Lady Fiadnata ó Gleann Àlainn describes this new feature for artisans and students at Pennsic War this year. The theme is:
A place to craft… A place to learn… A place to share…
At large events, Artisans Rows have been growing steadily over the past half-dozen years. An Artisans Row is usually organized as a collection of workshop areas where artisans & scholars can demonstrate, share, and teach – preferably hands-on – their particular skills & knowledge. An Artisans Row is also a great place for artisans and those interested in the arts to network, share ideas, and collaborate on joint projects. For multi-day events, the Artisans Row serves as an artists’ colony, where craftsmen can camp together and share their interests day and night.
At Pennsic, our Artisans Row will be different from those held elsewhere. Because of the size of Pennsic, and the great variety of interests shared by the artisans in attendance, we will not be able to have tents dedicated to one topic for the entire span of the War. Instead, we have three tents available to us, each tent devoted to a different topic for one day. We are rotating through all of the various topics that are proposed, and everyone has a chance to promote their particular specialty. Artisans are welcome to take part in informal one-on one instruction, open workshop times, joint artisan/area projects, sharing, networking, and night classes.
For sessions on Artisans Row, we have been looking for instructors who are good chatelaines for their specialty -- who have a thorough grounding in a subject and are enthusiastic about teaching newcomers about their craft. We want to have activities going on that can produce enough interest at a glance to cause someone from the street to come in and ask, "What are you doing? Can I try that, too?"
We have managed to gather a remarkably broad selection of topics this year, everything from glass beadwork, Viking wire weaving, manuscripts & book arts, fiber arts of all types (including narrowwork and lace making), metalsmithing, paper arts and period painting, to soaps & lotions and leatherworking. We also have an Open Solar with Master Cariadoc, one of the Society’s most eclectic and interesting artisans.
We are hoping that Artisans Row will grow to be an annual feature at Pennsic, and that it will become the networking location-of-choice for artisans. If we can grow some networks of artisans in some of the areas being covered, so that in following years all we need to do is ask each whether they would like to participate each year, and have them immediately begin planning for their time, we will know that the Row is a success. Would you care to come play with us?
Fiadnata ó Gleann Àlainn
Dean of the School of Applied Arts (Artisans Row)
Pennsic University 39