Sixteen-year-old Deanna Biesemeyer lives a furry lifestyle. From her hobby, to her business, to her friends, most everything is connected in some way to furry fandom.
Furries, Biesemeyer explained, are people interested in anthropomorphism — that is giving animals characteristics and personalities of a human. It is kind of like your favorite team mascot, Garfield or the popular Japanese anime cartoons.
Furries like Biesemeyer, choose to express their love of animals or favorite anime character by dressing up similar to them and adopting their personality or creating a unique blend of their own personality and the animal’s.
Biesemeyer said she has always loved animals (she has two cats and several dogs) and started dressing up like them as a child for fun.
She created her first “fursuit” or costume for Halloween several years ago because “I wanted to do something different.” Biesemeyer recreated her favorite anime character from the anime Naruto.
Her mother Barbara lent her a sewing machine, showed her how to thread the needle and Biesemeyer went to work. Using duct tape, wire and fabric, the character was roughly created.
Her first attempt at costume making turned out better than expected and was a hit with friends and at a furry convention.
Excited to make more costumes, Biesemeyer taught herself to sew more technical and intricate costumes.
Enter Biesemeyer’s Payson home and it does not take long to see that this hobby has infiltrated every area of Biesemeyer’s life, and her family’s.
Bits of faux fur lead a trail up the steps to her front door. Step inside and the fur trails down a spiral staircase to a lower level where Biesemeyer’s workshop is set up in her mother’s former craft room.
The bitty workshop is filled with faux fur of all colors, textures and sizes, costumes in varying states of completion, paints, sketches, one working sewing machine and two broken ones.
On top of creating her own furries, Biesemeyer makes and sells costumes to other furry fans around the world, which she meets through the Internet and at conferences.
Recently, Biesemeyer donated her services to create Woody, the Payson Area Food Drive’s official mascot, which is used at events around town to collect donations.
She is also working on completing four new furries. Last weekend, she wore some of her newer creations at the Further Confusion Conference in San Jose, Calif. The event is one of the world’s largest anthropomorphic conventions with 2,400 attendees.
“I get more business this way,” she said of the conferences.
When she gets an order, Biesemeyer first finds out what type of furry a customer wants, for example, a recent costume was a combination of a German shepherd and husky made with blue fur.
Once Biesemeyer has an idea for the costume, she sketches a picture of it and gets customers measurements by having them wrap themselves in duct tape, which gives her a life-size duct tape dummy.
From this, Biesemeyer starts the costume using various furs. She carves the head out of foam and adds a mouth, nose and eyes.
The costumes are not cheap and usually run around $1,000 to $2,000, and take several weeks to complete.
Besides selling furry suits, Biesemeyer trades with other furry commissioners around the country.
Ultimately, Biesemeyer wants to become a horse trainer and create costumes on the side. She would also like to write and illustrate her own comic book and is interested in animation.
“I have a lot on my plate,” she joked.
To see more of Biesemeyer’s work, visit www.freewebs.