Hello everyone! From long time followers to those who we’ve met recently, we hope you have an amazing 2022!
We know the last couple of years have been hard. It has been a daily struggle from our end keeping going as full time artists with shows and events so uncertain for the last year. But we are actually starting to be optimistic, and we hope you are too!
We recently came back from an absolutely amazing first Louisiana Renaissance Faire. (First for us, that is. The event has been around over 20 years.) We made some great new friends, had an awesome batch of neighbors, and were able to introduce ourselves to a whole new batch of customers. We hope this year was just the first of many for us at this event!
Next weekend, we’ll be starting our first run of the Brevard Renaissance Fair in Melbourne, FL. It runs weekends through the first weekend of February, so if you’re in the area, come say hi!
And for those of you who aren’t in the area, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing a massive update to our web store. So whether you want to purchase directly from us or over Etsy, we have done what we can to make it easier. If you haven’t already, check out our Letters of Marque, new from 2021. And in the months to come our one of a kind pieces will start appearing more often in our web store, so check it out if you haven’t.
And in case I don’t say it enough, thank you all of you for sticking with us these tough years. Your support has really helped us keep going. May 2022 bring out the best for all of us!
Hey guys! Wow, so… a lot has happened since we last posted in our blog. That was May, and back in May we thought problems due to COVID would be short lived. We had hopes for Summer, or at least possibly fall, might see events happening again.
Obviously, that is not what happened.
After the last crazy weekend of March 13th, we had one additional in-person event in the Fall. A local winery, Stonefield Cellars, threw an awesome tiny event with local vendors who usually work the renaissance faire circuit. Even with the small numbers there, it was awesome to see some familiar faces! It was weird – by October, we discovered we were really out of practice with shows and just about everyone forgot something. We had a good laugh about that, and realized just how much we missed all our awesome vendor friends. Sunday, we vended and loaded out in the mud… just like a real faire. 😉
We participated in two virtual events last year. Dragon Con actually put together an amazing event, and I recommend Eventeny to anyone wanting to run a virtual show. Which it was not near the level of our usual in-person Dragon Con sales, it was enough to make the work more than worth it.
Our other virtual event was put on by awesome Pagan creator friends at Raven’s Own. You may have seen our ridiculous video. It was a great little event of people in the pagan community, who we usually see a lot in September during Pagan Pride events.
Our big online push and the increase in online sales were helpful and a bit overwhelming. While we didn’t hit our usual annual income by far, we did double our annual online sales from 2019. And thus far, as 2021 starts, online buying still appears to be on the rise.
We did receive some wonderful help from our community when things got really hard. Our friends and family pulled through for us in ways that we never expected. When our front window was smashed, you all came together and helped us raise the funds to replace it much quicker than I thought we’d be able. We received matching funds from GoFundMe, and a contribution from our local Boulevard Merchants association to help. We also received a couple of small grants from local artists’ organizations that helped us pay bills at crucial times. We are so thankful for all of it.
The short story is, we’re still here. We haven’t gotten to do much work on our studio building and a fall tropical storm remnant took out part of the roof that we hadn’t replaced yet, but we’re still here. We’re still making, and we’re still working.
We miss all of you. We miss the familiar faces of vendor friends, show organizers, and frequent customers. As things stand right now, we’re still looking for when we can get back to shows this year. Everything is still so uncertain, which makes planning for small businesses like ours extremely hard.
So we’re doing what we can. We’re keeping online sales going and getting ahead as much as possible. We’re using whatever supplies we have to get extra inventory made for the future. We’re working on art and working on dream projects we would not usually have the time and energy to do. We’ve gotten through some really dark and discouraging months, but we’re starting to look forward again.
Thank you for sticking with us to see what we do next!
Hello everyone, and thank you so much for supporting our business! It’s obvious but it’s true – your support means more to us than ever right now. Today, we would have been in the opening weekend of Virginia Renaissance Faire. Instead, I’m home sewing masks. What a strange Spring it has been!
