Erin M. Klitzke is the artist behind the work of Jude’s Chest. She is a full-time graduate student in medieval history whose non-academic interests include sewing, reading, writing, science fiction, fantasy, roleplaying, and Renaissance festivals.
About our jewelry
So what’s it made of?
- Well, that depends on the piece in question. Most of the stones, both chips and beads, are natural stone. In many cases, you’re provided with a card that has the type of stones incorporated into the piece you purchased. These cards also contain information on the mystical properties and sometimes the history of the type of stone used. Other materials used in the construction of jewelry include glass and wooden beads (I try to avoid plastic beads when I can), various types of stringing material (including super flexible steel cabling or high-quality beading threads), metal wire (colored or plated, often copper at the core, though some items will have a steel or precious core), and various metal findings (including findings of brass, bronze, copper, gold, surgical steel, pewter, and silver). Recently, I’ve gotten into working with polymer clay as well, which means there will be some beads, pendants, and other things made of polyclay. When in doubt, ask.
How should I take care of these things?
- Treat these items gently, but they are, unless otherwise noted, made to be worn! Avoid the hypersonic jewelry cleaning machines and chemical cleaning mediums. Usually, gently wiping things down with cloth works just fine. Polymer clay and softer materials should not be put on until after application of substances such as perfumes, colognes, body oils, and the like. This said, they’re okay to be worn every day.
About our clothing
Are plus sizes available?
- Without a doubt, yes. Many of the items available from Jude’s Chest are one size fits most with an eye toward fitting a 50″ waist or smaller. The artist’s rule of thumb is that if she can get it on easily, it’ll fit most of her customer base. (The artist has a 46″ bust and a waist to match)
How do I wash it?
- Unless you’re told otherwise, clothing can be machine or hand washed in cold water and dried in your dryer on low. Have caution when washing anything blackworked or otherwise embelished. Be careful of clasps, buttons, and ties.
What’s it made of, anyway?
- Tricky question because it depends on the garment in question. Natural fibers such as cotton and linen are used when available (this is especially true with shirts, which are made almost exclusively of cotton muslin). However, certain materials such as silk and other fibers can be difficult to come by at an affordable price, so some garments may be made entirely of synthetic fibers with a natural look or a blend of natural and synthetic fibers.
I saw something on someone else that I liked. Is it still available?
- There are a lot of things that will be available year after year (the 6 and 8 panel dancing skirts, for example) in the same colors as they were in previous years. Other things, such as the single panel plaid skirts are available only until I run out of the fabric from which I’ve made them–that’s just the way it is, unfortunately, but you can always ask me if I’ve got something similar available.
So do you make all this stuff?
- In a word, yes. There are times when I’ll get help from the lovely (and incredibly able booth helper) Jen, the indomitable Trish, Miss Kristie, or my amazing mother Karen (who is likely to blame for me catching the sewing bug), but usually, I’m the one doing the work.
Alumni red light district? What’s that supposed to mean?
- It all started with Erin and Jude’s Chest and Diane with Dark Goddess Leather Pleasures, soon augmented by Kristie Good and Kristen Getzen’s Peasant’s Emporium a few years later. Since those early years after 2005, more alumni have been added to the roster of the “red light district.” Each alumni booth displays some kind of red candle at the Grand Valley State University Renaissance Festival, denoting their status as alumni of the university and of the festival organization. It’s not that the products are racy (though Diane does deal in leather, including her famous hand-crafted handcuffs), it’s just that we somehow hit upon the idea of a “red light district” to denote alumni vendors.
Where do your prices range?
- For jewelry, prices range from as low as $6 (earrings) to $75 (some of the more complex/high-end material necklaces). For garb, items tend to range from $20-$125 (cloaks and more complex pieces are at the high end). Geekery items run the gamut and are priced accordingly, sometimes as low as $5.
How do I request a custom piece?
- Simply leave me a note here or shoot me an e-mail at athensmcleod (at) hotmail (dot) com. Make sure you put “Commission” in the subject line! If I don’t think I’m quite capable of producing what you’re requesting, I’m more than willing to point you toward someone who possibly can.