Mid-October. Can you feel the energy getting stronger?
The Queen and her rath have had a long, luxurious summer, but now they are busy preparing for their retreat underground. The Queen's Handmaidens are unusually busy, moving her things. Here's one, found taking a rest upon the changing maple leaves.
Here she is, close up. Her skirt is a blush of hydrangea; adorned by brambles and dried roses.
Her bodice is crafted from red birch and white birch collected on our property.
They are like Billie Eilish's voice....fragile, ethereal and then...deadly. Here is one that has every indication of breaking apart in my hand, except that she's hardy and powerful as her mauve colors bleed into fall. The Autumn Fairies.
This time of year Firelight Hydrangea shrub is at its most beautiful. It is from these I make my Queen's Handmaiden fairy dresses.
The bodice is from dried grasses. Here, I'll take the filter off so you can see it closely.
This one and others of this design will be for sale at our craft show this weekend for Maine Craft Weekend.
As we approach the Autumn Equinox, there has been a lot of activity in the woods. The Wee Folk have been gathering all season. Here's one spotted taking a rest.
Her dress is yellow and pale green to blend in with the still green ferns with a yellow applique.
I bought these flowers at the United Farmer's Market of Belfast at one of the farm stands.
The grass sash and dress underskirt accents are called Explosion Grass, which I got from a florist in Blue Hill.
Stitched up the back with pale green thread.
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.
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
It's spring cleaning for the Wee Folk, a time for cleansing and purification; a time for growth and renewal.
These three fairy dresses represent the pagan trinity of The Maiden (youthful enchantment), The Mother (the green and fertile Earth) and The Crone (the wise woman).
All fairies are from the elemental property of air and lightness, represented by plants, herbs, flowers, trees. Both The Maiden and The Mother are made with birch bodices (which is believed in Celtic magic to ward off evil) and dried tulips for dresses (which has properties of prosperity and protection). The Maiden is sweeter and lighter in coloring, whereas The Mother is more sophisticated, containing an underskirt of bramble. The Crone is made from dried grasses for a bodice, a dark bramble skirt and a sash made from the natural lichen-covered ring of tree bark.
Here they are through a special lens, floating among the mossy forest floor. All three will soon be sold together. Stay tuned for more announcements.
The Wee Folk are mostly gentle and beautiful creatures.
This one was found on the side of a road by wild white daffodils. It is made from dried grass, birch and Hydrangea.
When the angels were cast out, some fell to Earth. Those who fell into the forests became the wood-spirits who live there: the hey-men, the wild-men, the forest-men, the wild-women, and the forest-women.
May 1 is a special day, the start of a new season. It's May Day and the powers of The Wee Folk are growing to reach their peak at the summer solstice.
This is the beginning of the passive, feminine side of Nature.
This dress was made from the gift of a rose from a friend. I dried the petals and they came out beautifully as the skirt, matching natural bands of peach in the birch bark. Orange has the power to draw good things and this Lady of the Greenwood is a symbol to offer a gift today, even if it is anonymous.
If you take a walk in the woods today and hear a cluster of birds in the trees; they might be fae. Listen closely. Happy Beltane.
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