We just attended the New York Renaissance Faire this past weekend. I have to say that it was a very positive experience and I wish the location was closer. It was very crowded, as one might expect with such a large faire, but we were able to find parking for $10 without much issue. I believe there was also free parking, but we didn’t want to take the time to figure that out and then walk further in the 90 degree heat.
Andy wore his Pictish Fox cuirass and bazubands that he finished constructing on the way down. Yes, On the way down. With an anvil and ball-peen hammer. In the car. Such is life. I wore the ever-popular Asiatic Lily Armor that was commissioned about a year ago. Since it was commissioned by a friend of ours, we were thankfully able to borrow it for the day. It is such a striking piece that I’m really glad we had it!
The faire is in a great location, it’s squarely located in the 22,000 acre Sterling Forest in New York. The paths are unpaved but very easy to navigate and as you might expect, you’re surrounded by mostly woods. The faire itself can get a little confusing because it is so large. I would recommend using a map and when that proves useless, ask someone around you. When we were leaving, it took us 30 minutes just to find the exit because we had been walking in the wrong direction. Everything is pretty well spaced and the vendors are all in actual freestanding structures instead of the tents you see at a lot of faires. This allows them to lock up at the end of the night instead of having to move all of their stock to a trailer or other location until the next day.
The Viking settlement was one of our favorite things. People pay the NYRF to come and camp on-site in primitive tents and live a viking-like lifestyle. Here they dress in period appropriate garb and use tools that vikings would have used for everyday activities such as spitting wood. It was a quieter area than the main faire and a nice place to get away to when we needed shade and relaxation.
The vendors are better overall than I have seen at smaller faires. You still get your typical lower end faire souvenirs, but for more serious enthusiasts and collectors, there are plenty of vendors to choose from. We didn’t get to visit all the vendors, so it’s not fair to give an assessment of each, but if you’re interested, check out the vendor page. I will say that the abundance of mead and iced chai did not go unappreciated! Also the fact that their food isn’t done with a ticket system is also a check in the plus column.
Despite all the awesome, our two favorite parts of the faire were meeting up with our friends Heather and Jeff over at Chrononaut Merchantile and receiving unsolicited high praise from established and seasoned NYRF veterans and workers. It’s always fun to talk shop with the folks over at Chrononaut, and it’s nice to catch up and bounce things back and forth. If you’re looking for an established faire that has a tight act, the New York Renaissance Faire is not to be missed!
This is a post all about why you should use gum tragacanth to finish or burnish the edges of your veg-tan leather projects. After researching its origins and practical uses, it has become quite apparent that this is some sort of miracle plant. The Internet wouldn’t lie to me, right? Either way, knowing a little bit about where products come from and how they are used is never a bad idea.
Tragacanth is an evergreen shrub found in the Middle East growing mostly in dry sub-alpine slopes and valleys. Many people are familiar with the other gums (arabic, guar), and this has similar food applications. Wikipedia tells me its not as widely available because it comes from a more tumultuous area of the world. While I cannot scientifically verify any of the information (though some of it did come from WebMD), the tragacanth plant has been known to have the following applications:
I even found some sites stating that it was used as a topical treatment for burns and has shown evidence of shrinking tumors. So the message you should be receiving here is: in the event of an apocalypse, this is your medicinal and artistic panacea. Stock up, kids.
So let’s talk about why we care about it. Simple. It makes our stuff look awesome. When we started using this stuff, it took our work to the next level. It felt like the first time I used a serger sewing machine. Pretty much life changing. If you read leather forums they say that saliva and elbow grease will do the trick, but first of all: Gross. Secondly: not true, this stuff is way better.
Simple enough. Put it on, rub it with a burnishing tool til it looks good. Done. What’s a burnishing tool? It’s basically a little plastic tool that saves your hands from a whole lot of unnecessary friction. You place the leather edge in the circle groove and rub away. It can come in other shapes and sizes in order to help you slick those edges in hard to access places and corners. I should probably mention that we both think that it smells amazing, too. Though oddly when we purchased the 4oz bottle, it smells way better than the 32oz bottle.
Let’s talk about the results! Here is a photograph where I took a long scrap piece of dyed leather and cut it in half. On the top piece, I used the gum with a burnishing tool and the bottom I did not. See all those fuzzies? Blech. No good. Click on the image to enlarge.
Another thing we will sometimes use the gum for is to smooth down the flesh side or under side of the piece if it is going to have any contact with skin. This makes the piece far more comfortable to the wearer and really provides value to the client since there is little risk of skin irritation. Or, you know, we could also chug it for medical reasons.*
*Savagepunk Studio does not suggest, endorse, or recommend that you ingest this product and doing so is at your own risk.
Welcome to our very first blog post! As the first blog post, I thought it made sense to start at the beginning. How did this mixture of creativity, art, and insanity come to pass, exactly?
Andy and I have been together since 2011 and we had both crafted independently prior to that. Andy has been an artist since, well, forever. He drew, painted, sculpted, but the most success he had with his art was with modifying and prettying up Nerf guns and hand sewing leather garments. I would create costumes out of fabric. When we started dating in 2011, it seemed like a natural fit to combine these skills.
It wasn’t until 2013 when things changed. We were set to get married. In Las Vegas. Dressed like pirates. Don’t ask. That’s not the point of this blog post. Suffice it to say that if I had it all to do again, I wouldn’t change a thing because calling a chapel and having everything planned in 5 minutes is pretty much my ideal. Brides-to-be, take note! I had been working hard to make us outfits so we could get hitched in style.
Anyway. The only real issue was that three days before we were set to leave, Andy decided that something was missing. A hat. Andy needed a tricorn hat. Okay. No biggie. Let’s just check Etsy. And eBay. And Amazon. And anywhere on the internet that would possibly sell a pirate hat.
Andy is what I can only describe as a “Tricorn Hat Diva.” He’s very particular about the specific tricorn he admires. It has to be leather. Has to have a certain shape. Dimension. Color. We must have scrolled through dozens of pages of them to no avail. He found one that was close, but it was shipping out of the UK and it would never make it in time.
“I guess I’ll just make one.”
So in three days, Andy went to Tandy Leather, designed himself a tricorn, scoured YouTube to learn how to work with leather, and finished it in time to get married. Looking back on it now, we call it the Hat of Overcompensation.
It obviously didn’t end there. For over two years now he has been obsessed. Countless hours of research, hundreds of cups of coffee, and many hours not slept have gone into this labor of love. We hope you enjoy our site.