- I finally got up the gumption to write to this list, instead of just
lurk. My Lady & I are Christa & Jay Toser, currently from Fall
River, WI -- but most of our life has been in central Wisconsin.
We've always read fantasy/sci-fi type books, and got hooked on the
whole Ren Faire thing in 1986 at King Richard's Fair (which is now
the Bristol Renaissance Faire). We were returning from a Dr. Who
convention in Chicago, and one of our group suggested King
Richard's. We were hooked by the friendly people, and the full
contact jousting of the Hanlon Lee Action Theater. We made our first
garb, and attended six weekends that year.
The closest we could get to that sort of thing in the off season was
an SCA group in Appleton, WI (then Shire of Windhaven), and the
people there were as wonderful as the folk at the fair. We got very
active in SCA for more than a decade. I became Advertising Manager
for their national magazine, _Tournaments Illuminated._ I became
both a Field Herald and a Book Herald (and was pretty good at each).
I also got very involved in SCA bureaucracy (shudder), and in their
Politics (gag), and became a kind of behind-the-scenes mover and
shaker. I was one of the committee that helped create the
Principality of Northshield.
On the home front, we joined the Portage County Historical Society,
and were on the board of directors for about a decade. This is also
a working Historical Society, so they restore and use artifacts
donated to them (including whole buildings). My Lady has restored
bunches of garb, mostly wedding dresses; and we both restored an 1832
Ramage printing press to working condition. It was the first
printing press to enter Wisconsin, back when Green Bay was part of
the Michigan Territory.
In the meantime, we attended many other historical re-creation
gatherings: Rendezvous in Prarie du Chien, Point Basse in Wisconsin
Rapids, just about any Ren Faire we could go to including those in
Pennsylvania, Kansas, Minneapolis, or Canada. Any time we could
dress up in nice duds, have people compliment how we looked, and get
our pictures taken. We are simply hooked on being "Faire Furniture."
I have always been surprised by how very little the people in
different historical re-creation groups interact. I do not see
Rendezvouers at the Historic Camelot Project, and don't see SCAdians
at Pointe Basse. I mean, now that SCA has started to allow actual
jousting, I'd expect to see Lloyd Clark down at the Stock Pavilion in
UW-Madison helping train some of our equestrian folk. Or maybe some
of the blacksmiths out there teaching armor making.
It seems every group has to start from scratch, make it up as they go
along, and don't communicate with any other historical re-creation
group. Possibly it's because each are in their own time period, and
they feel never the twain shall meet. Perhaps it's just the all
volunteer nature of the hobby. Or perhaps those things a person find
so fun in one group, ("I get to wear Elf ears!") just really doesn't
fly in another group.
The Wisconsin Living History Society is another good start at trying
to bring together these different groups. I find many of the skill
sets that work in one group work equally well in all. Costume
making, wood working, brewing & vintning, metal working, all the
Bardic arts, are common to each group we attend. So I am puzzled at
the lack of crossover we've seen in the past. Or maybe we just don't
attend enough of them.
Currently, we have backed away from the SCA. We still attend some
events, but just those we know we'll have fun at. Partially this was
because of our Modern day lives. We got jobs where we worked the
graveyard shift (Midnight to 8:00 am) and that pretty much put the
kibosh on having any kind of real life. But even now with better
shifts, we're not as interested in "living the life" as we used to
be. We still make costumes, and are pretty well known for our wine
making; but we find the part-time life of Faire Furniture really just
suits us best.
Hope this helps,
THL Ivan Kalinin
Lady Valentina Andrevena Sokolova Krasnaya ("You killed my brother,
prepare to die.")
On Oct 11, 2005, at 8:43 AM,
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> 1. Intros!