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OTW Guest Post: Cynthia and Tina Mendenhall

Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.

Cynthia Mendenhall is an avid crafter, especially interested in cross stitch. She started Taylor and Cromwell a few years ago and loves creating work that people can relate to and be engaged with. In her free time she helps run a cat and small animal rescue. Tina Mendenhall joined Taylor and Cromwell after its creation and does mostly quotes and graphic work. Outside of that she helps run an animal rescue, writes, and is working on becoming a cryptoid. Today, Tina and Cynthia talk about fannish crafting.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

Tina: I was always really into things like Star Wars and Batman when I was growing up, but for the most part I didn’t really know about fandoms until high school. The things I was into either my friends also liked or I was alone in them. In middle school a friend started getting into the Star Wars fandom, but I was mostly only connected to it through her. In high school a different friend introduced me to Fanfiction.net to show me Full Metal Alchemist fanfiction and a lot of my friends started drawing fan art. I hung out on LiveJournal a lot in different fandoms, but never really said or did anything besides some super poorly drawn fan art. I didn’t get really into creating my own fan art until I was in college and learned to knit to make a Doctor Who scarf.

Cynthia: I never really thought about fandom and fanworks before a couple of years ago, even when I first started making patterns (starting with one of the Hamilton ones). I never really considered it a fandom thing, just a thing I liked and wanted to stitch for Tina. We have a roommate that is in a lot of fandoms and talks about hers pretty often, so I knew the concept I guess at that point, but didn’t consider myself part of any (it seemed like it was something that younger people considered more than people my age).

A couple of years ago it started to click to me that technically I was in the fandoms for things that I really enjoyed. Fanworks were never something I actively thought about — when you enjoy something you like seeing items that remind you of it, and you work it into what you’re doing. You see this come out in all sorts of places, but the first thing that pops to mind is that often writers will write into their characters things that they enjoy (whether it be fandoms/hobbies or just everyday preferences). So if you’re really into something like musicals (or anything else) you’re going to want to collect musical items, or in crafters/artists/fanfic writers’ cases, you’ll want to create musical things. That just has always made sense to me.

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A director's chair with the OTW logo on it and the words OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: armoredsuperheavy

Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.

ArmoredSuperHeavy is an amateur archivist of queer fiction and erotica. They have hand published 100 fanfic projects over the past two years. Their bookbinding can be found on Tumblr, writings on Dreamwidth. Today, ArmoredSuperHeavy talks about bookbinding and their fandom experiences.

How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?

While I spontaneously wrote a couple of self-insert fics earlier, I first discovered fandom and fanfic as a thing other people did in the late 90s, the era of web rings. I was a teenager.

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OTW Guest Post

OTW Guest Post: TyphoidMeri

From time to time, the OTW will be hosting guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

TyphoidMeri, an expat American, lives in Derbyshire, England with her very patient husband, teenage son, a bored house cat, and an overly nosy sausage dog. You can see her art and doll creations on her Instagram. Today, Meri talks about her fandom history and the fanworks she creates.

How did you first get into fandom and fanworks?

The very first bit of fanfiction I wrote was when I was ten or so, of course I didn’t know that was what I was doing when I sat down to write an alternative ending to a series of books I’d just finished reading. The book was pretty formulaic stuff, a kid being transported to another world and becoming more than what she was on earth, but in the end she returned home after her series of adventures was complete. I hated it. I was angry with canon, as so many of us grow to be, so I wrote a story to make things better. I wrote fixit fic before I knew what that was, or what fandom was.

It wasn’t until high school that I found some nerdy friends who were into some of the same shows as me, namely Star Trek: the Next Generation, Highlander the Series, and The X-Files. But it wasn’t until I went to university, with its free access to the internet, that I fully dipped my toes into the waters of fandom and fanworks. I found some lifelong friends and my future husband.

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