The Michigan Renaissance Festival is… interesting. I mean that in the most kind way possible, it’s literally one of the most interesting events I attend each year. My brain has a very hard time coping with the sheer amount of input that my eyes are feeding it. Between the incredibly diverse costumes (Of note: I saw a pimp and a bunch of ninjas… not sure how that fits the period), the interesting people, the shops, and the wide range of food, I nearly have smoke pouring out of my ears by the time I leave.
Naturally I always keep my eyes open for writing related items. There’s a very talented calligrapher who has a shop there each year that provides a great amount of inspiration. There’s also a gentleman who sells very nice handmade leather bound journals. Even the paper is handmade and claimed to be archival quality. I purchased a mid-sized journal from him last year but couldn’t bring myself to mar the pages. This year I wanted to find something more affordable that I could perform some ink tests on. Luckily he had these very small 3″x2″ leather bound notebooks that are simply delightful in their simplicity. They contain the same handmade paper bound in a single stitch to a small leather cover and there’s a small string to wrap around it. Look for a full review of my findings shortly.
I also found a booth selling stationary printed with various Celtic and other unknown designs. The artist is named John Benson and he is a Michigan printmaker who is known for his wildly illustrated cards. I couldn’t decide on a single print design so I picked up the sample pack; it contains 10 cream colored printed pages, 10 plain pages, and 10 envelopes. He assured me that it would work very well with fountain pen ink which I’ll test soon enough. I’m not sure where the paper is sourced from but it’s a decently thick stock that has a nice texture to it. He’ll be at my city’s art gallery in November so perhaps I’ll bother him to find out more information.
This has ended up longer than I wanted it to. I’ll just say that if you’re a Michigan resident and can make it over to the Ren Fest, do it. It’s a whole lot of fun!