Marketplace Spotlight

Kristin Gallup of KrakenWhip

Kristin of KrakenWhip has been at the Faire for five years and created handmade upcycled leather accouterments for the fairest lady and most dapper lord, including pockets and pouches to be worn in a variety of manner. Pocket belts, shoulder holsters, and ruffle tops are her signature pieces, but she also creates custom pieces for more discerning patrons.

Kristin makes as much as she can using upcycled, repurposed, and recycled materials. She is aware that the fashion industry creates a terrifying amount of waste and she didn’t want to contribute to that.

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Kristin is a self-taught seamstress and leather worker. She has been making fabric clothing and accessories for ten years and has worked with leather for seven years. Since then she has been running her own costuming business with great success!

Kristin was inspired after attending Burning Man where she saw outfits and styles she had never seen before. She was smitten with the alternative clothing style. Upon looking for similar clothing, however, she found that most of the clothing available was 1. very expensive; 2. made for people much taller and more slender than she was; and 3. not made in America. She started to modify some of her existing clothing to fit the desired aesthetic. To get started she borrowed a friend’s sewing machine and had to research how to even use it! Eventually she started taking apart old clothing and figuring out how patterns worked. She learned to modify them and started making her own clothes from scratch. Several friends were interested in buying her styles and that’s when she had to figure out how to scale her patterns for various sizes. She is very good at custom fits. 

Next, Kristin began making pocket belts out of sturdier materials and tried her hand at using old bike inner tubes. This is when she realized that she needed an industrial sewing machine and made her first sizable investment in equipment. This enabled her to expand her materials into truck inner tubes (much sturdier and longer lasting). She wanted to add more color to her creations, so she started researching various eco-friendly leather alternatives. She discovered a whole world of leather offcuts, which are pieces discarded by leather upholstery and cutting companies. These pieces are still perfectly usable and beautiful, so began her foray into the world of leather crafting. So far, it’s been the most popular and best-selling work that she does!

Alwyn L’hoir of Blue Moon

Alwyn has offered Tarot, Palmistry, Astrology, and Gemstone Readings at the Faire for over 40 years. She also specializes in natural perfumes, single notes and blends. Alwyn is truly a Renaissance Woman. When she wanted to add creating natural perfumes to her palette, there were very few, if any, companies creating essential oil perfume blends. So, being something of an autodidact, she studied old books, and did hands on experiments in blending. Blue Moon Perfume started in 1992 and Alwyn continues to create her unique blends today. As to her psychic abilities, it is something that she ‘knew’ how to do, somehow. She has studied with various mystery schools and with teachers of consciousness for 45 years, and her practice in daily meditation helps to hone her tools.

Alwyn joined the Renaissance Faire as a professional psychic in 1980, and it changed the course of her life.

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Mystic Arts:  She has been a student of human potential and conscious evolution for 45 years. Living in a house with a ghost caused her to start questioning the nature of reality, and her search brought her to some unique places. A friend introduced her to a Tarot deck, and somehow she ‘knew’ what to do with them. She studied the deck and learned it’s meaning and language. Alwyn spent four years at an urban ‘new age’ monastery learning the craft of Tarot and Astrology, and moved on to study the nature of consciousness as it pertained to people’s relationship with ‘reality’, and how one is ‘programmed’ to respond by society, and how to ‘deprogram’ one’s relationship with the false ego and to uncover the essential self. She then spent ten years studying with Paul Crockett, who famously deprogrammed some of Charles Manson’s followers freeing them from his domination. She has sat with the Naqshbandi Sufis for the last 20 years deepening her study of the nature of the essential mind. She now uses the techniques she has learned in her readings. Her intent is to help discover where a person might be ‘stuck’ or to illuminate the nature of the present moment, which gives birth to future options.

Perfume:  Alwyn has always loved various perfumes, but became allergic to chemical fragrances. She spent years reading various herbal compendiums for remedies and started growing them in her garden. She started with bath salts and thought they were fabulous, so opened a booth, Blue Moon Bath Salts, adjacent to her reading booth in Black Point in 1992. She expanded into an aromatherapy line that was lauded by bodyworkers and therapists for it’s efficacy. Eventually she created a broader palette and branched into her signature series of natural oil and creme perfumes. Her psychic work has helped her create many scents. Alwyn is inspired by the many gardens she has visited around the world. She works to recreate the emotional energy and headspace of the garden’s collective scent and brings it back to her perfumes.

Blue Moon’s booth at the Northern California Renaissance Faire.

Allen Gray of Sun Leather

Sun Leather has been at the Faires for 25 years making custom & ready made footwear and Renaissance related leather accoutrements including handbags, belts w/ buckles, potion bottles, tankard tops, tankard and chalice straps, sculpted leather wall art, assorted hats and tripod stools.

Allen started sewing at an early age. His mother would let him use her sewing machine to make quilts. He would make the quilts out of denim and old clothing. Later, he learned how to make leather goods from his older brother Rain.

