Kate, on the right, in 2003.
I first met Kate in 2003. We were both doing Pastimes’ Robin Hood Faire for the first time, and Kate was probably about 15 years old. I didn’t get to know her very well during that show, in part because she was incredibly shy. It wasn’t until that winter, when she confessed her love for Fight Club and Chuck Palahniuk during a break in a stage combat workshop that we all got a peek at the very cool kid lurking beneath the quiet surface.
Back in those days, the Pastimes shows didn’t have an actual costume designer. Costumes tended to be pulled at the last minute, and while this worked well enough, it was a process that was less than ideal.
Kate in her Eowyn dress, taking a Norman guard to task.
In 2004, I joined the staff as their costume designer, and that year’s Robin Hood Faire was the first one I had a hand in. It was also when I first became aware that Kate was also a budding seamstress. She brought to me a dress based on Lord of the Rings‘ Eowyn, and asked if it would work for her character in the show, and I gave it my approval.
After this, I have to admit, my timeline gets a little blurry. We became good friends, and the Pastimes shows got larger and more ambitious. I started Storied Threads, and found myself, and my time, pulled in more and more directions. And Kate became my assistant costume designer for the Salem Pirate Faire. She took on a lot of alterations and construction jobs, and started pulling costumes and doing fittings when I couldn’t make a rehearsal.
Redemption Wall's wedding dress
In 2008, when she created an intentionally wonderfully awful wedding dress out of a $10 ’80s vintage dress, a handful of dingy lace curtains, and a ton of pink ribbon, I knew we were a match made in heaven.
It wasn’t long after this that I started hiring Kate to make some of the more basic Storied Threads stock. Pirate sashes. Hester hats and Alan a Dale hats. She started coming down to the studio when we were both free, and rooting around in the scrap fabric bin finding the pieces that would work together that I’d forgotten all about. And by now, she’s a full-on member of Storied Threads, taking on not only stock but some of the commissioned pieces. Every time she comes to the studio she learns to make something new, and I send her home with a giant duffell bag full of fabric, patterns, and trim. She’s become my preferred co-worker in the booth at shows as well — it’s wonderful to have somebody there who can talk to the customers about how things work and what we can make just about as well as I can, and who understands the pieces we sell as well as I do.
Kate and I (and Beatrix, of course) at CTRF in spring 2011
Storied Threads has grown. And while I’m still (on paper, at least) a one-woman show, it’s become more than one person can handle. If it weren’t for Kate, I’m pretty sure my head would explode, and brains can be a bear to get out of fabric without staining.
Sometimes, I worry that I don’t express to her well enough how valuable she is to me, as a friend, and as a part of this budding business. So, I’m taking the opportunity now to write this blog post, because nothing says thank you more than embarrassing amounts of public praise.
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