The Hugo Awards are science fiction’s equivalent of the Oscars, but they aren’t just for books and movies. In addition to the Doctor Who episode “Fugitive of the Judoon,” and Rebecca Roanhorse’s novel Black Sun, one of the nominees is tiara-maker Sara Felix.
The Concellation 2021 group on Facebook is “the con that never ends”, a tongue-in-cheek rolling discussion of a sci-fi fandom convention that was “cancelled before it was even announced,” born of Fandom’s collective frustration with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you visit the group, then you’ve probably heard of Sara Felix and Tiara Tuesday. Ms. Felix has been making and giving away tiaras on Concellation. If you’re a member of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, you’ve certainly heard of her. She’s currently ASFA president. She is a finalist for both the Hugo Award and the Chesley Award this year, and was a Chesley nominee last year. This is her third time as a Hugo nominee.
“I have been making hats and other headpieces for as long as I remember, and for Dublin 2019 I bought some cheap tiaras and took them apart, aged them and embellished them. My oldest daughter would get a small hat for every holiday when she was young, a turkey hat for thanksgiving, a valentine’s day heart shaped fascinator… etc. So I had a bit of a history with tiaras in my craft past.
“I started making tiaras regularly in April of 2020 after losing my creative spark with the pandemic and everyone being home. I needed something that would be a quick win that made me feel like I was accomplishing something. I had seen in a group on Facebook where people were talking about Tiara Tuesdays and that interested me. But being a crafter I didn’t want to buy a tiara that I wore week after week, I wanted something a bit more unique and so I started making them. At first they were simple, pipe cleaners, craft butterflies that were layered on other headpieces I had in the craftroom. Then as the pandemic went along they got more elaborate. I started buying more pendants to use, swarovski crystals, rocks and other focal points. My craft stash moved away from all jewelry related items to things I could wire on a metal headband.
“I have made over 50 tiaras since I started, one a week, sometimes more. Last year I made a tiara for the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon bid for New Zealand. I have received materials to make tiaras with from friends and businesses. People tell me every week that it is one of the highlights of the pandemic for them. I didn’t think it would grow as big as it has, but it is one of my highlights as well.
“And because people were sad they didn’t have their own tiara, I started a weekly giveaway as well. Sometimes as many as 1500 people enter the giveaways and we are also at over 50 tiaras that have been given out.”
In addition to the tiaras for which she is famous, Sara Felix also makes pins, scarves, purses, and COVID masks. She designed the Hugo Award base in 2016 and co-designed the 2018 Hugo base with Vincent Villafranca. In 2018 she also designed the 2018 WSFS Young Adult Award. Her art can be seen and purchased at science fiction conventions throughout the United States.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.