Sun Leather has made hundreds of pairs of boots, thousands of belts, and developed leather products that have become staple items at the RenFaire.

Contact Sun Leather:
Mendocino, CA
Click here to connect on Facebook

In the early seventies when Allen was thirteen his brother put him to work lacing handbags. His brother was doing craft shows up and down the east coast and Allen was very much influenced by him. He followed his brother out to California in 1976 and joined his leather collective. Allen was responsible for creating handbags and wallets, dyeing belts, buffing buckles, and doing his share of retail sales. The leather collective had a Moccasin boot maker, leather seamstress, journal maker and a bronze-worker. Allen learned a lot from all of those talented crafts people.

He has since continued to design and produce custom leather products and footwear. He is known for his assorted hats, belt/flask pouch, drawstring cup cap, blacksmiths cutlery kit, potion bottles and the leather bottle sling.

After a series of “real Jobs” in the eighties he found his passion again for leatherwork and opened a store in Boulder creek for four years. He moved to England with his wife Lezley for at time and in 1995 decided to come back to California and participate in the Renaissance Faires…the rest is History!

Heidi Barthelemy of Pale Moon

Heidi has been representing Pale Moon at the Renaissance Faires for 41 years. Pale Moon carries hand carved bone & horn jewelry by Christopher Miller, etched silver, copper, brass, beaded art by Gino & Judith Schiavone, beaded creations by Sioux Ashe and ChristiAna Richardson & crocheted beaded bracelets by Melissa Erskine. 

Christopher Miller’s carvings and Gino Schiavone’s etched designs have been iconic amulets of the California Renaissance Faires since 1970. Judith, Sioux, ChristiAna, Melissa and Heidi have added color and design to the aesthetic of their art.

The current crop of goodies can be seen on Pale Moon’s Facebook page.

Contact Pale Moon:
Phone: 951-347-1811
Click here to connect with Pale Moon’s Facebook group

Laurie and Dan Hennig
of Hennig Studios

Laurie and Dan Hennig.

The Hennigs have been making pottery together in Boulder Creek for over 40 years. Laurie graduated from SLV High, Class of 1964, Dan grew up in Salinas. Their son, Iver, teaches ceramics at Santa Cruz High and wife, Jennifer, teaches summer ceramics classes at Mountain Arts. Laurie says she and Dan each have “affinities with certain animals…rabbit jugs, lidded dishes.” She leans toward lizards, he’s got a thing for crows. “We used to do piles of lizards,” Laurie said. “They can crawl up a stump or morph into something else.” When the crows start arriving in Boulder Creek and hanging out in the trees, Dan says, “Ok, I’ll start sculpting these guys.” He sees them as pranksters and chuckles, “I saw the funniest thing… there was a big old raven hopping along with a whole pizza box in its beak…”

What distinguishes Hennig family pottery and compels such must-have awe is the whimsical figurative sculpture and fantastic animals adorning all manner of vessels from drinking cups to vases.

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“I like to make stuff, it’s something that Laurie and I need to do,” Dan says. If we spend too much time away from the studio it makes us feel itchy. I love the production aspect, to be there doing the work. We both like the rhythm of making the pottery, working the clay.” Dan looks at Laurie and says, “I wonder how many pieces of art we’ve created since 1972?” “Dan is the glaze master, a great thrower,” Laurie says. “We share ideas. That’s what’s great about clay…every firing is like Christmas: If you get tired with it you just change your focus. It keeps it going forward.”

They use a natural gas kiln to fire the parade of smaller pieces, and a few times a year they’ll use the enormous “car kiln” with a floor that can be rolled in and out on tracks, which makes it easy to load and fire bigger pieces. They’ve just added a much smaller electric kiln to their arsenal, which has a different firing temperature range to allow them to experiment with new glazes and color palettes.

A variety of mugs from Hennig Studios.

The Hennigs spend winters at their studio in Baja, CA where they go to “dry out the bones.” The work they do there is totally different, Laurie says. At home they work in porcelain and stoneware clays, but in Mexico “there’s no clay store,” so they have to process their own low-fire terra cotta or earthenware clay. They’ve settled on a mixed media approach melding pre-fired pottery figures to found metal objects like old oil cans, for instance.

The middle of the summer is when they start making things for Ren Faire and Open Studios. This year they’re skipping Open Studios and plan to be open random Saturdays instead. “We’re not doing as many shows or going out so much, we’ve been putting signs out on the road to let people come to us.” A garden of wonder awaits, where clay figures emerge in animate array from every possible nook.

And staying home gives Dan more time to play reggae and jazz. Laurie jokes that “Dan makes pottery to support his music hobby!” 

Thank you to Julie Horner for allowing us to print this portion of her article to feature the Hennig’s in our Marketplace Spotlight!

