A lovely fairy has flown away to be with her chosen fairy-mother. She arrived at the birthday of the little girl who turned seven yesterday. As some fairies can sometimes be a bit tardy and easily distracted, she only arrived at dinnertime.
A fairy traveling cocoon. Imagine, a fairy can't just travel through the city outside of the cocoon for everyone to see, she needs to have a place she can feel save in and also know that this will make her appearance a bigger surprise for the little girl.
Fairies can be shy, out little one was at first very shy when I took her into the garden to take pictures of her.
But she hopped onto the chair I had set out for her and decorated with her favourite flowers — Windflowers, also known as Wood Anemone.
The mother of the girl shared with me the little girls favourite doll from the book Flower Fairies of the Spring by Cicely Mary Barker – The Windflower Fairy.
Our fairy turned to face me after I promised to let her read from the book that has her picture inside.
Here is her poem, as written by Cicely Mary Barker in 1923
While human-folk slumber,
The fairies espy
Stars withough number
Sprinkling the sky.
The Winter's long sleeping,
Like night-time, is done;
But day-stars are leaping
To welcome the sun.
Star-like they sprinkle
The wildwood with light;
Countless they twinkle–
The Windflowers white!
("Windflower" is another name for Wood Anemone.)
I have just completed a felting workshop with the lovely Marjolein Dallinga from Bloomfelt so I wanted to create some wood anemone inspired flowers for the Fairy to take with her to the little girl.
Our fairy was soon curious and not so shy anymore, as she looked around the garden and after a while, she even loved having her picture taken.
Since the little girl would love to take the fairy along with her on outings, it was fitting that there would be a hat for the fairy to wear. Fairy hair is so easily tangled up in sunshine and sometimes the wind tries to carry strands of it away. (Birds also love to have it in their nests, as it protects the eggs and the newly hatched young ones).
The Fairy loved playing with the flowers and soon forgot that she was ever shy.
So we went back to the first spot and she stood there for me to take another picture.
I'm very much inspired by the Fairy books and I hope that there are many more that will come to life in the months and years to come. Making a Fairy doll holds special responsibility, as it is an essence that needs to be captured, more than a like-ness.
The dress of the Fairy was sewn from two layers of very fine cotton batiste. A pink one and a blue one. This way it has the almost irridenscent quality of the lilac in the picture of the book. The long wrap around her shoulder is also cotton batiste.
Curly, wavy hair was a special requisite that the little girls mom made to me me. I remember my mother many years ago knitting up some left over wool, washing and drying it and then unraveling it to create textured wool to decorate a dwarf's face with it. I love the springiness this creates in the doll's hair, yet it looks different from the boucle yarn often used for curly hair.
The Fairy is 52 cm / 20" tall
Each doll is made up of the following materials.
Skin: 100% cotton (Swiss-made to Öko-Tex-Standard 100)
Stuffing 100% “green-processed” wool batt from Canada
Hair: 100% Wool, or a Mohair/Wool Blend
Clothing: 100% natural fibres (linen, cotton, silk)
Shoes: Recycled felted wool sweaters, or pure leather
Face: 100% cotton Embroidery Thread
Each doll is created individually by artist Monika Aebischer, the proprietor of The Olive Sparrow. She sources and uses only the highest quality materials in her creations – swiss-made skin fabric, Canadian green processed wool stuffing, wool/mohair for the dolls hair (often hand-dyed by her). Hair for the Olive Sparrow Children is made by crocheting a cap that is sewn to the head, allowing for replacement should it ever become necessary (although most children will object to this, as it changes their doll dramatically). For the wispy hair, a special german mohair is used and a labour-intense technique, for the loose longer hair each strand of wool is individually knotted into the crocheted cap. This is the prime technique for doll-wig creation.
Doll clothing is made from up-cycled vintage and clothing fabrics, in either pure linen, cotton or silk. Up-cycled fabric is wonderful for doll clothes, as the cloth has been washed soft, gentle and free of textile manufacturing products. Monika also felts used woolen sweaters to use for doll shoes and clothing. She knits the doll’s hats out of prime quality knitting wool. Each seam on the doll’s body is sewn twice to allow your child to fiercely love their Olive Sparrow Child. Clothing is sewn with French seams and some are fully reversible.