The tree peepers were vocal for the first time last night. That led me into the woods to search for any signs of The Wee Folk
I didn't have to walk far in the back of our woods. A miniature potting bench was in plain sight.
The bench itself was flaked with pine bark, a concealing form of craftsmanship.
Complete with tiny tools, clay pots, seeds and a wee watering can.
'Tis one of a kind and will soon be available at Brambles, a home decor shop in Belfast.
See that there? It takes awhile, but I've learned to spot them, the Wee Folk that hide in my back woods.
This is a Dryad, a shape shifting fairy that can take the form of a tree. These are the Watchers of the Forest and they hide in the cover of the woods to search out spots for the troop to inhabit once they come up from the Underground.
Here she is in a better angle.
I made this one specifically from a beautiful old mossy stump I'd seen after hiking in Rangeley last fall and painted the birch bodice with the same kinds of kelly and dark greens.
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 for the corsage and pink bud.
Each fairy dress has its own custom bejeweled hanger and is stitched up the back with thread.
All fairies are from the elemental property of air and lightness, represented by plants, herbs, flowers, trees.
Orange (tiger) lilies symbolize confidence, pride, and wealth. And this little Spring Maiden fairy was made from them with red birch bark as her bodice. And birch represents the symbol of new beginnings, regeneration, hope, new dawns and the promise of what is to come.
I made her with beech leaf fairy wings.
Each one of these miniature fairies are made from all found natural materials and are one-of-a-kind. A new troop of them are being made for Brambles, a magical shop in Belfast, which carries my Wee Folk fairy dresses.
Right on time (March 21) a pair of sisters were spotted by the sea. Though some fairies live in the hills or barrows, I found a matriarchal society of The Wee Folk in the woods near the sea in Maine two years ago and have been documenting them ever since. It is said one can see fairies by looking through a stone with a natural hole in it.
This is the time of year that they begin to emerge from their subterranean residence deep below the snow-covered hills. They sense that the light has changed and with the air warming every day, these maiden sisters were out gathering the tiny shoots of crocuses.
These lovelies were made from roses given to me on Valentine's Day and I made sure their value would not be thrown away.
Each is stitched up the back with purple thread. The whimsical hanger is adorned with a teeny jewel that matches the color of each dress. Oh, and that's the Camden hills in the background.
Sunning on a bed of crocuses. It's truly the start of Spring!
This time of year one never sees The Wee Folk, but on this bitter February day in Maine (16 degrees out) one was spotted. This fay was scouting out new places for the fairies to make their homes once the snow clears and they can come up from the Underground.
Made from green plants whose leaves had begun to fade, this dress has a moss skirt and dried flower applique. The wings naturally curled as they dried as if in flight.
Just a hint of red from the decaying plant leaves sets off the beautiful green. This fairy is a reminder that spring is coming.
This fairy door has a natural heart inside it from the curl of grapevine.
Adorned with natural moss from our property, it is a portal to the Otherworld.
This is the small one (2 inches) with a grapevine handle
They can be found on our Etsy page.
On a fresh rind of snow in Maine, a fairy chair appeared.....
Its sturdy legs and back are made from my favorite tree, red maple, whose branches are long and straight.
It stand five inches tall, made from all natural materials from the forest on our property. The chair's fragile back rest and rails are grapevine which I collected from various locations in Camden, Maine. (I look like a crazy person, picking withered grapevine tendrils from latticework on buildings but ehhhh...it's a hobby.)
Mossy bark of the chair's seat and the mossy details were collected from dead trees. Bits of dried hydrangea flower and Usnea provide the finishing touches.
For the person who loves trees and all that they provide, this is a beautiful gift for the Wee Folk, to leave outside under a red maple tree. (All of the materials are impervious to the weather.) Or as a collectible on your window shelf, to let a little bit of nature shine through on these long winter months.
Go online and you'll see many commercial renditions of a fairy door. They look like miniature human doors, maybe with a whimsical touch.
But, these teeny doors are not just physical points of ingress and egress; they are symbolic of the Wee Folk's eternal struggle with human nature. Fairies used to be our height and dominate areas of green pasture and meadow many centuries ago before humans, in their selfish conquest to possess certain lands, drove them underground.
The truth is, they are portals to the Otherworld. A place no human would ever want to go, for if you do breech protocol, they will keep you out of spite for eternity.
I know it is tempting to try to turn that corkscrew handle of grapevine and just send it creaking on its hinges to see what it is inside.....
But, look around. You think you're alone in the forest and the only one to discover a fairy door? They're waiting, watching...to see if you'll pass it unmolested or be tempted to open the door.
This door was made by Tonic of The Woods from tiny birch and grapevine, and real moss from our property. It is one-of-a-kind and can be found at Brambles in Belfast. If you want a custom door, contact us through Etsy.
The new year is a constructive time for the Wee Folk. This is when they build and create.
Here: a tiny sled led by a team of white mice to take provisions to a neighboring rath of the The Snow Queen.
The runners of the sled curve up high to meet the crystalline snow. The birch seat is adorned with moss and lilac.
It is a beautiful day after a stormy messy night and perfect conditions to skate across a glassy pond.
The Queen invited a visiting King to join the rath on this Holy Night of Christmas Tide.
Man believes that the world is just a little bit more wondrous the Night Before.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, no witch has power to charm,
So hallow'd and gracious is the time. --Hamlet I.i
This is the one night of reprieve for Mankind. The one night that The Queen and King on their thrones, command the rath--the hunters, gatherers, the sentinels, the Fairy Nurse, not to trick or tease humans in their homes, nor snatch their weans from their cradles and replace with changelings. Nature is to be revered on this night when no wickedness roams the earth, and no fairies take their toll.
On a windless afternoon on a frozen Maine lake, this pair of wee sovereign chairs were spotted.
This night there would be feasts and candle lighting, merrymaking and quick laughter, for these Good People were celebrating as well. Celebrating all that Nature has given them and vowing to protect Her from those who spoil her forests and waters. For on this night, this Holy Night of Christmas Tide, they will not fight. There will be peace.
Fairy Chairs and concepts by Kay & Justin Stephens Adapted from this folklore: http://www.holytrinitygerman.org/xmascustoms.html
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations
Photos, stories and concept ©Kay Stephens
Look up the story behind a fairy dress by clicking on the name below