About the Emporium contributors

About Suzette L. Davidson,  proprietor, artist and costume enthusiast

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Suzette started costume-making in high school, for Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games and dramatic productions. She studied costume design and construction at the University of Maine before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. When the first of the “Lord of the Rings” films was released in 2001, some friends decided to revive the old D&D games. She designed Halloween costumes straight from Tolkien’s Shire and then Victorian-style outfits that called for an entirely different level of seamstress skills. Friends attending costume balls and the Dickens Faire enlisted Davidson to create their outfits. A history major at Mills College who had always enjoyed dressing up in vintage outfits, she was “drawn to designs heavy on detail and historical accuracy,” going online to find dress patterns from other eras. Davidson, who still uses her grandmother’s old Singer, finds sewing “a very comforting, reflective process.” She can be completely obsessed with researching, sewing, and finding the perfect fabric for a given project, sometimes re-making/re-cutting a costume out of lucky finds at thrift shops, yard sales and trades fabric and skills with other costumers from the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild. Costume-making provides Davidson with a creative and intellectual outlet. She enjoys delving into the history of fashion and strives for authenticity in her creations. Malvena Pearl’s Emporium was located in Oakland, California. It has now relocated to China, Maine. Suzette hopes that one day the California town of Oakland will become a “sister city” of Oakland, Maine, the home of many of her childhood friends and relations.