This wee door was found in the cleft of a mossy tree.
People think, "Oh cute, a fairy door," but have no concept of its true power. A door to the Otherworld is a very serious thing and not something a human should blithely choose to open.
Before one's hand grasps that little grapevine knob and pushes it open to the deep cleft below, know this: when the Sidhe or the "Wee Folk" construct a door such as this, it is meant only for their kind. It is a portal from The Green World, (the one in which the physical living walk around in) to the Underworld (where the Wee Folk were forced many centuries ago to retreat) but it is also a passage to the Otherworld, an ancient place were the Irish Celts proclaim the dead walk among the living in perfect harmony.
Unless you want to make your choice right here and now about what world you choose to live in, I don't suggest you do anything but admire this door from afar. For if you walk through, the door may close permanently behind you.
Photos and creation by Kay Stephens
Brambles in Belfast is the perfect place for our fairy dresses, which have all been staged hanging off willow branches and anchored by their beautiful stone vases. We've already sold quite a few and they going fast.
Next time you are in Belfast, check them out at 2 Cross Street.
Here is a lovely shot of their exterior by Arline Smart Lamarche
Here is a rare glimpse of a Dryad, a shape shifting fairy that can take the form of a tree. These are the Watchers of the Forest, and since the Sidhe rely on the cover of the woods to keep their troops hidden and safe, the Dryads are not to be trifled with. They are not well-disposed to humans given Mankind's abuse of the earth and its resources.
They play a tricks on tree cutters, distracting them away from their tasks. If a lumberjack should cut down a tree in Sidhe territory, it is said in folklore the Dryad will shape shift into a woman and then disappear into tree form when the man give chase. There, alone in the wilderness and cut off, he will meet his fate.
I made this one specifically from an image in my mind after hiking in Rangeley. I'd seen these brilliant greens striations on this kind of stump (I have to link to it because I don't have permission to post it). So, I set out to paint the birch bodice with the same kinds of kelly and dark greens.
The neckline of the bodice is adorned with moss I'd picked from dead stumps in the forest (never from a live tree) and a closed bud of green and white.
The upper part of the skirt is adorned with Lobaria pulmonaria, a lichen known as "lung moss" thought to be a medicinal remedy for lung diseases. The underskirt is made from green reindeer moss with tufts of Old Man's Beard.
This one-of-a-kind fairy dress now lives at Brambles, in Belfast. Be sure to go see their display of all my fairy dresses.
Another spotting of a sweet beach rose fairy as summer turns to fall.
Her underskirt is perfumed by the rose petals gathered by the sea and the adornments are dried bramble and flowers; she is the sweetest smelling fairy, long after the flowers have gone by. She is a close ally to the Merrow, the sea fairies who communicate with their counterparts on land.
More details up close.
Her bodice is stitched up the back with hot pink thread. Find out more on how to win a Wee Folk fairy through our Instagram page!
While the human world is preoccupied with mid-September mundane thoughts such as: "Time to go back to school; time to get the wood delivery for the winter; time to uproot the garden and fix the driveway before the first frost heaves," the Wee Folk are in their autumnal rejoicing mode. In time for Alban Elved, the Autumnal Equinox, the troop I've been observing for more than two years now, built their queen a majestic throne.
The throne is typical of their elemental architecture. It is constructed with the seat of a mossy alder, the back built like a destroyed spider web with a woven Pentagram for the Queen's protection. As she is the balance between light and dark at this time of year, she is vulnerable to the lower realms and the throne is her seat of safety.
She is the Queen of the Harvest, the giver of prosperity. And all summer, the troop has been hunting and gathering vole, elvers, fish, berries, chokecherries, honey, and acorn bread, and storing it away for their Winter Underground. The Full Corn Moon is coming up and they will be rejoicing all week with feasts and laughter, joy and dancing.
Apart from the mossy and lichen-covered limbs, the throne was built as a tribute to the Queen's loveliness with touches of dried yellow flowers to reflect her own golden hair and curlicues of grape vine to symbolize the change of the grape as it turns to wine when she lifts up her chalice each night to ask the Ancient Ones to bless her troop for another winter season.
My Wee Folk Fairy Dresses have found a new home in Belfast, just in time for the last Friday Art Walk of the summer tonight, August 24. Brambles, at 69 Main Street, is the coolest store for garden and home stuff with lots of earthy offerings.
If you weren't able to catch our Alder & Vine show this past month, you will now be able to view and buy these tiny fairy dresses made from forest materials at Brambles in Belfast.
Usually, I stage my miniature altered book dresses indoors and my fairy dresses outdoors, but when I went for a trail run a few days ago, I came upon the most beautiful patch of Indian Pipes in the woods. Normally they are white, but these are pinkish.
A perfect stand for one of my earliest creations, a dress made from the pages of a manga comic that had been washed in watercolor of pink and purple.
Detail up close
The Banshee plays a special role in the Other Crowd, and usually, she is a benign, if forbidding fairy, in the business of death warnings and the like...
But, as many folk tales from the small rural villages of Ireland can attest, people would do good to remember there is another side to her. Treat her with disrespect or interfere with her duties and she will retaliate.
This is a dark fairy and her pallor is grey. She is made from dried grass and birch with a dried bulb of Queen Anne's Lace as her underskirt, adorned with dead flowers. She is a portal from Man's world at the moment of death to The Other Side.
She may turn her back to you, but do not turn your back to her.
There once was a lad named Connla who lived close to the sea and he came upon a tiny maiden clad in strange attire nestled in a hollowed out branch of driftwood. No bigger than his hand, she wore a bodice of red and white birch, and an underskirt of bramble with dried hydrangea that made it look as though she were part of the underbrush. A spider sat next to her, sunning itself. Startled, he asked "Whence comest thou Maiden?"
"I come from the Plains of the Ever Living," replied she. "Where there is neither death nor sin."
"The ocean is not so strong as the waves of my longing," she continued. "Oh mighty Conn, fighter of a thousand fights. Come with me in my curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. Only wives and maidens live there. If thou wilt, we can seek it and live there alone together in joy."
"Tis hard upon me," then said Connla: "I love my own folk above all thing; but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden."
She turned, exposing the red silk sash that held together her fragile shift and with her, turned the spider, crawling away toward the sea. Connla could resist no more. Away and away, till eye could see no longer, and Connla and Faery Maiden went their way on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did anyone know where they came.
This microstory was adapted from Celtic Fairy Tales, the story of Connla and the Fairy Maiden. (First published in 1892. This edition was published in 1994 by Senate, an imprint of Studio Editions Ltd, England).
These one of a kind miniature fairy dresses are all fashioned by hand in Maine with materials from the woods. Available in select boutiques and on Etsy.
I'm making a few more miniature Flapper Dresses for our first art show, coming up July 27.
This one is from my favorite novel, The Great Gatsby. Like the others in my miniature Flapper series, this is a one-of-a-kind literary art piece from the pages of that salvaged novel.
The pearl appliqué at the top of the bodice mirrors the fabric ribbon at the dropped hem of the skirt, which is further elongated by fringe.
The back of the dress is stitched up with silver thread which complements the overall silver theme. Perhaps I should have made it gold for the Gilded Age? Each dress also comes with its own custom mini hanger. if you love the 1920s and The Great Gatsby, this is a perfect keepsake. If you happen to be in Maine, check out our upcoming show.
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations
Look up the story behind a fairy dress by clicking on the name below