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Well MetRenaissance Faires and the American Counterculture$
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Rachel Lee Rubin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814771389

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814771389.001.0001

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Artisans of the Realm

Artisans of the Realm

Crafters at the Faire

(p.80) 2 Artisans of the Realm
Well Met

Rachel Lee Rubin

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the crafters who plied their wares at the Renaissance faire and brought much more than saleable items to the faire-as-marketplace. The English country fairs on which the first Renaissance Pleasure Faire was modeled occurred at the marketplace, organized around commerce. From the beginning, the faire's organizers imagined selling not only food and drinks that would be different from the usual limited offerings at outdoor events but also handmade crafts. This craft vending quickly turned out to be one of the most popular aspects of the faire as well as one of the most influential and central to its self-conceptualization. This chapter considers the annual event held at the Renaissance faire known as the Pot Wars; how the faire provided a noncorporate marketplace that welcomed handmade crafts; the craft revival of the 1960s and 1970s that took place at the same time as the faire's establishment; and the craftspeople's reference to themselves as “a tribe” or “tribal unit” and the evolution of the faire as a kind of bohemian intentional community called Rennies.

Keywords:   crafters, Renaissance faire, marketplace, commerce, food, drinks, handmade crafts, Pot Wars, craft revival, Rennies

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