Friday, September 2, 2016

Echo and Wild - a Creative Collaboration

Let Merriment Abound! 

This year the Maryland Renaissance Festival (hereafter known as Ren Fest) celebrates its 40th year of merriment, mayhem, magic and history. Its no surprise I am a Ren faire kind of girl; I have been attending the MD faire almost annually for over 30 years. Yes, since I was a teen. Its a unique blend of history and comedy, of accuracy and fantasy, of theater and art, of seriousness and frivolity.
The Maryland Renaissance Festival! 
I have long been a fan of the artists that live and work at the Md Ren fest. In fact many a birthday gift I have received in the last 30 years were selections from the faire. But over the last 12 years as I have entered the local arts faire circuit, I have met and become good friends with many of these same artists. Yes, the faerie festival circuit is a world that overlaps with Ren Fest. The love of myth and magic, fantasy and folklore are uniting themes. 

My friend Jeanne Gibbons is the artist and one woman entrepreneur behind Echo and Wild jewelry. For years a fan and a collector, now a friend - this year Jeanne and I finally made a collaboration happen. Years in discussion mode - now a reality. So last week I went to faire, before opening, to drop off the fruits of out labors. I can show you a sneak peak behind the scenes... 
Echo and Wild - setting up to start the Faire season.  1. Echo and Wild booth in a state of show prep. 2. Jeanne's sons toys piled in the backstage courtyard. 3. The hidden world of vendors behind the fences. 4. the grounds - empty and quiet! 

Not familiar with the Ren Fest scene? 30 of 50 states have them! Its a day of interactive theater, with shopping, feasting, and drama! Jousting! Human chess! Sword Swallowing! Here is a promo clip from MD: The Maryland Renaissance Festival, a tradition for the entire family, begins its 40th season ...
The 27 acre Village of Revel Grove comes to life each autumn with more than 200 professional performers on ten stages, authentic combat armored jousting on magnificent steeds and streets filled with village characters. Join His Most Royal Highness King Henry VIII in the forests and glades with over 140 artisans exhibiting crafts in their own renaissance shops, five taverns featuring cool libations, 42 food and beverage emporiums providing a vast array of succulent and sweet treats to sate even the most hearty of appetites.

This is the view from Jeanne's booth. The neighbors, a drop coin press, were repainting the floor and doing booth maintenance.
Quiet in the Shire. The grass is green, and nary a patron in sight. 
So - I know you want to see the JEWELRY. Jeanne creates mythic, magical and meaningful symbolic pieces in sterling. She sculpts and casts all her work in her garage casting studio. I set to work to pair her pieces with gems. Nothing too elaborate, but meant to compliment, to accent. 
A sampling of our collaborative efforts. 
Four seasons faeries. A few of my favorites!
If you are local and go to the Ren Fest - stop by Echo and Wild! They are located on the Queen's Path as you enter the Shire.
Jeanne (on left) and a colleague. 
So next? All the pieces I sent to the Faire? I have duplicates for me - my work - my fall shows! I am so excited to continue to design with these pieces that speak my (our) language! The hardest part? Not keeping them all! 
My inventory for future creations! 
I am beyond excited to have collaborated with Jeanne whose work I have admired for so many years. I am also thrilled to have a presence at the Ren fest in some form. Perhaps a guest spot for me there in future years? We shall see... 
Until then... 
get thee to the Faire! 


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