If you follow us on Facebook, this will be a little repetitive, but here is the craziness of our last two months, and what we are looking at going forward:
March 13th, 2020: The day things started to go crazy. We were on the road to Bay Area Renaissance Festival, desperately hoping that it would not be cancelled before we finished our drive to Florida. We watched the breaking news, watched our April shows cancel and postpone, and realized this could well be our last show weekend for a while.
And so it was. That weekend, we thought we were about to be entering 10 straight weekends of fairs and festivals. Now, everything has cancelled or postponed up until September. And with everything uncertain, we have no idea if those shows will happen either, or what the attendance will look like if they do.
April 20th, 2020: Someone smashed in two of the front windows of our studio building. Because that’s totally an expense we need right now. You can read all about it (and help if you are able) in our GoFundMe campaign to replace them.
What’s Now, and What’s Next?
We are trying everything we can to get through this and use this as an opportunity rather than a set back. Here’s what we’re up to:
Nathaniel has been working hard inside our building for the last two months, fixing up more and more usable space.
I’ve put my sewing machine and my geeky fabric stash to making cloth masks. These are available in our Etsy store, and will be available in our shop and our festival booths in the future.
We’re also working on building a better, independent web store. Watch for that coming soon!
We’re planning and working towards opening the front of our shop, harder than ever. Whether or not events come back in the fall, we will be ready with unique items for your Halloween!
Whatever happens next, we’re working on weathering the storm. Thank you everyone for your support these last few months, and we look forward to seeing you when we can gather once again!
Here’s some of the fun I didn’t get to share with everyone in the busy time of the year – we went to a Bigfoot Festival! Actually, we sort of went to two. Let me explain… 🙂
As often happens in a year, we found we had a gap with fewer shows than we thought, so we went on a last minute online rush to find some shows we could do and keep things going. We ended up finding a small event in Cherokee, NC. It was the first Cherokee Legends Comic Con. As we’re still having fun exploring our state, we decided why the hell not?
So first the fun that is Cherokee… We had never been out there before, and I have to say it was kind of cool to do an event on the Cherokee reservation. We had no idea how we would do business-wise, so we made sure we would have fun anyway. I found us possibly the oddest and most fun hotel we have stayed at. We were in what looked like a 1970s built tourist “teepee” fronted cabin. It looked run down terrifying from the drive up (seriously, I forewarned my husband so he wouldn’t think I was totally crazy), but absolutely delightful once you were there. We had a full cabin with a nice kitchen and multiple bedrooms, and then the back opened up into an awesome porch with hot tub, over one of the creeks that feeds the river in town. So nice!
And that river was one of the things I loved about Cherokee. When we weren’t working, we were taking walks in beautiful parks on the water, and stopping in silly touristy shops. (Yes, we did also go to the casino before we left.) Since I grew up in a family that collected native art, I also took time to find some real galleries.
The event was entertaining, and not bad for a very small first year event. Unfortunately several vendors did not show up… but fortunately we’d also brought pretty much all of our stock with us, so we ended up taking over an entire row to help fill the room. We were back to back with two of the celebrity guests, so we had an awesome time chatting and laughing during the many slow times. Not exactly a money maker for us, but fun.
The event was organized by someone who had primarily had organized Bigfoot and related conventions in the past, and it showed. There was a lot more Bigfoot or alien sightings or supernatural experiences to the panels than comics, but it was still a lot of fun, and an introduction to an event type that we had not done before. And as a result of being there, we were invited to the South Carolina Bigfoot Festival.
This was another moment of “Sure, why not?” So in October, we were off to a Bigfoot themed street festival in South Carolina.
We don’t do a lot of street festivals anymore. We used to do more, but as our work is not exactly main stream it doesn’t tend to do really well for us. Well, not so great at sales for this one because of that bane of outdoor festivals in October – rain. But oh my was it a blast!
Costumed people as Bigfoot wandering around and posing for pictures, contests for Bigfoot look-alikes and having the biggest feet, this town knows how to throw a great event!
If we do these again, we hope for better weather, and will bring more Bigfoot and cryptid related items with us.
