Here is a beauty to behold. Five years ago, I found a matriarchal society of The Wee Folk in the hills, barrows and woods near the sea in Maine and have been documenting them ever since. The Spring Maiden is seen early this year--usually found in March or April. This fairy is the reveler in the rath, with a gown of tulips to welcome the green grass and new buds on the trees.
She's made from dried tulip petals I got for Valentine's Day, a birch bodice and a sprig of moss and hydrangea flower for a corsage. Stitched up the back with purple thread for an extra pop of color.
An additional decoration is the stamens from two different colored tulips.
Seen here lounging in the snow.
After a winter storm in Maine, this fairy appeared upon a fir bough. She is a moon deity and her role in the rath involves change, intuition, magic, visions. She is a seer, and the Queen depends on The Snow Angel to read the air and earth and tell when spring will arrive so they can leave their underground quarters and emerge into the woods once again.
This dress is a hybrid of my Wee Folk dress and my literary dress styles. Ironically, I found a life-size version on this dress in Belfast, Maine at Northwoods Gourmet Girl, a home goods and food store. You can see the same birch bodice, a tulle skirt and wings.
Made from birch, tulle, and silk petals with real feather wings.
Pictured here in one of handmade open-air shadowboxes.
The Fairy Healer is a valuable member of the rath, for she wears a dress of Usnea, an antibiotic and anti-fungal lichen. When members of the Troop get sick in the winter, they make teas from her dress.
Her bodice is made from layers of birch bark and her corsage is a hydrangea flower.
The Queen's Handmaiden serves as one of her many ladies-in-waiting.
This Wee Folk Fairy is made with white birch bodice and a hydrangea skirt that turned a beautiful mauve color in the fall.
(Dried manna grass bodice, hobblebush skirt)
Sentinels are, like the Amazons, a tribe of warrior females who protect the raths or "forts," the ancient fortifications in fields encircled by ditches. The Sentinels are always watching for human interference. They are most keen to keep Man away from the sacred fairy dens, so beware.
I'm going back to my roots on this creation as it is more earthy than the other prettier ones. But these are the true fairies, the elemental ones.
Adorned with hydrangea and a bit of bleached out tree lichen and Usnea.
Sitting pretty here on a frozen clump of evergreen.
These are the Sociable fairies, the Sidheog, who reside in the forest, in their ancient fortifications, or "royalties" as they are known. For they have one true Queen, whom they are devoted to and serve. In three years I've been secretly observing these Wee Folk, I've never seen the Queen.
They come out this time of year dressed in their pagan colors, of wine, green and white.
They know I'm there, but they allow me access because I admire them and they aren't so different from us; they preen when they dance. They look over their shoulders to see if I'm still watching.....
And here are two tree toppers, my Flapper Angels.
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.
Here are two new iterations of Lady of the White Thorn and The Queen's Handmaiden
It's several days before the Winter Solstice and they are above ground catching the dawn light, which melds with their creamy, tawny colors.
Each one I make of a certain series is completely unique. It may have the same materials, but each is crafted with a slight variation. This dress has a fern sash, a sepal applique and the back of the bodice is layered with poplar leaf.
And here, you have another version of The Queen's Handmaiden.
Here, I found the perfect curlicue to augment the dress for The Queen's Handmaiden.
All of these new dresses will soon be available at Brambles in Belfast and we will soon be working on an art series of dresses and photos for a gallery. Note: all designs and photographs © Kay Stephens
Walk deep into the forest on these late days in December and look closely. On the tops of evergreen sit these little wonders.
We are almost upon the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, a turning of the earth force tides.
If you pay attention, you'll see this fairy, whose reindeer moss skirt and red-berried lichen applique, are a tribute to the season of Yule. The colors of red, white and green, symbolize the merry Meet of the Fairy Gods and Goddesses.
Sewn up the back with green thread, this fairy makes a lovely ornament for your Solstice or Christmas tree.
After another nor'easter blew through, piling up two feet of snow everywhere in Maine, there were pockets of arctic blue in the snowbanks when I happened upon this one, hiding.
I had a closer look and confirmed that indeed, I'd found a wee Witch Hare, tucked amongst the banks.
Click here to see the story of the one I'd found last spring. This one, made from dried grass bodice and a gone-to-seed cattail skirt is adorned with dried field flowers. She is one of the "Others" and I suddenly grew cold as the snow. She did not care for me looking down at her and so I walked away.
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