Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Great Western War XIV Review

Great Western War XIV is done and I’m home, having survived the experience.

GWW is a multi-day Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) event currently held at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area near Taft, CA. I was there from Monday, October 3 when merchant set-up began to Monday, October 10 when the event ended.

I didn’t do as well with sales as I hoped I would but it was better than it could have been. I heard a rumor that attendance was down a bit and that could have affected things.
It’s always a little tricky trying to sell ready-made custom arrows at an event. There are so many dynamics to the arrow that must be properly matched to the archer/bow that it can be difficult to have the right thing sitting on the table. Then there are the artistic elements of the arrow.
It’s not unusual for a customer to find the perfect spine arrow but be allergic to their pink artwork. Or maybe an archer finds the perfect red arrows but they’re spined for about a 50# bow and he’s using a 35# bow. I much prefer to make arrows custom to order but I have to have something on the tables to showcase my work.

At this event I had some prime red oak boards that Salvador had picked out for making into bows. These boards are great for beginning bowmakers and I took along the bowhorse and my tools in the chance that someone would want to get a board and make it into a bow at the event.
As luck would have it, I sold one board to a young woman and she dove right into making it into a bow. Lexi didn’t have much experience with hand tools but where there is a will there is a way. I helped a little bit when she began running out of time but it’s safe to say that she did the bulk of the work. She finished the bow Sunday evening and I made a string for it just before I left Monday morning.

There were other people who were very interested in bow making but who didn't have the time to do it at the war. For many of those individuals I gave them information about the monthly Pasadena gatherings where we can get them started on bowmaking.
I spoke with some wonderful people over the course of the seven days I was at the war. Some I've dealt with via email and never had a chance to meet in person, others I met for the first time. I even got to meet one reader of this blog (who's name I unfortunately can't remember). I thank all of you for the time you spent with me.
I didn't get any pictures of him or his booth but my neighbour to the right was Aelred, master potter of A's Round Pottery. It was a real treat to hear him joke with his customers and those just walking by:
"These are the pots you're looking for." (said in the best Obi Wan Kenobi voice)
"Come, fondle my pots!"
"The mugs are microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and drunk resistant."
Thanks, everyone!


Lady Arwen of the Silver Rose said...

Good to see women more involved in the bow making process. I'm surprised more people didn't snap up one of Sal's bow blanks. Most people at a war have such a full schedule. If they are not careful they end up dashing from place to place without accomplishing much of anything. I'm glad the weather cleared up for you so you could have a successful even.t

Guy Taylor said...

The weather could well have had something to do with it. There were a couple of days in the middle of the week where it was really too wet to do much but stay in shelter.
Scheduling is certainly another factor. There is so much to do at events like this that it can be a real challenge to fit something unexpected into the mix. Lexi was there to help her mother at her booth and was able to arrange enough free time to get most of the bow finished on her own.