(I did make these silly journal covers for the South Carolina Bigfoot Festival. I’m going to make more – see them on Etsy here!)
Hi guys, and thank you for sticking with us through our creative adventures! As we roll into 2020, I once again notice how rarely I update this blog and thus all the stuff you guys never get to hear about. So, here goes:
The great adventure that we moved into two years ago and purchased last year is crawling towards being a better and better building.
The first good update? It’s not raining inside anymore! Yes, we got our roof repairs done and took away Nathaniel’s serenity waterfall. It will still need a more complete roof replacement in the future, but this is a huge positive step.
There is still lots to do. Apparently the constant moisture was the only thing holding together some of the floor boards back there, so now that they aren’t constantly getting wet the wood started to crumble. So, one more thing to replace before we can really open the storefront.
But it is all fixed enough that we can occasionally open to guests… and we’ve done a lot of fixing to the front as well. We hope to soon exhibit local artists in our big front display window rooms!
We have had some ambitious moments this year, some bursts of wild creativity. Some have been successful, some have not. Fixing the building has delayed getting our rental inventory really built, but we have found a greater interest which helps.
Of course, one of our coolest projects this year was the Amethyst God Hammer. Because sometimes you just want to make something absolutely awesome,
And speaking of “cool,” we had one silly little thing to combat the intense Virginia Renaissance Faire heat take off more than expected this year –fan holsters! Seriously, I could not keep these in stock for a chunk of this summer.
The building took up a lot of our time and interfered with a chunk of our productivity this year, so hopefully 2020 will mean a lot of new awesome coming out of the studio!
Shows We Did
We did a lot of our old standbys this year – Madicon, Virginia Renaissance Faire, Dragon Con – but we always try to add in a handful of new. We’re experimenting with where our new “local” is, and as a result how far south we are willing to go. We started off our 2019 season in Atlanta and ended it in Orlando! Ah, nice weather in December is delightful…
We’ve been sticking to more renaissance fairs and less comic conventions in the last year, a trend that will probably continue. We generally do well with our unique blend at small renaissance festivals. The comic convention market has been interesting over the last year or two, so we’ll be keeping an eye to see what happens.
We are expanding into more horror and haunter events. We were not able to do the haunted house again this year, but we’d still love to try again in the future. But we’re going to start off our 2020 at Hauntcon, to promote our custom services to the haunter and Halloween community! That should definitely be fun!
So, here’s to 2020 everyone – may this year be better than the last, and may we make all of the awesome things!
Those of you who have seen us at our last couple of shows of the year also got to see Nathaniel’s major art piece of the year. This was a dream project, and I wanted to take a moment and share it in detail with you all.
First of all, here is the pretty:
Nathaniel had been wanting to make a God Hammer for a while, and he focuses personally on a god who wields a hammer (and no, probably not the one you are thinking – a crafter god.) The right stones to inspire the project were not coming along, until the idea to make this geode faced.
So, here is the result after many, many hours of making it work, plus multiple trips to find the perfect crystals:
Two large amethyst geode crystal faces
Several smaller amethyst clusters
Blue abalone shell disks on the opposite side
Tree of Heaven (yes, that is really what it is called) hammer head
Hand stitched leather detailing with hand tooled phases of the moon
Buffalo hide handle wrap
The result weighs sixteen pounds. Yes, you could actually wield it, though it is unwieldy and might lose a few crystal points if you do.
This is very much a one of a kind piece, though we can use it as an inspiration for a special piece for you.
Yes, the price tag is $10,000 for this really special art piece. We are happy to take that in multiple payments if the purchaser is serious. Please feel free to contact us for more details.
Hello local artists! We want you to show off your awesome work!
We have an awesome 10 foot by 10 foot display window at the front corner of our store. It is our goal to use this to display the work of an eclectic assortment of creative people.
What is the space?
The retail display window is approximately 10 feet by 10 feet. It includes a back wall with a doorway for access and full glass windows on three sides. It is regularly driven by on both The Boulevard and Irving Street. It is in high sun and does have significant changes in temperature, so bear that in mind when thinking of what you want to display.
