Friday, 8 July 2016

Making Wool Fairy Variations on a Festival Theme

My companion, Elinor Gotland, has never felt entirely comfortable with fairies.
"It's a sad day when a sheep can't take a stroll round the garden without being buzzed by a flimsy flying squad. Worse than midges, Beaut. Think I might hang up some fly papers."
"Don't you bloody dare. You know I'm making these wool fairies for Wisley Arts Fest.  Oh, I do hope the weather will be kind."  With which fervent wish, I carried on labelling up the rustic crew, who all have wool dresses dyed with madder, woad and Dyers Chamomile from the garden.  On the weekend of 16th and 17th July, I shall be demonstrating spinning on a wheel, my sister will be doing stick weaving workshops and BG will be needlefelting pictures in our Rich & Strange marquee at RHS Wisley Gardens.  While the family support makes me feel much less the lonely Sole Trader, Wisley Arts Fest will be my first significant foray beyond spinning at agricultural shows or having a table at a local craft event.  Just looking at that link to the online advertising for the big event makes me feel squirmy inside.  Only a week to go.  What the hell, it looks like fun.

Making fairies is also fun, but after putting a couple of dozen together, the urge to muck about has rather slowed up my production line.  While I still use the basic method I started with last Christmas, putting in two long pipecleaners, wrapped with wool like the arms, running down inside from the head, can give them fairy legs.  And what footwear suits going to a festival better than boots?
Using a stiff, 18 gauge florists wire, instead of a pipecleaner body, will hold the fairy standing upright from a base.  And what more sylvan base than a sawn section of silver birch from the wood pile, with a 1mm hole drilled into the centre to hold the bottom of the florists wire?
Elinor scuttled into the kitchen, most perturbed.
"Those fairies are up to something, Beaut.  Everywhere you look, there they are, whispering together."
"Nonsense.  You're getting paranoid. Just let me make a nice cup of tea and we'll go out on the patio and see what's what."
"Mark my words, fairies have their own agenda and it takes no account of yours. One of these days, those boots are going to walk all over you. Just don't say I never warned you."
Looking round the garden, I had to admit my companion had a point. There was definitely something going on.  Over our heads, the silk fairies were yet more frivolous and flighty and even the Rastafairi were on the move, a lot less chilled than usual.
Low in the vines, there was one fairy, surely too heavily pregnant to fly off. Oddly enough, the sight of her seemed to reassure Elinor, who took her tea over and settled 
down comfortably to regale the poor thing with stories of difficult lambings.
When she came back, I was all agog to hear the news.
"Is it her that all the fuss is about?  Are they worrying about the new arrival?"
"Oh no, Beaut.  If fairies don't like a baby, they'll just swap it for a Changeling.  The word is, there's going to be a wedding."


  1. it's a good thing that we don't seem to have any here - the poor things would go mouldy and rot in our weather! or - they'd been blown away by now:) but I wouldn't worry about the spinning demo - you show what you love doing, what could possibly go wrong?