Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wee Fairy Garden

Two years ago I built a fairy garden in a container that came out of my HyperTufa exploration days.  It's a very neat medium of concrete and vermiculite and stuff...and it drains water as fast as a broken ten dollar bill disappears. Since I'm not too great at watering, that means that my nice store bought plants died at a faster rate than planned. I'd made a pumpkin carriage and a bird house and stuff, but it looked haunted after a month. Sigh.

This year I'm getting to know the plants in my yard better, trying to see who is drought resistant and who is pretty in summer as part of a low-maintenance yard makeover for next year. Can I live with the dizzy mess of a wildflower yard? Anyhow, I saw my forlorn little garden sitting by a pot and thought I'd take a different approach than last year. I dug up some of these little plants that were living in completely dry soil and put them in some saturated ground in my fairy garden. And amazingly two days later they're still alive! I think it looks fabulous AND love that it's plants from my yard. I even have a couple of bitty strawberry looking fruits.

After things get situated I'll see if they can again thrive in the dry summer soil they were living in before. 

The evolution of this garden is the same as the evolution of my building houses for earth spirits. More relaxed. More just using what's available. I'm using a method now where I just use the materials that I find in one trip to the shore or mountain, instead of picking from a store of sticks and stones in my shop. It's more challenging, but in the end has more integrity for the spaces the materials came from.

This house is typical of that. Inspired by my trip to Scotland and the ancient earth spirits I met there.

 Except for the few stones that came from a beach on the Isle of Skye, this house is made of things found in the same meadow on Mt. Hood. The materials speak to one another in harmony and create a flow that to me is what Earth Spirits are all about.

Take care!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

And now it's JUNE?

So OK, I'm one of those terribly inconsistent bloggers. It seems like a good idea to write, and then there's FB and Pinterest and Instagram and before you know it, m-o-n-t-h-s pass!

I finished the house, and it was good!
And then what...oh about 5 workshops!  They were fun - some fairy sisters came to help manage the throngs of fairy house artist.

It was a family level course.  So there were lots of fairies.

Then I made some more fairy houses and a wicked cute door!  

And now, well, I'm off on my annual Hunt For the Fairies, where I research all things Fae, traditions of fairy house building and that sort of thing.  Only this year, I'm going with one of my favorite fellow fairy house artists. 
Guaranteed I'll bring some magic back to the shop!  See ya in July!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I'd better hurry up and finish this house!

I have to hurry up and finish this house. It's relevant moment is slipping away.

Good fairy houses tell a story. They inspire me to look past the easy understanding of where the door is and how the whimsical the roof is and to look into the rhythm of the house, hoping to find something a little deeper and linked inexplicably to the universe.  
Mind candy to chew on as we pass by.

Lately I've been drawn to shattered trees. Lots of trees nearby have lost their battle with wind and electricity this winter. When they lose they make lots of noisy mess. They crack and fall to the forest floor in jagged ripped up pieces. Their hearts are exposed, a dark center that fades towards the edges. There's no pretending everything's OK. It's decidedly not. 

 And there's beauty in this jagged rawness of unrehearsed truth.

The part I like in this tree is the fiber edges. They're so unlike the big solid tree they came from. Wispy and incomplete, the tough fibers peel back almost playfully from the wood. They are as thin as thread sometimes.  They are open to interpretation. 

I picked up an armful and brought them back to the shop where I splayed them out to dry. 

Then I've sort of assembled them into the foundation for a house. Now I'm teasing 'what's next' out of what's this too many sticks? I think it is too filled in. I'll take some out.

There's a surprise inside the house. A heart severely tested. It's bark from my friend's tree which though still alive has been struck by lightning - twice. Part of it is charred black and, since it lives, was coated with pitch in the summer. When it was struck again this fused into an ebony of sorts. It's beautiful too, changed like us by power beyond its control.

There's a ways to go on this house.  I need to finish it soon though because spring is starting to peek around the edges here.  The usual Circle of Life.  As days get longer I'm less enamored with the surviving bits from brutal storms and more interested in the thrum of returning life energy and returning bits of green. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Stranger than Fiction

This weekend I had to give a little intro at a workshop - you know the kind - who I am and why I'm qualified to stand up here with super glue and tell you about fairies.

Somehow the biographical facts came flying into the story in a new and fun way.

One of my fairy sistahs. . . actually my very first fairy sistah - had come up to help me put on the workshop. So I introduced her instead of me.

"Khloe is my Fairy Sister. She's a fairy sister because we met in a magical place - under a Blackberry bush.  A very large bush that has an Enchanted door. You could walk around that blackberry bush all day and never find the door if you hadn't been invited to come.
We were invited. Under the bush is the Fairy House Builder's work shop. When you pass through the door you go down the steps...and of course there are saws and tools and things. But there's also ferns and flowers growing inside - because it's not really enclosed. There's massive tree trunks holding up a roof that lets in star and sunlight. There's chittering chipmunks skittering by, deer munching on the ceiling and the purr of bats in the beams.
There's a wizard there that builds fairy houses. He has flowing white hair, a long, long white beard and twinkly blue eyes that are always smiling. He can talk to stones and snakes and trees and knows their stories. He wears stones around his neck to remind him of Earth's magic.