What can I display here?
Almost anything you want! Want to make a big installation piece? Sure! Want to sell things from our window? We can help with that. Want to suspend things from the ceiling? As long as it’s nothing really heavy, go right ahead! Want to paint the room itself? As long as it is returned to neutral at the end of the month, have fun!
What’s the catch?
Minimal catches, we promise! Each artist will have the space for one month. You must install your work within the first week of the month, keep your work up for as much of the month as possible, and clean out the window and return it to neutral by the end of the month. If you let Wyrd Armouries make any sales for you, we will collect 25% commission on those sales.
In return, we will promote you and your window in our social media, and have your contact info of your choice easily at hand for anyone who sees your work.
Being a small business, a creative person, an artist, a self-employed person… there are so many things that can go wrong, and usually no one but yourself to fix it. You can’t keep going if you don’t adapt.
With as many shows as we have done, it is to be expected that occasionally something has been left behind. Packing for events is never not stressful, no matter how many times we have done it, and it often happens at the end of very long weeks trying to make as many things as we possibly can.
Sometimes, it is specialty displays that get left. We left our mask displays behind once, before we learned how to show them on gridwall. Last minute solution? Skinny pillows from Goodwill that matched our booth colors. We still use the pillows to add some interest to our displays.
Inventory that gets left behind is probably the most annoying. That’s things that might have sold that customers never see. Fortunately, all of our inventory doesn’t fit in just one box, so we’ve never left behind all of our inventory. It does mean putting out pretty much everything else we have made to make up for it.
Most recently, we forgot a bag of stakes that goes to our large, medieval pavilion for a one weekend event. It uses both large stakes for tension and small stakes to pin the 16 poles. Replacing all of those at a moment’s notice was next to impossible and would have been painfully expensive. In that case, it was a cost decision – buying a new backup tent at Walmart was more cost effective than buying all new stakes. So creative use of Walmart canopys it was!
For one show, we even had our entire tent not ship on time! And that’s why one of our backup tents is a 10 x 20 carport.
Rain, and Wind Oh My!
If you do outdoor shows, you have to contend with weather.
Actually, amend that. Sometimes, you have to contend with weather even with an indoor show. Shows on snow days where no one can make it to your indoor show are a not good you can’t do anything about.
And then there was that one time there was a pipe leak above our booth and we had to move tables to avoid stinky water. Thank goodness none of our products were directly under it!
But rain and wind… they will happen, and you have to adapt.
Wind is our least favorite. Several seasons ago, we lost three pop up tents in the course of a year. One was twisted beyond any hope of salvaging by a hurricane remnant. That was the year that made us buy our medieval pavilion!
Sometimes, it just means no sleeping in the tent at night, like we usually do at renaissance faires. High winds or thunderstorms tearing through a camp site can send us to sleeping in the car – which at this point we are well prepared for with foam mats and car blankets. It used to send us to a hotel.
And then there’s rain. Rain is easier for a tent set up than wind, but not good on leather products or on foot traffic. Product we can shift, and what is where will rotate when the rain get bad. Leather goes to where it is most protected, wood gets a little wet. But rain also means mud. We were “the dock” at last year’s Virginia Renaissance Faire because the hill became a river that parted around our makeshift wooden platform. Not setting up for an extended time without a platform again!
But if it’s only a one weekend event, we have to rely on organizers for things like straw. Our poor neighbors once had a river through their tent!
But whatever the problem, if there is a show we have paid for, we will be there! Maybe sometimes a little late. Maybe sick or sleep deprived. But we’ll be there!
What show disasters have you had to deal with? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!
When Nathaniel and I went to the Halloween & Party Expo (which was totally awesome, by the way), I designed t-shirts for us to wear on the floor. They were made last minute with iron-on transfers, but we still like the design.
So, we’ve made it available for all of our friends who are Keeping It Wyrd! Proceeds from the sale of these will help us keep renovating our studio and bringing you new creative projects. If you have a moment, think about picking up a little swag to support Wyrd Armouries!