Our next secret decoder of the interworkings of CatSoCo is the one and only Staples! There’s no one simple way to describe him, but he, too, was interviewed, so it’s best to let him speak for himself:
1. When did you meet Annie and find out about CatSoCo?
I believe the year was 2009. It was at the New Paltz May Fair. I was trying vending chain maille, and learned that didn’t work for me for many reasons, and met her and a few others. It was a wonderful weekend. Then I hung out with her later that year at NYRF at her booth.
2. How long have you been using their products?
3. What is your favorite product?
Soap. generally Lavender, Oatmeal, Pine Tar (anything pine smelling I love)
4. What is your favorite fragrance?
Pine, Cedar, Lavender.
5. What do you do at NY Ren Faire?
I used to work, because it was the only way I could afford to attend, with the horrible economy and all. Then I discovered a volunteer group that, with a small fee and volunteer duties, you got a pass. When that was ended, I now, and continue to, help small artisan vendors in whatever way I can. I walk in the parade because it’s fun. I bake fancy artisan bread and bring it to share at the Catskill Soap Shop. I try to use my photography hobby to capture the joyful smiles all around Fair and share them on my “Staples MacGyver” FB fan page. This past year, I discovered by accident a new fun thing that brings smiles to kids faces, tires them out, and makes their parents happy. I dangle a long bamboo pole with a squeaky heart on the end and let them chase it around in circles. But I also still do parade and help vendors.
6. What’s your sign?
Taurus. But I’m not much into astrology more than the fun of it. Though… I have been known to bull my way around… gotta work on that.
7. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I was always a cat person, and only a cat person, when I met Annie. Then 3 summers ago, my neighbor dumped a 1.5 year old Pitt Bull in my hands and I couldn’t just give him away, so I gave it a try and we made a fast bond.
My dog, Dude, gets along great with my cats and we all sleep on the same bed together.
8. What is your second favorite product?
Slather. I shave my bald head, and I find that it’s a wonderful aftershave.
9. What did you have for dinner tonight (5/10)?
10. How did you get the nickname “Staples”?
I do not come from money, so out of the desire to have certain things and no money, I made.
1st grade – I made a Bow out of a branch and kitchen twine, and an arrow out of a craft dowel rod I probably snuck from my moms craft bin, and an arrowhead from a corn cob holder that had a hollow handle that fit on the end of the stick and I cut the stick and inserted paper in lieu of feathers. And I shot it at a cardboard box.
Same year, I remember wanting a stuffed toy that I could throw at my brothers, so I asked my mom to sew me a cube. She didn’t understand the pattern so I drew a “t” shape and she cut and sewed it and showed me how to stuff it and finish it by hand. First “Companion Cube”
2nd Grade – Mom got me a learner’s sewing machine and taught me to sew on paper without string, then with string, then with fabric. then she mumbled that she was going to need to think of an actual project. I suggested a cover for the sewing machine. Mom thought that was too difficult but I knew that I knew what to do so I pestered her for the fabric and she gave me some old denim or something and I made a cover… then my mom stated “wow, I can’t teach you any more, but I do have to show you patterns” So I picked out a backpack pattern and I made that. I don’t like patterns. I barely ever use them. But I still sew
3rd Grade – I cut apart a fabric beanie bag and used it as a pattern to make dozens of multi colored beanie bags and sold them at school.
4th grade – I wanted a hammock, couldn’t afford a $100 hammock. So I went to the library and had a book about making hammocks ordered from another library and taught myself all about hammocks. To pay for the wood spreader bars, I helped a family friend Sheetrock a spare bedroom and he gave me the wood and cut it to size. My dad helped me drill the holes and I wove the hammock from macrame cord my dad got at a garage sale. since, I’ve woven well over 20 hammocks and still do every few years.
Ok, “Staples” : Since I craft and create out of necessity, and early on at fair I struggled for money, but wanted a pirate hat, I tried a technique that I stumbled on when I had made a book for my brother the prior year. I didn’t have enough leather for the back cover, so I took scraps of leather and wanted to stitch them together, but they wouldn’t cover the back, so I gave them gaps, and used spare chain maille rings that I was using on the spine of the book, to keep the leather scraps apart. It looks killer still. something out of a horror film
So I took that Idea and tried it on a pouch hoping a shape would hold. I walked into fair one day with my new sporan, and the leather lady ran up to me, fell to her knees and grabbed my sporan and declared her love for it.
I then had the confidence to try it on a hat* and the rest is history.
Staples and his handiwork
*(said hat is visible in the featured photo in this post’s thumbnail, as well as the center photo above)
Thank you very much, Christopher, aka Staples! You’ve been a most interesting subject. We look forward to seeing what more you come up with when the Faire season is upon us and under way.
Stay tuned for other Spotlights on our inner realm and those who inhabit it, plus more information on our products, services, activities, and more. We haven’t even gotten started yet!
‘Til the morrow, dearest kindred souls,
Fare thee well,
Team CatSo/ZoCo ❤