Living at the Renaissance Festival

27 10 2009

I’m glad to be back in the land of flushing toilets and indoor heating.

I own booths at 2 different Renaissance Festivals (which run concurrently for 5 weeks) and since it was my first year at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, and my booth lacked secure doors (due to lack of budget) I decided it would be smarter to stay onsite and work during the week in the small corner of the booth that I had made into a workable studio.  So I’ve spent 7 out of the last 8 weeks living on the road or in a tent, cooking over a tiny single burner camp stove, and washing my dishes at a spigot that is nothing more than a hose nozzle attached to a pipe.

Boy it gets cold at night in late October in southern Ohio.  I woke up with frost on the blankets (from my breath hitting them and the moisture turning to almost-ice on the blanket edge) several mornings last week.  But man, have I learned some cool things.  I know how long a 22 pound bag of ice will last in a cooler.  I know that I can brush my teeth using 1/4 cup of water or less.  I know that there are two types of port-a-johns – the foot pedal flushing type and the non-flushing type, and that I infinitely prefer the former over the latter.  And I know that no matter what shoes I start out the season in, they will be dead by the time the season ends.  (I blew up my Birkenstocks with two weekends left in the season when the strap broke because my shoe got stuck in the mud-pit of doom on the way to the loo early one morning after our fifth consecutive day of RAIN…)

There are perks though.  I caught up on my leisure reading, cause hey, what else do you do when it’s dark by 7:30 and the temperature has dropped to 40 by that time?  I also met the cutest, snuggliest kitty in the world when she wandered into the tent one day and snuggled onto the air mattress.  She ended up sleeping on the bed about 4 nights a week, which is an insanely great comfort when you’re living in the middle of nowhere.  (She was adopted at the end of the season by other person onsite who was feeding her and spending time with her… and the best news is I have an open invitation to visit the kitty who will be living with her human in Reno, Nevada).  The best perk though is the realization that I can eat pretty much whatever I want and cook it with however much butter I want and STILL lose weight.  (Something about living it rough burns calories like crazy.)

So that’s where I’ve been.  That’s why I haven’t written anything up here lately.  (This is, of course, assuming I have loyal readers other than my mom…)  I also wanted to  make sure I posted a photo of this year, mostly because I don’t remember to take many photos of things other than my glass, and because I owe a really really big thank you to the people on either side of me in the photo.  (I’m the one in the middle that looks like I’m praying for Calgon to take me away.)

The guy in glasses on the left manages my booth in PA when I can’t be there.  And the guy on my right is, well, my sweetie Ian, who is INFINITELY better at selling my work than I am.  I’m a  self-deprecating critic about my glass.  Thank you guys both.  I really couldn’t do this without either of you.

And thank you, kind readers, if you managed to read this all the way to the end.  I never know who’s reading, but I hope that this strikes a funny bone or a chord or whatever with other people living in the weird world of the self-employed artist.  Till we meet again ~ Molly

At The Ren Fest

At the Renaissance Festival




2 responses

27 09 2014

Hi just read your story and yess i now it might be hard work but I’ve aalways wanted to join a fair what would a person have to do to get that going please let me know tom.

4 10 2014
M. Sotherden Art Glass

Hi! Same thing any job requires really – a great can-do attitude, showing that you are utterly reliable, and (this is a big one!) knowing *when* to apply for a job. Don’t try doing it during a faire day, (because that’s like asking to speak to the head cook for a restaurant job during the Friday night dinner rush.) Try walking around the few days before the faire is open, and be prepared to have a resume that can be checked. Cards with your contact info and who you’ve worked for wouldn’t hurt either. Booths tend to be cramped for personal space, and a huge 8.5″ x 11″ resume takes up way more space than a business card.

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