Here is a rare glimpse of a Dryad, a shape shifting fairy that can take the form of a tree. These are the Watchers of the Forest, and since the Sidhe rely on the cover of the woods to keep their troops hidden and safe, the Dryads are not to be trifled with. They are not well-disposed to humans given Mankind's abuse of the earth and its resources.
They play a tricks on tree cutters, distracting them away from their tasks. If a lumberjack should cut down a tree in Sidhe territory, it is said in folklore the Dryad will shape shift into a woman and then disappear into tree form when the man give chase. There, alone in the wilderness and cut off, he will meet his fate.
I made this one specifically from an image in my mind after hiking in Rangeley. I'd seen these brilliant greens striations on this kind of stump (I have to link to it because I don't have permission to post it). So, I set out to paint the birch bodice with the same kinds of kelly and dark greens.
The neckline of the bodice is adorned with moss I'd picked from dead stumps in the forest (never from a live tree) and a closed bud of green and white.
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.
This one-of-a-kind fairy dress now lives at Brambles, in Belfast. Be sure to go see their display of all my fairy dresses.
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