(c) 2015 Julie Horner

Julie Horner is an Irish folk musician and writer living in the Santa Cruz Mountains, California. Email: On the Web:

Donna Larson of Blythe Spirits

Donna Larson, owner and operator of Blythe Spirits has been making soaps and lotions for 25 years. The soaps are cold-process and made with olive, avocado, apricot, coconut, shea, hempseed and castor oils. She uses only the finest scented, essential oils and never tires of creating new recipes. As a long-time habitue’ of the Renaissance Faire, it seemed the most logical and fun place to sell her craft.

Contact Donna Larson:
Blythe Spirits
Fine Handmade Soaps & Emollients

Although the directions for making soap are readily available via the internet, the bookstores and/or the library, becoming a maker of truly fine soap takes many years and much dedication.

Donna has been affiliated in one way or another with the Renaissance Faire for nearly 50 years and that is where she decided to begin her life as a soap crafter and share her talents. Her grandmother was her first soap-making teacher and in the ensuing years, she modified and elaborated on the original recipes. As she refined her skills, it was a natural progression to go back “home” to the beloved Renaissance Faire and begin selling from her own little shop. She is constantly experimenting with new scents and combinations to keep her selection creative and fresh. Donna is looking forward to resuming her place in our small village when the plague is banished from this land…we hope to see you all there again next season! Click here to find out more about Blythe Spirits high quality and all natural products.

The fabulous Briton Ensemble provides an impromptu concert at the Renaissance Faire.

Stuart Abelman of Abelman Art Glass

Stuart and his trusty steed, Maeve!

Stuart Abelman has been at the Faire for over 40 years creating beautiful hand blown art glass. Some of his signature pieces include goblets, mushroom lights, planet lights, vases and pumpkins. Stuart uses his own formulas and the finest silica sand to ensure the purest quality glass possible. Each piece is made entirely of hot molten glass and is worked and completed at the furnace. The colors and patterns are formed from the hot glass. Many of the beautiful colors are made with gold, silver and other precious metals.

“I have been working with hot glass for so many years that I am certain it runs through my veins.”

Samples of Stuarts work (fan favorites).
Early studio days at Abelman Art Glass.

Contact the Studio:
Abelman Art Glass
7851 Noble Avenue
Van Nuys, California 91405

A glass blowing demonstration at the Faire.

Stuart Abelman’s artistic ability was recognized at an early age, giving him the opportunity to study sculpture and painting as a young man.  By seventeen he had quite an impressive portfolio. In 1967 he was accepted to Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania as a painting and drawing major. He studied fine art for four years, and in 1971 received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.    

It was in his senior year at Carnegie Mellon University that he first saw the brand new glass department.  It was love at first sight.  He devoted his entire senior year to glassblowing.  Stuart then entered the graduate four-year Master of Fine Arts program at U.C.L.A. and proceeded to study and blow glass for four more intensive years. During this time he was a Teaching Associate at U.C.L.A. and a partner in a small two man glassblowing studio that he helped build in Inglewood California. Stuart received his Master of Fine Arts from U.C.L.A. in 1976.  By this time he had already created a body of work that was finding its way into art shows and galleries.      

While at U.C.L.A., El Camino College called to ask if he would run their glassblowing department.  He did this as well as teaching a ceramics class and developing a flat glass program for them. After several years as a college instructor, Stuart realized that although he loved teaching, he did not have the time to create in glass all of the ideas he found himself constantly sketching.  Stuart had always drawn and doodled on any available scrap of paper, even as a very young child.  As he grew older this even included drawing borders on his college exam papers, but now he found himself drawing ideas for glass on paper napkins in restaurants and on airplane flights.  It was time to start his own studio, so in 1976 Stuart left teaching and started Abelman Art Glass.      

Stuart spent much of 1976 building his studio:  Furnaces, pot furnaces, glory holes (re-heating furnaces), annealing ovens, glassblower benches, etc… and in June of 1977 the first furnace was lit at the Abelman Art Glass studio in Southern California.      

Stuart’s glass pieces are shown in galleries and museums around the world and have become permanent additions to museum, private and celebrity collections here and overseas. The Kobe Museum in Japan has a piece in its collection, and his piece in the permanent collection of the Corning Museum is particularly notable for its infusion of life into a figurative sculpture in glass. Stuart Abelman was the first to bring figurative sculpture to hand blown glass in the new art glass studio movement in the United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.      

Stuart has journeyed through many new frontiers in the American hand blown art glass studio movement including extensive commission work for the movie, fashion, and entertainment industries. Stuart played a 300 A.D. glassblower in a PBS movie, and a glass artist at an art show in a Showtime pilot movie. Special effect shoots at Paramount Studios, the cover of a romance novel, his work chosen by the Los Angeles Olympic committee as a gift for the all around gold medal winner in gymnastics in the 1984 games, and a piece in Disney’s exclusive Club 33, are just a few of the stories that make up his life in glass.