Impressions of a First Time Vendor
The first con I vend at has a Post-Apocalyptic theme. The 10th annual, Temple Con was 4 days of costumes, games, role play, contests, workshops, readings and vendors at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick RI, Aug 25-28, 2016.
For some time, I have had an affinity for clock parts, Victorian era costume & fictitious mechanical contraptions with magic powers – the aesthetic of Steampunk. A time when men wore top hats & vests and ladies wore corsets and bustles (with hidden mechanical accouterments – of course.)
I thought these Con-folk would be a good audience for my Hacker Creations, 3D collage/assemblage made from disassembled technology, combined with bright colors and bold composition. I also brought a collection of specifically Steampunk items made just for the event.
A parade of people in incredible costumes past my booth in the big white “wedding tent” set up behind the hotel. It was great to hang out with my friend Eric Bornstein of Behind the Mask, who was offering amazing handmade masks. He also secured first place in the costume contest with his enormous lion head that looks like it came from The Lion King.
Among the items for sale by the approximately 120 vendors were game software, original card games, miniatures used in board games, costumes, corsets, leather “tool” belts with attachments including a fine china teacup holster, wigs, jewelry & watches. Only a few people selling fine art which included prints, paintings & anime drawings. The most popular items were small felted and polymer clay fantasy characters.
With my best set up to date, I displayed 9 sculptures on my ladder shelf and 5 more on a shoe shelf along with bowler hats with broaches made from hard drive platters & stators in retro tech designs. On a table covered with a new shiny grey table cloth I made – were earrings displayed on a former computer monitor, a stand with necklaces and my little Steampunk Trunk which held the SP pieces (pictured above). An old brown travel case from my childhood – a true time machine retaining the musty smell I remember from long car trips to visit Grandma in the 1960’s.
Although many attendees were attracted to my work and happily identify parts, “I work in software”, not many made the leap from the geek, gamer, steampunk/cosplay genre – to collector of retro-technology, multi-media, cyber punk expression.
The biggest impression of Templecon was left by 16 hours spent positioned between 2 of the most popular vendors in the Garden Pavilion. On my left were veterans Leanna Renee Hieber and Thom Truelove. Dressed in black Victorian garb, Leanna is an actress and author of nine Gothic Victorian Paranormal novels for adults and teens, set in 1880s New York City and London including, the Strangely Beautiful saga, Darker Still & the Gaslamp Fantasy trilogy. In addition to selling and signing her books – she was selling colorful fictitious military metals and was an integral part of the convention. She gave readings, served on panels and judged contests.
Thom Truelove, a purveyor of interesting and eclectic antiques would say, “Have you been introduced to Pandora’s pets? They worry about the little things, so that you can pay attention to the more important matters.” Attracting many to see the polymer clay entities he and Leanna make together.
On my right was the best vendor display in the tent. Tiffany Flanagan’s fantastic collection of sculpted artifacts from the explorations and experiments of one Dr. Von Drachen set up as a shop of curiosities. Amazingly her first show! She has a very exciting future ahead of her!
It was fun talking to Kassundra Katze, a fellow Bay Stater, she works with youth and runs a gamer store in Maynard called Excelsior Comics and Games. She and her partner were vending as Phoenix Latex offering costumes and producing on the spot vinyl cutting for personalized shot glasses.
All in all I enjoyed being part of this collision of technology and reenactment. I especially liked the costumes and room full of console games from the 80’s. I am proud to have been one of Temple Con MMXVI vendors, representing a wide range of creativity, innovation and resourcefulness required to provide just the right mix of bizarre implements and adornments.