How becoming a crafter destroys Renaissance festivals

I have been writing this post in my head all day, and every time I wrote it in there, the title of this post was “Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”, but I thought it might be a missed reference. I’ve seen the Avengers 4 times now in theaters, and it’ll be on my doorstep on September 25th when it’s released on Blu-ray and DVD (really, they should pay more the advertising), so I’ve got Robert Downey Jr on the brain.

Among others. I went to see Lawless on Friday, and while the feel of the movie was a little rapey, Tom Hardy was a good distraction.

But I digress…a lot.

Eric and I drove two hours to Holly, MI to enjoy the Renaissance Festival on Saturday, and we had a brilliant time. Neither of us had been to one in a few years; we arrived right about 1pm and didn’t leave until they were closing at 7pm.

My earliest memories of Renaissance festivals spring from Georgia, when my mom was still writing for newspapers, and she got free tickets from a performer friend. I would bring a friend along, and we would get our hair braided, eat and drink happily oblivious to the cost of the food, and we would dream of wearing the fancy dresses. One year I even got a flower headpiece and matching wand. I felt like a real princess.

When I got older and starting earning my own money, I ate less and still dreamed about the fancy costumes. I might buy a piece here or there, but I never had money for an entire costume. One year, I met a guy that I would end up dating for a month after impressing him with knife-throwing skills. It was a magical time. Oddly, I rarely spent a lot of time at the shows because, as a young woman with other young women, we usually spent most of our time dreaming about the clothes and ogling the scantily clad men.

All of this in mind, I had Eric stop at the bank on the way to the festival on Saturday, so that I could take out a largish sum of money. My plan was to buy a new corset.

We arrived and made a beeline to the turkey legs. Once satiated, we wandered idly for a while, settling in to watch the falconry show, then wandering some more, drank some mead, watched the joust, marveled that there was a tattoo parlor set up in a trailer there, and wandered and watched some more shows.

We stopped at a number of vendors, many of them leather workers because once there, I thought it would be much more fun to get some armor. Also I don’t know how to work with leather.

Here we get to the point: I bought one item that wasn’t food on Saturday, and that was a pair of battle axe earrings. I couldn’t bring myself to spend money on anything made with cloth because I just kept thinking, “I could make this.”

Granted, I’ve not made anything nearly so complicated, and I realize it would take a lot of practice on my part. But the fact is, I have a sewing machine and the general skills to make everything that they were selling. And knowing that made it impossible for me to buy a damn thing.

I feel bad for the people that travel to these shows because, really, they bring in a lot of money for those folks. But I also felt very strange looking at dresses that were only two or three panels. I just could not justify spending the money.

I had a great time. Eric did, too. We laughed and heckled the bad knights and just generally enjoyed the atmosphere. Still, the part of me that would be in awe of the clothing was a little disappointed that my practical side kept chiding it.

The good news, though, is that it provided some much needed inspiration, which I obviously had been lacking lately. I have one project I’m working on now, but I hope to pick up some others soon. Along with some sleep.

Published by Polymath @ The Safin Hold

Hi. I live in Michigan, but I'm from Georgia, Pennsylvania, Seattle, and Arkansas (no, not an Army brat). I live with my husband and our cats, Cirilla and Dandelion. I'm a bonafide Salesforce Admin & Marketo Certified Expert. I like to craft. I like to cook. I like to eat and drink. I like to laugh. I like comic books and video games and sci-fi. I like a whole lot of things, and chances are, I will like you! I've also been a lot of things, like a 9-1-1 dispatcher, a teacher, and for a while I wrote obituaries. Right now I am a Salesforce Consultant! Who knew? Friends?

4 thoughts on “How becoming a crafter destroys Renaissance festivals

  1. Sammy, Sammy, Sammy… you have “arrived”! The “I could make that” syndrome is a bane to all of us life-long crafters, and it will only get worse as you get older and become more accomplished. Next you’ll be in the “the one I made in (fill in year) was much better than this!” rank.
    Look for period correct “costume” patterns by a company called Folkwear, and you can also find some lovely patterns through the James Townsend and Sons catalog company (for reenactors). There are also some really cool web sites I have to send you in a separate email.
    Love you!

  2. Any essay that starts with the Avengers, introduces the word ‘rapey’ and involves the consumption of huge turkey legs deserves a sequel.

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