the awe-inspiring Inquisitor Oriza Cosplay: Paige Gardner of CostumeArt. Join us, for the Glory of the Emperor!

The weak will always be led by the strong. Where the strong see purpose and act, the weak follow; where the strong cry out against fate, the weak bow their heads and succumb. There are many who are weak; and many are their temptations. Despise the weak for they shall flock to the call of the Daemon and the Renegade. Pity them not and scorn their cries of innocence – it is better that one hundred innocently fall before the wrath of the Emperor than one kneels before the Daemon.“-The First Book of Indoctrinations

Paige Gardner of CostumeArt

I recently discovered an artist with an approach to Inquisition cosplay completely unique to those I have seen in the past. Her work seamlessly blends the whimsical and the gruesome, the captivating and enthralling. She blends elements of horror and high fashion, using repurposed materials to bring depth to her work. I’m particularly fascinated with the stained glass accents she blends into her Inquisition cosplays. I hope you love her work as much as I do, and enjoy getting to know the woman behing the Inquisitor!
 Image Credit Dim Horizon Studio

How did you get your start in cosplay? How long have you been creating your projects? What inspires you to work in the cosplay realm?

My journey into cosplay began when  I lost a bet with my oldest son. I paid him off with a trip to Dragon Con for both of us in 2007. Neither of us was prepared for what followed. Stepping off the train platform and into a sea of costumes for the first time, we were completely overwhelmed. We were surrounded by our favorite fandoms brought to life through cosplay. That weekend ignited a drive in both of us to explore our geek interests through costuming. We returned the following year, he in a full-on Alien costume, and I with my first steampunk build. The absolutely incomparable experience of physically inhabiting your fandom or geek interest grabbed me especially hard and has not let go since.

Image Credit Cubster Cosplay Photography

What is your strongest construction aspect?

Honestly, building with salvaged objects feels like my strongest construction skill. Because I don’t have the typical cosplayer’s skill set (sewing, working with foam, etc.) I’m constantly flexing my eye to find existing objects that can fit into a project vision. Over time, I think I’ve cultivated a strong sense of what shapes work on my body, and ways that they can become wearable. Finding unconventional methods (zip ties, keyrings, staples) to hang it all together is partnered with that whole repurposing ethic.

Image Credit Dim Horizon Studio


What is your favorite type of cosplay work to do?

I really like imagining cosplay extracted from literary sources (comics, graphics, novels, etc.). Literature as source material allows a greater latitude from me to explore costuming in ways that suit my resources and limited skill set. While most of my cosplay is original work, it’s usually heavily informed by literary inspiration. Even the steampunk-flavored builds emerged from sources like Dan Abnett’s Warhammer 40k Inquisitor Eisenhorn novels and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower books.

Image Credit Conography

What are your favorite completed projects, or your most popular?

Warhammer-inspired “Abbey” was one of my absolute favorite costumes to craft and to wear. Combining the religious iconography, lush details, and armored elements, ‘Abbey’ struck just the right balance between worship and war. With illuminated stained glass armor, gothic textures, and rich color, this project drew more eyes that I expected. Images of and GIFs of ‘Abbey’ quickly spread through most social mediums, and I was kind of overwhelmed by the positive response. It’s probably the most recognizable project in my portfolio.


Image Credit Jenn Yates of Epbot

What material is your favorite to work with?

I love finding ornate plastic decor and crusty plastic toys that can be reworked into costuming. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and easy to cut and repaint into shapes and hues that fit my project needs. When I need to create an original shape or framework, I’ve enjoyed working with TerraFlex (thermoplastic sheets).

Image Credit Cracatus Pot

What are your favorite fandoms? Favorite characters?

My favorite fandoms are mostly literature-inspired. Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ books, Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’, Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’, and Dan Abnett’s ‘Eisenhorn Trilogy offer beautiful landscapes and rich character/classes that can be explored through cosplay’. Literature allows me greater freedom to express through costuming my love for the worlds, without firm visual templates that demand conformity.

Image Credit Dim Horizon Studio


What kind of games do you play? Videogames? Tabletop? Wargames?

I’ve only played a few tabletop games over the years. My sons play a rich variety of videogames as well as WH40K and invite me to look over their shoulders. I’m mostly a sideline fan of the real MVPs.

Image Credit Cubster Cosplay Photography

What conventions do you attend? Have you guested/spoken on panels/competed in contests?

I’ve had the honor of being a Guest or Attending Professional at many conventions in the US and Canada over the past decade. I’ve guested and presented cosplay-related panels at MomoCon, Dragon Con, Anime North, and San Diego Comic-Con International, as well as a host of other specialized conventions coast-to-coast. While I did enter a few contests years ago, I stepped out of the competition rings once I began serving events as a costuming judge.

What are your social media/website links? Where can we find you?

-CostumeArt Facebook:

-My Instagram @Bhampaige includes costume work AND images of my excellent ugly dog:


-For a detailed exposition of Cosplay builds and official photography, my website offers a deeper dive into my costume and prop projects:


~Join us next week for more Cosplay Coverage~

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Author: Jennifer Larsen
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