And now we’re on to the third installment of my feature on dragons at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival! (If you missed any of the earlier posts, you can see them here.) These are dragon ear pieces from the King of the Crowns jewelry shop. The winged dragon curls around the shell of one ear, and the small cuff clips on the other, and both have dangling charms for a beautiful asymmetrical look. Like everything in this shop, they come in a variety of colors and styles. This is where I got my elf ears this year!
I’ve wanted elf ears for years, but when I had long hair, I would always treat myself to a fancy Fest hair braiding instead. (That picture is from 2015, and it is me, but the light is making my hair look dark. And yes, I’m carrying my wand in my hair.) I can’t get fancy braids anymore, but my fancy ears will last more than three days!
King of Crowns has a gorgeous shop at the top of a hill in the Fest grounds where they sell all sorts of jewelry. Here are some more samples of the elf ears with designs of flowers, Celtic knots, gems, and even steampunk gears!
Here’s a closer look at the flower ears like the ones I’m wearing. Mine are in light blue to match the blue outfit I’ve been pulling together for a few seasons now. At the bottom of the picture you can see the ones that are just flowers without the pointed elf ears, if you don’t want to be too geeky! 😉
King of the Crowns is also well known for its delicate and colorful crowns, tiaras, and circlets, which you’ll find for purchase on their website. These below are called Floral Tiaras, and the center gem is supposed to hang down between your eyebrows.
These are the Princess Tiaras, more like a tradition crown, and like everything in the shop they come in gold and silver with a rainbow variety of colored accents.
King of Crowns also sells tons of rings — this is just a small sample, some with designs in silver, some with precious stones.
I wish the steampunk gears and wings designs in this next weren’t so blurry, but somehow the dragons at the bottom are in sharp focus! These don’t have fancy dangling accents like the ones at the top of the post, in case you want to go for ‘subtle dragon ears.’ 😉
You can find King of Crowns at Fest every year if you want to pick up some ears or rings, and you can go to their website King of the Crowns to purchase a variety of circlets and tiaras online in between festivals!
Next up we have Isms Butterfly Conservation and Rescued Art, found at a shop just inside the Queen’s Gate with a large sign out front that reads, “Yes they’re real. No we didn’t kill them.” This is owner and artist Holly Ulm at the shop counter. (Her ‘wingman’ Gregory Sisco wasn’t at the shop the day I stopped by. While this was Holly’s original idea, the couple now create art together.)
Holly spent months refining her own unique process of preserving real butterfly wings to use in her amazing jewelry and artwork. After receiving the naturally deceased butterflies and working her magic, she writes that the wings come out “waterproof, non-toxic, fade resistant, lightweight, and delightful to touch … [with] amazing iridescence and prisms in sunlight.”
For this Fest series I had every intention of only using my own photographs, but I was really unhappy with how a lot of my Isms pictures turned out! So here’s a sample of the drop earrings you can get from Isms Etsy shop.
Holly also creates framed artwork with the preserved wings, and she had a few dragon models that immediately caught my eye, of course! The first is my own photo, the set of three below are from Isms’s Etsy shop.
Aren’t those neat? So, as the sign says below, these are “Real butterfly wings, neither plucked nor slain.” In the smaller print, it reads:
If thy art real, and thou hath not slain them… Where dost thou get thy butterflies?
These butterflies have completed their life cycle, and died of natural causes. Butterfly conservation farms sell them to us to fund their repopulation, habitat preservation, and restoration efforts, which primarily involve endangered butterfly species. In addition, Isms donates 10% of all sales to conservation.
Another great part of Isms’s business model is the fact that, as you might be able to read in the bottom left corner of the photo above, “All shadow boxes for framed artwork are handmade by a disabled veteran of war.” Holly and Greg are really serious about “working for the greater good!” Besides dragons, Holly draws all sorts of art and then adds butterfly wings for that extra flair, like these kittens.
The dragons and the winged kittens are my favorite, though. As cute as they are, though, I always have to remind myself that my own furkids make enough trouble as it is, I can’t imagine the headaches I’d have if they had wings too!
You can check out the Isms Etsy shop to learn more about Holly’s impressive journey and how she arrived at her Three Life Lessons: (1) Choose your life, (2) Find the best solution possible, and (3) Love, and give thanks. You can also follow Isms on Facebook and enter their weekly “Win Some Wings Wednesday” contest!
And finally, here are a few photos from Jewelry by Da’oud, which I’d hoped to work into the birthstones post last week, but decided they fit better here. The artist Da’oud himself was back in California, but he sends artists and salespeople to run his shops at festivals all across the country.
When I took these photos I knew I had the October (Opal) birthstones post coming up, so I was excited to see these brilliant Ethiopian Opal rings in Da’oud’s shop!
On his website, Da’oud writes “When entering our booth you will find a wide array of gift items, from hand beaded ear rings and necklaces to lovely diamond rings expertly created to encourage your beloved to say ‘YES.'” Here are some of those diamond rings!
Well, there you go — three more artists from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and once again only one without any dragons to speak of! I’m really loving this series, and I can’t wait to show you more images from the artists who were gracious enough to let me share their artwork with you.
But as I mentioned, I didn’t want to turn this into “all Fest, all the time” website, so next week come back for a quote about writing and my musings on the same, and the week after that, some Halloween dragons and perhaps a glimpse of my own costume — I decided to go all out this year, and it’s a geeky cosplay I can actually use all year round and for years to come!
Thank you as always for reading, take care, and stay creative!!
Almost all the photos in this post were taken by me at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, Minnesota (just south of Minneapolis) on Saturday, September 29, or Sunday, September 30, 2018;
+ except the few photos indicated that are from Isms Etsy Shop