Saturday, February 12, 2005

ORC Report - Lasting Impressions - Xoanon @ 11:25 PST

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Tehanu writes:

It’s almost a month since I got off the plane for that fun, crazy weekend that was the One Ring Convention. A bit late to write up anything about it, but my friend Reginald of Ravenswood Leather reminded me that I was going to say something about them, and since Ravenswood is one of the lasting impressions I got from ORC, that’s what I’ll do.

I was at ORC to celebrate Tolkien and his works and as a founder of TORN. But I’m also a director of Red Carpet Tours, and that meant that I spent most of my time at the Red Carpet stall telling people about our Lord of the Rings locations tours. That turned out to be fun - it’s not hard to find a score of reasons why a Lord of the Rings fan should tour NZ with us. Quite a few people reckoned that a 12-day tour wouldn’t be long enough. No problem - I can give immigration advice too. The more Ringers move to New Zealand, the happier I’ll be.

Our stall was set up opposite Ravenswood Leather, and that grabbed my attention from the moment I walked in to set up. For a start, there was the smell - a rich scent of leather, oil and dye that brings back memories of long-forgotten creative projects of my own. After dabbling in something, it’s a pleasure to see people who’ve mastered a craft completely. I have no doubt that the people who were able to attend the propsmaking and costuming tracks at ORC had the same pleasure. I couldn’t attend, so I enjoyed watching Ravenswood instead.

The thing about the smell of Ravenswood’s stall was that it was something you could imagine finding in Hobbiton or Edoras or Minas Tirith, where there would surely be tanners working their trade. At ORC we were in the middle of a whole lot of flourescent lighting and glass and carpet, but Ravenswood brought in a reminder of an older world. They had long ranger’s coats, jerkins and tunics for swordsmen and archers. Lace-up bodices for women, and long supple leather dresses in jewel colours. Some of the outfits had elaborate metal frogs or ties to fasten them, and were further decorated with contrasting trim.

Streetclothes seem inadequate at an event like ORC, where many people are wearing fantastic handmade costumes. At Ravenswood they’d see the proprietors, Reginald’s family, looking stunning in their tunics and jerkins and bodices. They’d wonder if that stuff would look good on them. I watched women walk into the stall and walk out a few minutes later, transformed. They’d give a delighted twirl in front of the mirror. Suddenly they were part of the exotic fantasy world of ORC!

I ended up buying a bodice. I couldn’t resist the look and feel of it. The leather is heavy yet so supple that it felt like a second skin. Flattering? Apparently so. I can’t think of many occasions to wear it outside of the house - but why not bring a bit of exoticism into my day and swan around the house in a flowing skirt and leather top? I haven’t actually GOT home yet, but the bodice is still in my suitcase, giving its otherworldly, un-modern scent to my boring street clothes.

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