Before he made fairy houses he built movie sets for the Muppets. He might still be doing that, but he fell in love with a woman who changed that. Her name is Lady Wolfe, and she's really a fairy in a human body. He loves her so much that when she asked him to build houses for her fairy friends he spent years perfecting this method Khloe and I are going to teach you today.  Because, lucky us, we got to become his apprentices, and he taught us a bitty bit of what he knows and most of what we know.'

And Khloe looked at me and smiled - because it was all true. And is why we can create magic with super glue.

A room full of sparkly fairy house builders!

Khloe, right, at FairieWorlds
Working hard

Most Amazing Sticks!  this is a portal!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What does your art say to you?

The artwork we keep around us say a lot about who we are and what we love. 

photo I took long ago,
When I lived in New York I had lots of creative friends and I photographed them at work. I blew up my black and white photos and had artists, composers and dancers on my walls. When I'd walk into my apartment I felt powerful. I didn't know my photos were not that great, I just knew I loved them and the people in them.

When I was an art director in Washington I had a tiny place and went to the Smithsonian and got big posters of my favorite impressionist art. It dominated my space and when I came home I felt both the richness of a small-town girl now living in a place with fabulous museums and galleries, and a rush from the juxtaposition of color and peacefulness. I loved it. 
Painting John Singer Sergent
painted even longer ago.

Lots of living and many major moves later, I now live with a gallery of nice pieces left to me by kind relatives. Looking around there's my father’s love of the ocean, my mother’s love of dance and my mother-in-law’s fascinating pastels of what she could see from her window while house-bound for 30 years. They’re all pieces I that speak to who I love, but not who I  am. When did I cede my space to circumstance?

I’m the person who can’t walk past a magnificent tree without saying 'hi'. I turnoff the radio when the birds start to sing, touch flowers gently and steal agates from greedy waves on the beach. I’m inside by force, outside by choice. When I walk into the house now I feel - nothing but the fact that I need to dust again.

It’s time to take down some of those paintings, clear the space around me and reclaim it  with light and sparkle and things that I energize me when I walk in the door. 

Hmmmm.... isn't this calling to you?

Now you know my New Year plan, Do you have one that's similar? 

I’d love to hear!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

May the Force be With You...

Christmas was not a politically correct holiday when I was growing up. It pretty much just came in and sat in your living room, taking up the whole couch. It had control of the remote and even told us what to have for dinner. It came to school amid gusts of glitter and spun cotton, taking over art and music classes. There was no way to avoid learning the Christmas Story.

Now years later Christmas is a careful holiday. She comes in holding cookies in pine-tree shapes and patiently listens to the way songs and tv shows share a most secular Christmas. She's wondering why the wall full of Christmas Cards has shrunk to a handful of paper holiday cards on the table. Are we still sending love to each other to mark the holiday?

Today I was thinking about what I could wish for people in a holiday-Christmas-Season's Greeting that would be inclusive and yet heartfelt. It's been a year where we're hearing rhetoric all around us that tries to demonize some, cast suspicion on others, and introduce little spikes of fear in our hearts and minds. Getting past that will take a mighty force. 

You know the one I mean...the force of unexpected overwhelmingly dumbfounding love, joy, humility and grace that we've all felt now and then. That shocking touch of the Infinite, of God, of Angels, of Fairies, of Nature....of whatever it is you personally call it... that lets you feel chosen and gorgeous-in-the-sight-of.

That's what I wish for everyone - to walk in the spirit of being a co-conspiritor with love - to create beauty on earth.  What's the greeting card jingle for that? 'May the Force be with you' may have to do!

Friday, December 4, 2015

When brrrr goes to brrrright!

The last couple of weeks were cold. Frost-etched, ice-puddled, find your mittens cold. Cold enough to  encourage me to wear socks and no crocs. Brrr!  Bad, right?!

And in November no less.  Isn't that early? As signals of seasonal change go, it's not nearly as nice a leaves changing colors or buds popping out. It's a harsh final warning to be sure my garden is readied for deep freeze and my pantry has all the nice chocolate milk and cookie ingredients required to make it through the inevitable snow-in.

It's also the clarion call to choose how, this year anyhow, my family and I are going to respond to the busy-ness of the holiday season. Lots? Little? Over the Top? Lay low?

fairy magic winter card
A warm place for Winter Fairies!
This weekend I'm participating in a holiday bazaar at one of my favorite schools here in Portland, the Renaissance School. It's a place where they encourage thinking, magical and otherwise. The unfettered creativity of the kids is frankly, just a little intimidating. Their own art is enviable.

I've been making a few things to take to this end-of-the season event. I don't usually have much that's popular at festivals by this time of year.

Which brings me back to the start. My studio has a space heater...and it isn't doing a good job. It's too cold out there!  I work in short stints, punctuated by the aforementioned cookies and chocolate to gear me up to go back out. So it's no accident that the card I created for this event is brrrrrrright!  

In the end, the frost licks are enchanting, the ice tracings on the pond are fun and snow, when it comes, gives a moment's thought that the whole world can change overnight. Brrrrright stuff.  At least for a few months!