From my perspective, one of the highlights of every con is the vendor room. As usual, I was pulled in by the vendors’ siren song of at Midwinter. At first glance, I wasn’t all that impressed with the vendor room. When compared to other cons I’ve attended, like Anime Boston, which has a giant hall with hundreds of tables, the smallish ballroom of 38 vendors was unimpressive. Upon further examination, I changed my mind.
The vendors were a variety of mostly smaller, individual crafters as opposed to larger retailers selling mass produced products like posters, magic cards, etc. They were selling all types of wares that would be of interest to gamers with a variety of interests including stuffed dice, weaponry and various steampunk items. I will admit to being a girly-girl, so my own personal focus was more toward the ornamental as opposed to weaponry.
I purchased items from a number of vendors, and sharing my favorites with you. In my opinion, the most talented vendor was LisaSell, a 2D and 3D artist who is a magician with resin. Lisa Sell, the owner, makes gorgeous resin masks from obviously laboriously hand-carved molds, with breathtaking results. I had spent most of my money by the time I arrived at her table, but I happily plunked down $25 for two smaller pieces (a beautiful steampunk metal fascinator and a resin steampunk charm). Luckily, Lisa also has an ETSY store (also called LisaSell) where I can purchase one of her lovely masks once I’ve saved up my pennies.
Another favorite vendor was Tops It Off – Custom Crochet Shop, owned by Mimi Refici, from Kenosha, Wisconsin. She makes and sells wonderful, winter, geeky creations including but certainly not limited to pokeball hats, a batman hat complete with a mask to cover the wearer’s eyes, and a variety of other characters. If she doesn’t have the exact item you want, I understand that she can make anything (based upon what I saw, I believe it). I fell in love with an adorable hippo hat and hard warmers that I’ve worn pretty much every day. If you can’t wait until the 2018 Midwinter Gaming Convention, you can contact her on her Facebook Page, Tops it Off – Custom Crochet.
If I had one complaint about the vendor room, it would be the jewelry. Practically every vendor selling jewelry carried some form of chainmail necklaces and bracelets. There was else to choose from, other than the not necessarily geeky beaded jewelry, although I did see one vendor selling a variety of jewelry with bones (or resin looking bones).
My final shout out goes to the Mobile Stress Relief Unit, who did a fabulous job of massaging away my aches and pains. In general, I have to declare the vendor room a success.