Reading this week:
- The Golden Rhinoceros by François-Xavier Fauvelle
- American Eden by Victoria Johnson (fantastic)
Excellent news everyone we managed to go to the Renaissance Festival two years in a row! The lack of new pandemics helped. I am sure you all remember my last entry about the Ren Fest, but back then my super amazing girlfriend was but a flower crown newbie. Our visit this year was stunningly similar in many ways, especially because it was opening day again and my dad had visited once more to peruse the festival.
We had an absolute hoot. It wasn’t quite as hot as last year which helped a lot. We wandered around and played games and saw plays. I didn’t win her a super cool necklace she’ll cherish for the rest of her life by tossing a rat in a bucket this year, but I paid for her to launch some balls from a crossbow (as you can see from the picture at the top) because I thought it would be extremely cute and (again as you can see from the picture at the top) it was. She’s amazing.
Also in big Ren Fest gaming news they brought back the old ball maze. The ball maze was always my favorite game at the Ren Fest because I could reliably win it. I mean it’s not very hard but one time I literally did it with my eyes closed and a drunk guy bowed down to me due to my prowess. Used to be back in the day too you won an actual prize, like a $5 (now like $9) turkey leg which for $1 a play was an excellent deal. But last year they switched up the maze and had something real fancy with like a castle on it or something, but they have reverted to the old maze for reasons I didn’t inquire about so my nostalgic self had a blast. Also like last year we saw some Shakespeare, but this year there was a big epic swordfight:
The single biggest thing I thought about all day though was a pot. As I think I have mentioned elsewhere, my super amazing girlfriend has recently taken up the fine and ancient art of ceramics, so we made sure to spend a lot of time checking out all the ceramics at the Renaissance Festival. There were a good chunk! One in particular caught my eye. It was a brownish color in the base, with a special glaze that, if done just right, created beautiful crystals that were all unique and different. This is that pot:
What also attracted me to this pot was that it was useless. Like it was not in a useful shape. Like maybe you could put a spring sprig in there or something and it would make for a perfect piece of art to contemplate in a traditional Japanese tea house, for example, but you wouldn’t store things in it. There were other pots that maybe would work as a vase but this wasn’t it. Historically I am attracted to useless crystals, my independent study for my Chemistry degree was all about designing a useless experiment around crystals, so this pot was up my alley. But because it was useless it was very explicitly art.
I feel like I have bought a good chunk of art in my day. But usually it has some meaning. Like look I suppose all art has meaning, but specifically here I am thinking of art that is a souvenir of a place I visited where there are memories, or maybe a picture that my super amazing girlfriend liked so I got it because she liked it and I like her, or maybe a picture of our cat which isn’t useful but also is extremely cute. I visit a lot of art museums as documented on this blog and there are these people out there who do everything they can to buy art, more than they could ever display, just because it is art and art contrary to what I have just said isn’t useless it is an expression and brings beauty to the world and maybe supports an artist (though I met an artist in grad school who very explicitly made unsellable art (it wasn’t lewd or anything just like physically immobile, she did frescoes, but not the kind you are thinking of)) but I don’t think I am that kind of person??? Or at least I wasn’t sure if I was??? This had me thinking all day while we were otherwise looking at a dude with a bird:
He was nice but frankly his show wasn’t as good as the last bird show I saw at the Renaissance Festival! Anyways! All day I was grappling with whether or not I was a dude who bought a useless thing purely for its aesthetic beauty, as opposed to some other property of the thing, intrinsic or extrinsic. And more importantly would I do that for $40. After hashing it out with my super amazing girlfriend over some mead, I decided to bite the bullet and we went over there and did it. Except it turned out they always took cash, like it was 1540 or something. So I had to go find an ATM and that cost more money but I eventually bought it and proudly took home what I believed to be my very first piece of ceramic art that I owned.
But then I got home and remembered the two pieces of ceramics I got in Rwanda:
Turns out I am a ceramics collector! So there was no need to go through all that existential crisis, collecting ceramics is just something I do. At the Ren Fest we also got lost in that same maze again and took a very similar picture to last time. It was a great day! Highly recommend.