Last weekend, Wes and I talked about going to some skills gatherings. We went to Rabbitstick in Idaho last September, and it sparked all kinds of further conversation about what kind of life we want to have, what we want to learn, and what kinds of people we want to connect with. Since I grew up not just in the primitive skills community, but in the Falling Leaves/Rivercane Rendezvous community, my experience has been very particular, involving roughly the same cast of characters for easily 20 years. Rabbitstick was a different experience, and I think we both went into it with expectations that were not met- through no fault of the event’s, of course. I go to gatherings every year because it’s comfortable, because it feels like a family reunion where everyone has useful and fun things to teach each other, and where conversations pick up where they left off six months or a year prior. I love to go to classes for skills I’m familiar enough with to probably teach, simply because I want to spend the afternoon doing that thing with those people. At a gathering where I know only two or three people, that magic hasn’t been built yet, and my ability to introduce Wes was hampered by my own lack of familiarity with the culture there.
With that said, Wes and I will be going to the Falling Leaves Rendezvous this October, since we’re both past the “trial periods” for our jobs and the gathering is to be held in SC this time around. I’m hoping to teach seed bead jewelry (fringe earrings and mandala-style earrings/pendants), sewing with beads on leather, and spinning yarn with a drop spindle, depending on who else will be at the gathering looking to teach fiber arts. I’ve considered teaching knitting, and I have an ever-growing collection of needles and yarn with which to teach beginners, but I don’t think I have quite enough experience to handle instructing several students at once. It’s an idea, though. In addition to teaching, going to the Rendezvous means opportunities for selling my knitted goods and jewelry (to people who will love and use them, and who appreciate how much work and joy go into them!) and trading finished pieces and materials.
I know I just posted about being ready for Christmas and planning ahead for that, but October comes first. So, the current queue! I have a rough idea of how many hats, pairs of gloves, pairs of earrings, and other handmade items I’d like to bring. I want to bring some foodstuffs for trade as well- now that I’ve perfected a bread recipe I’m happy with, and we’ve gotten the hang of pickling garlic like pros, I think we’ll be set to trade our treats! Wes has also been experimenting with bookbinding and has made some really lovely journals with leather and denim covers. I know he likes working on them as projects, but one only needs so many journals at once, so I think he’ll really get into making them for trade or sale. I just ordered some beading supplies for earrings, and I’ve been due for a bead and craft material purge for a few years now, so I think the trick is to make a few things every week until we go (and use up what I can!). Last night, I whipped up a few pairs of earrings, some with feathers and some with natural stones.
10 hats (1 down, 9 to go)
12 pairs of mitts (1 down, 11 to go… but I can’t find that one, so maybe it’s still 12 to go)
5 “other” knits, such as shawls, stuffed animals, and headbands (1 down, 4 to go)
15 pairs of “individually priced” earrings, i.e., not ones with plain glass beads (6 down, 9 to go)
5 pairs of fringed seed bead earrings (1 down, 4 to go)
5 pairs of round “mandala” seed bead earrings (2 down, 3 to go)
Since the event is in October, it feels far in the future, but I know it’ll creep up quicker than I anticipate… It always does, and that’s really wonderful.