Last April at this very time there was a foot of snow still on the ground and it was sleeting. Today on a walk, I came upon skunk cabbage, and upon the spathe was a beautiful fairy of the same maroon color. So crafty was she, I nearly missed her.
Now blooms the lily on the bank,
the primrose down the brad;
The hawthorne’s budding in the glen
And milk-white is the slae
The fairy’s dress is made from various bits from a dried rose bouquet and sewn up the back with magenta thread.
And still, another one was found only steps further. Her sister?
This lovely fairy had on a dress of dried magenta tulip petals and was adorned in lichen across the bodice. Spring came early this year, so the Wee Folk have come above ground sooner than usual.
This lovely fairy was named by my little friend Lexa, 9, who believes in fairies. She held a buttercup under her chin, put the flower in my pocket and asked me to make a fairy and call her Buttercup.
She's made with a birch bodice and bleached yellow tulip petals. Her sash is made with dried wildflowers and of course, adorned by a lone dried buttercup for a corsage.
Dwarfed by a forest of white stalked flora and purple wildflowers, The Queen's Handmaiden is dressed up and ready to serve on a hot spring morning.
This Wee Folk Fairy is made with white birch bodice and a sun bleached hydrangea skirt and adorned with a sash of dried wildflower.
May is when they come above ground and I found this one sunning near a fairy rath in a cemetery.
Among carpets of purple, pink and white on a hot spring morning, the sounds of birds trilling nearby.
This one was made with a bodice of white and red birch, a skirt of dried rose petals and hydrangea and adorned with a sash of spring wildflowers.
I'm experimenting with lovely two-toned dried rose petals. This one was photographed the day after an ice storm turned all branches into brilliant icicles.
The bodice is made from several layers of birch bark, the outer and inner layers.
The applique is a dried petal adorned with a purple bud.
These are so fragile that I'm looking into special deep shadowboxes to contain them.
The fairies are like everyone else: they love a new spring wardrobe. Here are a bunch of teeny fairy and literary altered book dresses (all individually made and one of a kind) that I just brought to Brambles in Belfast. They are $25 each and come with a custom hanger and backstory on my website.
Brambles, 2 Cross Street, Belfast, Maine
They're tricksy. Look at this one camouflaged next to a pot of white tulips.
Made with the dried buds of spring blooms. And here's another one made from a bodice of birch and beech leaf with hydrangea for a skirt.
Each is stitched up the back with thread and comes with a custom bejeweled hanger.
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!
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