On a fresh rind of snow in Maine, a fairy chair appeared.....
Its sturdy legs and back are made from my favorite tree, red maple, whose branches are long and straight.
It stand five inches tall, made from all natural materials from the forest on our property. The chair's fragile back rest and rails are grapevine which I collected from various locations in Camden, Maine. (I look like a crazy person, picking withered grapevine tendrils from latticework on buildings but ehhhh...it's a hobby.)
Mossy bark of the chair's seat and the mossy details were collected from dead trees. Bits of dried hydrangea flower and Usnea provide the finishing touches.
For the person who loves trees and all that they provide, this is a beautiful gift for the Wee Folk, to leave outside under a red maple tree. (All of the materials are impervious to the weather.) Or as a collectible on your window shelf, to let a little bit of nature shine through on these long winter months.
Go online and you'll see many commercial renditions of a fairy door. They look like miniature human doors, maybe with a whimsical touch.
But, these teeny doors are not just physical points of ingress and egress; they are symbolic of the Wee Folk's eternal struggle with human nature. Fairies used to be our height and dominate areas of green pasture and meadow many centuries ago before humans, in their selfish conquest to possess certain lands, drove them underground.
The truth is, they are portals to the Otherworld. A place no human would ever want to go, for if you do breech protocol, they will keep you out of spite for eternity.
I know it is tempting to try to turn that corkscrew handle of grapevine and just send it creaking on its hinges to see what it is inside.....
But, look around. You think you're alone in the forest and the only one to discover a fairy door? They're waiting, watching...to see if you'll pass it unmolested or be tempted to open the door.
This door was made by Tonic of The Woods from tiny birch and grapevine, and real moss from our property. It is one-of-a-kind and can be found at Brambles in Belfast. If you want a custom door, contact us through Etsy.
The new year is a constructive time for the Wee Folk. This is when they build and create.
Here: a tiny sled led by a team of white mice to take provisions to a neighboring rath of the The Snow Queen.
The runners of the sled curve up high to meet the crystalline snow. The birch seat is adorned with moss and lilac.
It is a beautiful day after a stormy messy night and perfect conditions to skate across a glassy pond.
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 was pouring like a mother outside yesterday, so I couldn't photograph these outside. This one is another version of my Yule Fairy made with reindeer moss an teeny berries.
This one is the Forest Fairy, whose lichen skirt was found on one of my walks through Tanglewood. Her bodice is made from several dried grasses, which give it a nice gradient green color, a bit of usnea and hydrangea for the applique.
This one is a variation of The Queen's Muse, the poet that alights above the rath during the day, to gather verse for the court for their evening's entertainment below.
This one is made from both birch and two kinds of dried grasses with a tawny reindeer moss, a bit of dried fleece flower for the sash and hydrangea for the applique.
All of these were taken to Brambles in Belfast. But if you want any of these custom made for you, request one on our Etsy page.
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
Fairies don't exist they'll tell you.
But then you've never heard the true tale of the white thorn, a special tree in County Clare that sat alone in a vast meadow of green. Workers refused to cut it down, for it was the site of a fairy dwelling.
This tiny fairy is the protector of such trees, for they are the portals to the Wee Folk. She is their eyes and ears and sits upon the branches of the white thorn, bedecked in birch and the dried petals of a white rose.
Every part of the flower is her garb.
Her skirt is the color toasted marshmallow.
Her bodice is stitched up the back with off white thread. Go to our Etsy page to order a custom Lady of the White Thorn fairy dress for yourself.
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.
Another of the Queen's Handmaidens comes up from the rath to sun herself on an evergreen. It's nearing the time of Solstice, when they cling to the branches of pines and sing for the Goddess of Cold Darkness.
This one is made from grass and birch bodice and an underskirt from the palest pink/tawny petals of dried Hydrangea.
"Green is for the newborn Lord of the Forests, the Divine Sun Child who comes once more for the World."
Summer is long gone. The fields are covered in a light dusting of snow. But the Beach Rose Fairy still holds endless summer days within her.
Made from birch bark and dried beach rose buds collected in Camden, Maine by the harbor, the little fairy dress is adorned with other dried tiny flowers.
A tiny unopened bud serves as the adornment. This dress is so fragrant, that even in winter, you can close your eyes and picture the beach.
The dress measures 4 inches, is stitched up the back with pink thread and comes with its own whimsical fairy hanger.
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