We all know what is happening in the world right now. If you don’t, I am not sure what rock or island you have been on, but may I join you?
Seriously, this has been a hard year all around. Children sent home from school to learn at home which previously had been a place where they could chill; teachers trying to figure out how to guide students and parents through the material while trying to learn Zoom and an online system for teachers and students (and some missing hugs and high fives); employees sent home to try and figure out how to do their jobs remotely, navigate Zoom, remember to wear pants; people suddenly without jobs and having to navigate unemployment sites; , performers without a stage or a venue to shine in; dogs and cats trying to figure out why the human is still here (ok, maybe just the cats); and debating which masks is the best protection or finding toilet paper (seriously people! How much do you need?). Whatever it is, it is scary and uncomfortable.
Where do I fall? I was lucky. I teach so I continued to teach while learning how to do it online. I teach adult education. Easier? Not really. We’re all navigating it together. However, I am still an artist. And most of my income comes from the sales of my leather goods. Because I teach, I can’t get unemployment to make up the loss of income from my lack of sales. Because I have an income from another source, I don’t qualify for many of those programs out there for artists and small business owners.
I’ll admit, when this started, I thought it would get under control quickly. People are smart. They will listen. I watched my craft shows and festivals cancel one after another. First my show in April that is my kickoff for the year. Then May’s 3 shows. Then June. Then July. One of my venues tried to offer later dates for the cancelled shows, but that canceled with one week notice. I have watched my friends drive across country to a venue because they were under the impression it would open, only to have the county say no; you cannot open safely.
As an artist, I have been depressed. I honestly have had no desire for over 3 months to work on product. No desire to create. I don’t want to spend money in the hopes that a venue will open. I am scared to spend it because what if it doesn’t. And how do I pay to get there if it does? How to I feed myself when I am miles from home and staying at a campground or hotel? How do I pay for gas? How do I pay the people who come with me because they too need to earn an income? See, fear and worry because of Covid. Fear and worry because this shouldn’t have lasted this long. Fear and worry because adults cannot listen and are so centered on their needs and wants, they forget the bigger picture. They forget it starts with one. One person needs to follow the rules and show others they accept the rules. The next person needs to learn from that first. Then the next. Think of that old tale of “Tell a friend, you’ll tell the world.” Unfortunately, one person decided it didn’t work for himself. That one person decided it was fake or a personal violation to think of others. So a different line of “tell a friend” started.
And the artist, performer, festival worker, barker, self-employed spirit, entertainer, singer, actor, too many to list are now in limbo. Some have managed to get assistance. Others are still waiting. Some have managed to find jobs and put themselves at risk so that a person can still get food. But they are still missing their passion.
As an artist, my passion is expressed in what I make and my joy comes from the love and appreciation I see when someone buys it. Right now, I have no joy in my art. I am having a hard time finding it. Only fear that if I do a festival, will that line that follows the rules be the person who sees joy in my art or will it be that line that line is there because they have been wronged by being asked to wear a mask, wash your hands, etc?
So what is the point of my ramblings, you ask? Think about what you are doing and saying when you let fear direct you. That teacher that you are yelling at because they think online learning should continue- they’re scared that your child will not wear a mask or wash his/her hands, and infect them and they in turn infect their families and so forth. That person who is reminding you to wear a mask when in the store is doing so because they are afraid of you infecting someone unintentionally and losing their job. That artist who is doing a live performance via Facebook needs you to watch it and tell them how much you appreciate it, and even throw a few bucks their way. A person sharing their latest creation on Instagram needs you express your joy in seeing that and maybe sharing it because someone out there will love it enough to buy it so that artist can work past the fear.
As an artist living in a pandemic I feel fear. I have been lucky that I haven’t gotten sick, but I have friends and family who have. And I have had friends who have passed due to Covid. As an artist living in a pandemic, I am trying to find my passion again. We’re all trying to find life again but we need to follow those rules for a reason. Let’s move pass the fear. The doubt. The misconceptions.
I miss hugs. I miss meeting new people. I miss my joy.
It’s hard. It’s depressing. It hurts. Shows are beginning cancelled. Norman, Dills, and NJRF. This is a huge hit to all vendors and performers not to mention the venues.
What can you do to help? Shop small. Share links to these businesses. Wash your hands. Stay home. We’re still creating and building product.
I’m going to hope that the second half of 2020 is better than the first 3 months have been. Stay safe everyone. – Elizabeth
Medieval Fair of Norman April 3-5 canc
Dills Celtic Festival April 18 canc
BrewFest May 9 rescheduled/canc
New Jersey Renaissance Faire weekends May 23-June 7 canc
Celtic Fling June 26-28 rescheduled Aug 22 canc
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire weekends Aug 8-Nov 4 rescheduled open Sept 5.
We have a few others that we are waiting on confirmation for. Hope to see you at one of them!
April 5-7 Norman Medieval Fair
April 13 Dill’s Tavern
May 11 Brewfest at Mt Hope
May-June New Jersey Renaissance Faire
June 21-23 Celtic Fling at Mt Hope
Aug-Oct Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
We are adding shows and will update as we confirm!
April 6-8 Norman Medieval Fair Norman, OK -We’re in our usual spot. Come visit us! Norman Medieval Fair
May 12 Brew Fest at Mt Hope Brew Fest at Mt. Hope
May 19-June 3 weekends New Jersey Renaissance Faire 9th Annual New Jersey Renaissance Faire
June 22-24 Celtic Fling at Mt Hope Kilts, music, food, and shopping!
August-October Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire PRF (my home show)
As I sit here looking at my show schedule (and anxiously wait for conformation of some of those shows), I look back at the last 15 years and how I have changed and grown. I wouldn’t be where I am, enjoying my love of creating, if it weren’t for two sets of people.
The customers: Every year I see some of the same faces come back to chat or show me how their purchases are surviving or bring a friend to introduce them to my products. I smile when I see a piece walk by that I made. I laugh when I am asked silly questions about how I make things (and sometimes grimace), but most of all, I have a sense of pride that theses people have a piece of my art. A pouch or belt may not seem like art, but we crafted it.
The staff (AKA minions): I have had people come and go over the years- some by their choice, others by mine, but I can honestly say that most have become friends and family to me. I love how we work with each other, support each other, and step up when the other is faltering. If it weren’t for my minion “family” my business would have died years ago when I had the first surgery on my hand let alone the recent neck surgery. So I smile every day knowing that they are more than just workers who show up and sell stuff. They care. They are my family.
So what’s in store for 2018? Changes. Some old, some new. Some good, some disappointing to to others. Stay tuned…
Spoutwood May Day Festival May 5-7, 2017
We’ll be in our usual spot of Frodo’s!
Brew Fest at Mt Hope May 13, 2017
The booth will be open with all kind’s of leather goodies!
New Jersey Renaissance Faire MAY 27, 28, AND JUNE 3, 4, 10, 11, 2017
King Arthur, Shakespeare, and Blackbeard? Only in Crossford!
Celtic Fling at Mt Hope June 24-25, 2017 with a Friday night concert
We’ll be open for the concert!
Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire weekends Aug 5- Oct 29, 2017
Our booth is located in Swashbuckler Grove
We will be vending with Beaded Chic at the Holiday Open House at Mt Hope Estate & Winery on Dec 3-4. Come check out some unique gift items, all handmade!