Stephen Crane's short story "The Blue Hotel" published in 1898, is about an Irish man who gets in trouble with other inhabitants of the Palace Hotel in rural Nebraska and believes they are trying to kill him. Crane’s use of vivid colors is evident throughout the story. To pay tribute, Justin has painted watercolors on these altered book pages, which have been made into miniature dresses.
This one is more stark, adorned with a white ruffle and blue beads and a white sash.
This one uses hints of red, white and blue (not intending to be patriotic) and is adorned by feather and bead bling.
I've made miniature dresses as gifts for my friends as little tokens. I've given them to remind someone to hold on to hope, to celebrate someone's birthday, and to bring a moment of joy. Now, I've made them specifically to give as a bridal shower or wedding gift.
These one-of-a-kind dresses have been made specifically to give to someone in your life who is about to get married.
The bodice is constructed with carefully chosen wording (taken from a wedding ceremony) with one line prominent: "Knowing that day would lead to this one." The skirt is made from tulle and silk rose petals and decorated with miniature pearls. Each comes with its own custom hanger.
This other design also lends itself to a beautiful wedding or bridal gift. This particular one-of-a-kind dress is made from an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem.
It has a tulle and silk petal skirt with fairy feather wings and comes with its own handcrafted hanger. Soon, I'll be making these designs from the Kahil Gibran's classic poems and writing.
I listen to music and almost become meditative when I make these. They are miniature art pieces that sell for $35-40 each. If you are interested in one for yourself or a friend, please contact me. I can ship them.
Tonic of The Woods now has a physical location! We can be found at the Red Barn Marketplace off Route One heading toward Lincolnville. Open Wednesdays through Sundays from 8 am to 4 pm. By Memorial Day, you'll be able to grab one of Katie's famous cookies or scones in the gourmet bakery.
This is what I initially started with: a glass case with light blue velour padding and a barn board base turned around.
Scavenging moss, bits of rotted trees and rocks from my woods, I created a miniature fairy rath inside the case. A fairy rath is a raised mound of earth, typically in a farmer's field encircled by stones and is widely believed in Ireland (to this day!) to be a sacred dwelling of fairies. Therefore, anyone who disturbs this space or bulldozes it will invite the vengeance of the Wee Folk.
Next to the fairy rath is a low tree from which the Wee Folk dresses hang. As lore has it, fairies love to romp and dance all night long. Here the dresses await them to come back from trooping about during the day.
The Wee Folk are said to be fallen angels, fallen from grace. In the back, a Dark Angel dress belongs to the Queen's warrior, made of dried grass, lichen and wings of turkey feathers. At night, she flies the perimeter of the rath, watching for enemies, such as cats, mischievous children or the heavy step of Man. In the forefront, the Queen's dress is ready for her to step into it, made of birch and dried hydrangea.
Besides Wee Folk dresses, I also make literary dresses from iconic short stories and novels. Seen here are my "Bodice Ripper Ballet Dress" series and a steampunk dress made from William Gibson's Neuromancer. More dresses will be added to the case after our Book Arts Bazaar.
The corner of the case is reserved for Justin's miniature watercolor paintings and handmade furniture as well as our literary shadowboxes, coming soon. This nightscape was done imagining the beach nearby. He crafted the tiny easel, as well as the palette and brush to go with it.
Above the case are mini art installations using the dresses. To the left is a manga comic book dress I made enclosed in an industrial light fixture. To the right is a Bodice Ripper Ballet Dress entombed in a vintage glass cloche. The piece is called "Escape." (If you look closely at the dress, that word is prominently displayed.)
The base of the case is perfect for selling signed copies my book, The Ghost Trap, as well as other second hand books and odd knick knacks such as that Prohibition-era tonic bottle and the clamp I got from Liberty Tool that functions as a cool photo display.
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations