Sunday, August 5, 2012


There are practical considerations to make when creating a display for your work. Potters need sturdy shelves, expensive jewelry needs to be in a case, and fine breakables should be out of the easy reach of children. Displays also need to be something that can be easily broken down and carted home after a Faire has ended. All this being true, there is an opportunity to think outside of the conventional crafts fair display when presenting your work at a Renaissance Faire. Using organic elements like twigs and branches can create unconventional but attractive displays. Without wanting to over power your work, think of it like a flower arrangement, where your product represents each bloom. Find ways to tell the story of how your art is made. A metalworker could display a few items on an anvil, or surrounded by blacksmithing tools. A woodworker could cover the floor of his booth with wood shavings, and weaver could display baskets filled with wool in all stages from sheep to yarn. Anything you can do to your environment that speaks to the process taken to create your products will better help your customers relate to what they are looking at and eventually purchasing.

It must be added that the original Renaissance Pleasure Faire was based with the goal to recreate history, and their early booths demonstrated how their wares were crafted. It is worth considering including a work area within your booth that would allow you to work on building more merchandise for your shop. This allows your customers to better understand the workmanship that goes into each piece, creating additional interest and entertainment, and a way to keep you busy during the Faire. One thing you can do that Walmart never can is demonstrate the love and attention that goes into everything you make.

Food merchants have a harder time displaying their products, purely because the health department frowns on the presenting of uncovered food. With this in mind, food vendors have an opportunity to suggest how the food is being made. Although just behind the plywood wall and screen a booth worker may be stirring a stainless steel pot over a gas burners, but this shouldn’t stop the owner from displaying an oversized cast iron pot in a large brick hearth with the menu items painted on its side. Also creating banners and signs that depict period people eating your food, for example Henry the Eights holding a turkey leg, or a court jester juggling meat pasties is a way to suggest to the public that to eat your food is to consume a bit of history itself. The reality of running a food booth is that the experience in the kitchen is very different then that on the street, but that shouldn’t stop you from telling a story, one that takes its audience deeper into the role playing that drew them to the Faire in the first place.

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