We had an absolute blast at the annual fair of Hernen Castle.
For the second time the castle organized this weekend. A great variety of crafts people and reenactors; bow makers , leather worker, lace maker, blacksmiths, brick makers, card weaver, cooks, woodworkers, embroiders, musicians, basket weavers, luthier, rope makers, tile maker, writers, eel smoker, shopkeepers, storytellers, falconers, spinsters, restorers. They all gathered together to show their activities to the public.
But the best thing happened after the public left. Everybody was invited for a banquet in the great hall of the castle. Long tables with people wearing historical costumes, eating medieval food, telling stories and jokes, having laughs and sharing information… This continues into the late hours.
People from all parts of the country, various walks of life and ages. It’s a nice bunch of misfits, all with different stories and backgrounds. Some of them have been in the field of historical research, reenactment or crafts for years, others just started. But everybody is welcomed with enthusiasm and treated with respect. The common denominator is that they all love what they do and like to share that passion with others. Everybody is very willing to help answering questions and find solutions to problems others have encountered. New finds and research is discussed, and crosslinks between different fields are found. It really feels like a warm bath, meeting like-minded people.
One of the conclusions I could draw again is that craftsmanship is universal, not confined by one craft, material, technique, technology or person. Crafts may be very different, but the passion and expertise is the same.
The other is that there are no secrets, just things we haven’t (re)discovered yet. And that there is no need to be secretive about the things we make. Like the tile maker said: “Over the years I have learned many people to make tiles, but I’m still the only one doing it…” Sharing and passing on information ensures it to endure and grow. While keeping it hidden will be a fast way to let it die out.
Photo’s by Ton Rothengatter, Henk Koster, Hernen Castle and Javaca
Even though it is a bit exhausting, we can’t imagine a better place to be at the first weekend of October. Many thanks to the personnel and volunteers of Hernen Castle, for organizing such a fantastic event.
Put it in your agenda for next year…