Jannelle Olmstead and Joe Guarnere get to live in a fantasy world for part of the year! They are a part of the The Maryland Renaissance Festival, just outside of the Baltimore/DC area, where they sell Renaissance-themed costumes and accessories that Jannelle sews or that Joe makes out of wood. They live in the upstairs of this cute permanent building that they purchased:
Although this lifestyle sounds idyllic, it involves massive production throughout the year to make enough stock for the tourist season. They also have a shop on Etsy which can become depleted during their busy seasons.
Janelle made renaissance wedding dresses for several years before they started doing the festival circuit. Now her main staple is a line of purses and bags that have the historical reference, but which are sturdy and functional, including bags for cell phones, ipads and laptops.
I have quite a few patterns for historical garments and long to translate my own ideas rooted on the past like this, but don’t feel like my skills are up there yet. I admire her careful finishing and professionalism so much! I think that I would need to stick to the caveman era, with no pleats, darts or worries about how things drape…
Jannelle, on the other hand, would like to loosen up and do some more experimental work with art quilts. She shows some examples and talks more about her ideas in an interview that we did on our TAFA blog: Something Else Studio Feature. Maybe we should trade places! (Ha!)
She made the garments for her son and daughter-in-law when they got married.
Jannelle is a member of TAFA: The Textile and Fiber Art List, our sister site, where the focus is, obviously, on the textile world. One of the things that really excites me about Artizan Made is that now we will also be able to get to know Joe a bit better.
Joe has been making wood products for over 50 years and I, for one, would love to see pictures of his studio and learn more about him. Maybe we can get him to tell us his story and show us some of what inspires him in the wood world.
For Something Else Studio, Joe makes chests that look like houses and smaller wooden accessories, like pocket mirrors. Wood and fabric are such a great combination in a couple! Having these skills and seeing their proficiency in them honors the true meaning of craftsmanship, a life-calling that leads to becoming a master, a teacher and a leader. I am sure that having this passion has informed their long friendship, marriage and partnership.
You can connect with them through their website, Etsy shop, or Facebook page. Make sure to leave a comment for them here, too, as I am sure they would be pleased! The best, of course, would be to see them live, in fantasy land! So, if you are in the area, make sure to schedule that in when it’s in season!