Costume play, or “cosplay” as it is known, is the art of crafting costumes typically representing literary, cinematic or pop culture characters. The motivations behind this hobby vary wildly, from honing the precision of the crafting itself, to stage for dramatic performance, to wanting to be in someone else’s shoes for a while. I personally focus on creating costumes that represent various characters as accurately to the original artist’s design as possible. I made my foray into the hobby after attending a Maker’s Faire about ten years ago.
Most cosplay costumes are made of EVA foam, the lightweight, high-density foam typically found in floor mats. This medium is fairly inexpensive and shapeable by cutting, heat bending, and sanding. It can also be prepared in such a way that it can be painted, yet still flexible. This allows the costume to look as if it is made out of other materials, even metal, and still be safe and wearable.
After hundreds of hours working with foam, I have continually seen how the maker can shape it to represent whatever he desires. This poem reflects on this hobby’s parallels with our Maker’s desire to fashion His forgiven children into ambassadors of His love and kingdom.
Forgiveness in the Foam
Pieces in a bin
Others rolled thin
A bit contractible
What they lack in rigidity
Upholds my creativity
And lets them fulfill their higher purpose
Though patched and flawed
Marks narrow or broad
The patterns now in position
Bonded in new dimensions
Leave behind their state most superfluous
And as the Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate
Begins to transform in my hands
What once was in a broken state
Now resembles those of greater lands
The stories come to life
Before me now I see
That the made-anew portray
What they were meant to be
I’m reminded of the way
That the Father holds the least
With care He shapes and forms
To represent past heav’nly seas
And I build
and see forgiveness in the foam
Dwayne Sheridan served in full-time ministry for twenty years, primarily as a youth pastor. His creative costuming has received various awards and was featured at the Season One Premiere of Andrew Peterson’s The Wingfeather Saga animated series. He and his family enjoy hosting musicians at their house show venue Bard & Bow in Owasso, OK. He recently completed his first book of lyrical poetry titled Muted Explanations: Lyrics of Scripture and Feelings From the Outskirts of Venn (2023). He currently works as the Community Engagement and Education Manager at the Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Dwayne Sheridan, “Forgiveness in the Foam,” An Unexpected Journal: Leisure 6, no. 3. (Fall 2023), 215-217.