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Archive for October, 2012

Closing weekend for CTRF!

This weekend, the 27th and 28th of October, is the closing weekend for The Connecticut Renaissance Faire.  As usual, I have mixed feelings about the show ending. On the one hand, I am exhausted right now, and really can’t wait for Monday, so I can sleep in and stay in my PJs all day and begin my Marvel Movie Marathon with my husband.  On the other hand, this faire is so damn much fun, and there are so many people I only see there, that I don’t want it to end at all!

With that in mind, this blog post is mostly going to devolve into a picture gallery of all the amazing things that are going on or that I’ve done at this show. I suspect that by the time you’re done looking at them, you’ll all be making plans to come visit, see all the amazing acts, shop in all the awesome shops, and stop by Storied Threads to congratulate me — because this weekend also marks the beginning of my time as full time self-employment!

The scenario show this year is The Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which means we get not only the medieval Arthurian story, but also a great place to play with anachronisms.  Hank Morgan has been magically transported to medieval England from the 1930s, and shenanigans, of course, ensue.

Sir Dinadin faces off with Hank Morgan.
Photo by Nancy Lee Brown.

Grand melee!
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

Hank Morgan sporting one of our Police Call Box patches on his TARDIS-blue bowler.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

This Saturday is also the final Halloween Knights show, where the faire is open until 9:00, and in the evening the cast all turns into zombies. Several acts put on special shows after the normal 6:00 close, there’s a fire joust, and the zombie dance, and it’s all generally a lot of fun. And this will be your last chance to see it until next fall!

Zombie Cinderella and Zombie Snow White.
Photo by Eric Tetreult.

There are also a bunch of great independent acts to see. My neighbors this year have been The Lost Boys and the Tortuga Twins, both performing right across the road from me, and they’ve been great — I enjoy both of their shows, and they’re all just really nice guys, too. In addition, we also have the Vixens en Garde, Commedia Mania, Circus Stella, and I don’t even know how many more!

The Lost Boys performing at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.
Photo by Nancy Lee Brown.

The Torguga Twins, Lucio, Salvador, and Dante, modeling our mustaches on a stick.
Photo by Veronica Bailey.

Commedia Mania performs “Cinderella”.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

And then, of course, there’s the pure fun I have with people there. Dressing as Loki during the Halloween Knights and taking amazing pictures with friends. Entertaining ourselves before the gates open. The kind of fun that is impossible to re-create anywhere else, and which I know I’ll miss when the show ends.

Human Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

From the “Cinderella Meets Loki” photo shoot with Laura Walls as Cinderella.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

Mike as Death during the Halloween Knights, unhappy about my “Not Today” patch.
Photo by Veronica Bailey.

Hanging out with Beatrix.
Photo by Lauren Dubois.

Oh! And speaking of Beatrix — this weekend is Pet Weekend at the faire! That’s right, not only can you come and enjoy the show, but you can bring your dog or cat or lizard or whatever your pet is with you!

And this is just a small sample of all the great stuff you’ll find at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. Make sure to come visit, so you can see it all for yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember an earlier post I wrote about creative collaboration, wherein I teamed up with Ashley of Corsair’s Boutique to design her fabulous Doctor Cincher Skirt. It turns out, that was only the beginning. And in this second collaboration, we were much more ambitious, designing together not just a single garment, but an entire ensemble, which each of us built part of.

It started with Ashley wanting to make Avengers-themed cincher skirts, and while she knew she wanted to make one for Loki, the only thing she really wanted to put on it was the helm that I had designed for my patches and bags.  In the process of her asking if she could have a copy of the embroidery design to use for this purpose, we started talking about doing a Loki cincher skirt that was actually ankle-length, sweeping the ground, which I thought gave it some of the character’s dramatic flair. And then I found out that Ashley used to make these really cute cropped tailcoats. And I said, “Oh! You need to make the skirt in green, lined in black. And then make a tailcoat to go with it, in black lined in green, and edged in gold piping trim. And sell them as a set!”

And thus, the seeds were planted in both of our heads.  Ashley started pattern drafting for the skirt and tailcoat, we hunted down gold piping trim together, and I did a really terrible sketch to help her see how I envisioned the lapels of the jacket in pattern form to send to her when she had a mental block on them.  In the meantime, I started hunting down some pieces for the outfit that I knew could be shopped, like the high collared shirt that would be the base of it all. I also found a gold choker that — when squashed flat — became the perfect gold crescent Loki has on his chest.

And in the meantime, the whole outfit kept percolating in the back of my brain. I knew I needed to build a set of Loki horns, and had a vague idea of how that would happen. (They will get their own dedicated post later!) And one morning I woke up and realized that I needed to make an empire bodice like the one I wear with my Doctor cincher to wear under the jacket — that the more layers this outfit had, the better the overall effect would be, and the closer it would come to simulating the effect (if not the actual design) of the costume seen in The Avengers.

