Pandora Violet Phoenix adores Christmas — the minimalism, the quiet solitude, the immense sense of relief.
Of course, that's not everyone's idea of the holidays, but Phoenix is an entrepreneur, which means the weeks leading up to her December 25 are a grueling churn of hand-made stockings. But the day of?
"I breathe a sigh of relief and pride in accomplishment at getting all packages out and delivered to clients," Phoenix tells SYFY WIRE. "I sleep 'til noon, order Chinese, and curl up with my cat and a good book all day. It's blissful!"
Phoenix, 32, learned to sew as a child by watching her mother, and now she sells stockings, dresses, potholders, and more, all inspired by geeky movies and TV shows. Phoenix says her holiday stockings are her own vision, and though they sell like hotcakes, they don't reflect the way she decorates her own home. She's a big-time geek, but prefers if her fandom-related collections are functional.
"I am a minimalist," she says. "I don't decorate for any time of year. It's one of the reasons I make my fandom aprons, reusable shopping bags, potholders, etc. Because I can have my fandom cosplay but have a useful item in the kitchen."
Can you describe the process of making a typical stocking?
During the holiday season, I make stockings as they are ordered but, during the slow season to maximize my time/fabric I tend to make five at a time because it's the best way to use every possible inch of the width of a bolt of fabric.
For my oldest designs, it can be as low as three hours due to muscle memory, but most pieces take between 6 and 8 hours. During Con season when I'm building inventory a full set of all the sizes of one design takes me five days at 8 to 10 hours of work a day.
How long have you been making your geeky stockings?
My first stocking was a custom order in 2013 by a neighboring small business that exploded into more due to custom commissions. If I like a commission, I add it to my shop.
Which geeky movies/TV/comics/video games inspire you the most?
As a black, queer, female on the autistic scale with chronic social anxiety and depression, I am very much an introvert and with how much time I spend in my studio working, I listen to a lot of audiobooks and occasionally marathon a TV show while I work. I'm always eager to find more fringe fandoms, as there is more representation in them, so I am always on the lookout for something new or new to me. I enjoy experiencing new things and new ideas.
What about figures in geek media?
[I admire] Nyota Uhura. There is so little black representation in nerd/geek culture that I immediately gravitated to her in Star Trek: The Original Series.
After finding out Nichelle Nichols almost quit due to harassment on set/from fans and only stayed because Martin Luther King, [Jr.] supported her was so shocking but also made me believe everyone and anyone deserves to be able to work, live, and express themselves however they see fit.