Monday, 30 December 2013

How treasure moments become stitches

Mary Oliver calls us to 'pay attention, be astonished, tell about it'.  Her words resonate deep in me, through each thread of my life. The becoming of every small being who honours my hands is somehow a reflection of those words combined. I am sure that many astonishing moments in my creating slip under my attention to become sensed unknown, sewn in the fold of a cloak or held in the tilt of a curl. Yet, there are other times when I am lucky enough to notice so many beautiful, affirming treasures that I want to tell the story of these moments, with words as well as stitches. This is such a story....

The beginning moments - a connection and a request
It is a really lovely feeling to send a small being to her welcoming home, and to then receive a request for more wee folk. That is how it happened that I was asked to create four dear ones to play out the story of 'Ollie's ski trip' - for a teacher's story telling with her young class. 

The second moment - an invitation 
Usually when I stitch the form of fairies and gnomes, I work in a very fluid way, I do not know before I begin who will become or even what cloths exactly will be incorporated. Even when I am sewing into a pre-decided shape, it would not work for me to attempt to simply imitate the picture - that would result in empty cloth! 
Therefore when I found the book, which we happened to have in French, and looked through it, I offered an invitation to the ether...'Come little ones, this is a special chance to take part in story telling for children, come and play dress up in the clothes and forms of this story.' Rather than using words I said this through a light airy feeling that I let drift into the space around. 

The third, a long moment - waiting and listening 
One afternoon Ollie started to appear. However, despite lots of beautiful birch bark strips pressed and stretched between heavy books we couldn't find skis that were both delicate and strong enough. And so he waited....

The fourth moment, synchronised - flowering stitches  
Then on boxing day evening I began stitching, and a fresh goldenness made a tiny head, and then the flower crown started to grow. It was while stitching petals that the magic needle caught the purple wool from the raised beds, which my sister, who is a gardner, had stitched across the knuckles of the fingerless gloves she had made me for Christmas. I saw that it was the colour of lilac that I had looked for in my bag moments earlier and not found. So I teased a little out and stichted it into the flower crown of this lady spring.

As I did this I was smiling, remembering of our Christmas morning, when my sister and her beloved had opened the fingerless gloves that my girls and I had made them and then we had shared the joy of sisterly synchronicity when I had opened my gift!! and my younger daughter had wondered if we were all making them unknowingly but somehow knowingly at the same time. 

The fifth moment - noticing, responding and noticing 
The request for lady spring had not included her carriage, however when my daughter, saw the illustration she straight away asked me how I was going to make her carriage. When I had explained that I was not, she was restrainedly unimpressed. Then by happenstance someone who had been waiting in a blue sleigh, to be a present, decided to hop in the truck with the others traveling to my nephew's new farmhouse, so leaving an empty sleigh....
If you happen to glance at things in certain lights you glimpse what they are destined to become.

The sixth, poetic moments - serendipity 
There was a need for a special kind of material so that the white butterflies could hold their fluttering wings un-drooping, and after ruffling through shades and textures of white silks, I found myself cutting from cream taffeta, and then becoming aware of the perfect poetry in that these butterflies were flying out of an old wedding dress. 
The wheels of the carriage were a mystery to me until an old camembert box caught my eye. When I opened it up to cut out rounds, long forgotten dried aquilegia trumpets flew everywhere, purple and white, just as the painted flowers that lady spring is sprinkling over the sides of her carriage wheels in the story.

The seventh moment - the spin of a wheel, the return of the seasons
In the edges of the box I had cut, I suddenly saw, Ollies skis!
and he waited with yet more patience while they were made,
and now we are waiting for snow, hoping just like Ollie in the story

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Clickety Clackety Fairy Fancy Shoes!

Imagine being a fairy, as light as sunbeamed dandelion puff, 
a fairy, just tall enough to reach a mamma’s finger tips,

a little wisp of being with teeny tiny feet.

 What if, it just so happened that this fairy really loved pretty fancy shoes,
not the soft barely there kind that wee folk wear, 
but the clickety clackety kind she had peeped going down pavement streets. 

Oh how this fairyling longed to have a turn in those shiny percussion dancers, 

oh how she wished she had big big feet.

But every time she tried to step her tinsy toes in, 
such lady’s shoes simply turned into slides

or boats 

this wee little girl had made her winter home within the prettiness of a room, where someone stitched and sewed and painted and collected and cherished and listened to the whispers in the air. 

One shimmery day, she was swinging on a lacy strand, 
with the tinkly beads and waiting rose bud babes,
when she looked all the way down to the floor, and there...
she glimpsed them

amongst the left overs and the becomings 

with a fluttering hop skip 
she was

hoping, measuring, 
wondering, wishing

trying, tottering 

wobbling, tumbling

balancing, beaming 
Clickety Clacketing! 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

feathering the nest of a magical giveaway

Today, on this first Sunday of advent, many children will have the joy of wondering what might be behind little doors, they will experience the excitement of possibility. Some will open doorways onto tiny pictures, perhaps a little bird or other forest dweller drawn or painted to meet their imagination. Some will find a sweet treat, perhaps shaped in a way that causes them to wonder at the skill of the chocolatier. Some others may reach inside and find a small gift, and perhaps that gift will be magical.

As I have mentioned before, when I was a child my mother made extraordinary advent calendars. Some doorways opened into tissue paper crystal caves which sparkled with light and held small gnomes to carefully invite out into the mossy nature garden. Some doorways held forest friends who in their hand painted character invited our imaginations though to their world to play.
These days, sometimes nearly every day, I experience a similar thrill of opening little doors of possibility, through the holding and folding and stitching of cloth. So often I wake in the morning in excited wondering, unknowing who’s turn it might be to tap tap and mysteriously materialise, into my hands as a magical fairy lady. 

One of the most amazing things is that through these doorways the wee folk have brought, not only the wonder of their beings, but also the gift of introduction to other human beings who they like to visit.

If you have seen the living wooden houses brought to be by Lucinda Macy of Willodel, you will know that that the elves and gnomes and sprites and fairies are regular visitors through the doorways of her listeining imagination. How would she know to create a house that visibly dances with leaves were it not for the inspirational help of those for whom it might be home.
How would she know the added appeal to the imagination of a playing child that a perfect tint of blue adds to a smooth sloping roof, were in not for the whispers of those who wished to meet children in the nature of their play.
The wee folk led me to discover her beautiful work quite some time before my own online endeavours as a magic fairy lady. And so, through the introduction given by the wee folk, and over the strange potential of the ethernet, Lucinda and I have become friends.

We share a belief that play is of paramount importance to children’s wellbeing, we share a joy in creating, and we share an often humorous amazement at the blessing that the tap tap of the tiny visitors brings to our days. 

When it came to setting up the magic fairy lady online, with this blog, facebook page and etsy shop, Lucinda virtually held my hand and offered the kindest most useful of advice.

One of the most special discoveries of our friendship has been a common struggle with the practicalities of working in a way that honours our wishing that all children might have the joy of magical natural playthings. We share a wish to give towards children’s wonder filled playful relationship with nature and the mysterious living beings who infuse flower, stone, stream and tree with beautiful possibility.

Within the nest of this wish Lucinda told me about a little wooden bed of the rising moon that was waiting in her workshop. Then I had the joy of sending a little one from my hands to hers, far across the sea by sky. This story can be found here:

Today in this incredibly magical nest a little helper is tap taping on the doorway of a hatching gift, while the magic inside is waiting to fully become into the playing of a child.