So, I ordered more gold piping trim, and started working on the horned hat while I waited for the pieces from Ashley to come in.  I needed to wait until I had those on hand before I’d be able to shop fabrics for the bodice, so that they’d be sure to match in color.

And then this thing happened, that at first seemed bad, but turned out to be serendipitous.  Somewhere along the line, there was a bad measurement. Not sure if it was mine or Ashley’s, but when the Loki skirt came in, it only came down to about mid-calf, not my ankles. Which quite changed the dramatic, sweeping lines we’d both envisioned for the ensemble.  So, I shoved that fact into the back of my head with the rest of the thoughts about the outfit, and let it sit there in my subconscious for a while. And I kept coming back to that thought about the layers. So when I went fabric shopping, I bought more green and black than I’d originally planned, and added a second skirt — one that came to my ankles, but simply swept along in the back — black lined in green, to match the jacket, with the same flat gold trim along the hem.

This last picture is purely for fun. With Rachel Prue, who came dressed as the Tenth Doctor for Time Travelers’ Weekend.

Now there was only one crucial piece missing — a staff. We all know the importance of accessorizing, and in this case what I needed was the perfect prop. The trouble is, nobody makes a Loki scepter.  Well! Nobody makes a Loki scepter that falls within my budget. There’s this gorgeous one, but yowza! Unless y’all feel like chipping in to buy me a Christmas present, there’s no way I’ll ever own that. So I started, instead, asking around among my friends, and it turned out that Shane’s father frequently does custom gun mounts — so they got together, started with a rifle stock since the shape is not dissimilar from the end of Loki’s scepter, and made me one carved of wood.

The end result of it all?  A fantastic Avengers-inspired Lady Loki costume that I plan to wear at every appropriate opportunity!

All pictures in this post courtesy of Lauren Dubois.

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Professional Courtesy

Professional courtesy is a very important thing to me.  Sometimes I see something made by another clothing vendor that I love, and I know that — with a little effort — I could recreate the look. But I never do.  These vendors are just like me, artists putting a lot of time and effort into their designs, and trying to make a living, and if I really love it, I’m much better off buying from them, I think. Which is why I own so many pieces by Corsair’s Boutique, Silver Thistle Frazzled Knot, Potted Fox, and many others.

Me, modeling Legendary Leathercrafts mustache-on-a-stick.

This summer, I attended the New England Pirate Faire as a patron, and spent some time hanging out with my friend Mike, who runs Legendary Leathercrafts. They mostly do amazing leather masks, as well as some journals, Monster Books of Monsters, and leather mustaches on a stick.

I had so much fun with their mustaches that I new I wanted to do my own, in my own Storied Threads way, creating it in a patch style. But I also knew I didn’t want to steal an idea from Mike. So I asked him, “Would it be cool if I did mustaches of my own?” And he replied “You totally should!”

So, I did, and my mustaches made their debut at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire this weekend. Thanks to a shady weather forecast, things were a bit slow, so to spice up our Sunday a bit, we started taking pictures of everybody we knew (and some people we didn’t) wearing a mustache, and yesterday, I put them up on Facebook in their own photo album.

Kate and I, wearing Storied Threads mustaches.

Later that afternoon, I saw a sort of vague Facebook post from Mike that mentioned frustration over somebody taking his idea, running with it, and not giving him any credit. The post has since been removed, but when I saw it, I panicked.  Had I stepped on my friend’s toes? Had I mis-remembered our conversation at NEPF? I immediately wrote to him, asking if the post had referred to me, expressing dismay if I had done something wrong. And then sat around with my stomach in knots for the rest of the afternoon.

As it turns out, the post did NOT refer to me — although I seem to have not been the only one who thought it might, which is why he removed it.  I also learned that when I talked to Mike about mustaches, I was apparently not clear about my notion to put them on sticks — he thought only that I’d be doing them as patches. Even with that, though, his main concern is that down the road, people will think HE took the idea from ME — a not entirely invalid fear, only because (as he said) Storied Threads has a larger customer base than Legendary Leathercrafts does.  Happily, I know that I did talk up his shop at CTRF this weekend, telling people how I’d been inspired by them.  I also made sure that Mike knows I have no intention of selling my mustaches at any event we both happen to be working. Even if mine are a different style, and even if I do have his blessing on them, they were his first. And I won’t put myself in direct competition like that — that would just be disrespectful.

So, all’s well that ends well. But I do feel like I learned an important lesson about making sure conversations about things like this are VERY clear, with no ambiguity.  Mike and I left NEPF with slightly different impressions of what I intended to do, and it very nearly led to hard feelings in a friendship, and hard feelings between businesses. And I’d rather avoid both of those things.

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