01 October 2009

Bright, Wild and Beautiful

"Bright and wild and beautiful
For the Autumn festival,
I will hang from tree to tree
Wreaths and ropes of Bryony,
To the glory and the praise
Of the Sweet September days."
~Cicely Mary Barker

Cicely Mary Barker wrote The Flower Fairies back in the 1920s. She is famous for creating personas for all the flowers and trees and herbs of the world with sweet little cherub faces and tiny butterfly-like wings. Ms. Barker was a frail child who was schooled in art at a special school as well as through correspondence. As a teen she was influenced heavily by the fascination with fairies in England, popularlized by JM Barrie's Peter Pan world. When her fairies were finally published, they were so well received by the public who was hungry for a bit of whimsy after the weariness of the first World War. Queen Mary also fueled the love of fairies by sending postcards depicting the childlike characters.

Ms. Barker used live models for her pictures. They were kindergartners from a classroom her sister ran in the back of the family home. She would ask the children to hold the flower or branch that she was depicting. The flowers were always accurate in detail and color and the children's faces and their outfits are so unique and perfectly matched to the flower. The pictures she created and corresponding poems that she created are classic and show a beautiful imaginative spirit.

I love the idea that there are flower fairies all around us bringing beauty that we often take for granted {particularly since I have a black thumb...it is good to know that there are fairies out there making beautiful things grow when I can't!}. My daughter has discovered a wonder-filled fairy world called Pixie Hollow. This is the place where Tinkerbell and all her fairy friends reside. At the website you can create your own fairies and play games and discover the tiny worlds. Once you create your fairy you get to participate in magical talent games. I like this site. I like that the fairies foster an appreciation of the natural world around us, as well as being open to the possibilities of whimsy. I like that my daughter gets to explore different talents, not just the ones that are expected, but branching out to areas where she might not have considered. She has fun collecting all sorts of little wonders on her way to earning a fairy badge. And I think it is sort of fun for me, too. A sort of grown up, modern-day version of the much loved Flower Fairies books and images.

{Bright, Wild & Beautiful}

I was inspired to create this piece for the Vintaj October challenge "Enchanted Path." {If you care to vote for your favorite in the Enchanted Path challenge, you can do so starting on Saturday, October 3rd at noon.} In August I received a wonderful grab bag of pendants and charms from Gaea (read more about her adventures in clay here). The focal pendant is a beautiful mossy green color. Gaea calls these Queens & Goddesses. I could not find out which Goddess this one was, but I bought this set because I loved this face. They all have a very serene look and a special totem above their heads, in the top chakra position, to guide their being. This Goddess has a flower. So she seemed perfectly suited to the "Enchanted Path" theme.

In keeping with the Vintaj challenge, I used Vintaj products, which are perfectly suited to fall and to this spectacular focal. I wrapped her in a Flourish Bead Cap. I used a Small Leaf Toggle, curb chain, etched jump rings, hook and wire. To continue the walk in the woods theme, I used wood saucers from an upcycled necklace with Foliage Bead Caps. Some tiny brass gears (from ObjectsandElements.com), pressed glass leaves and a small vintage brass flower button complete the look. But the rich colors of the fancy jasper rectangles (from ArtBeads.com) really make this piece come alive and give the feeling of walking an enchanted path in a forest of fairies.

Since the Black Bryony flower fairy is based on a real flower or herb, I discovered the following information about it:

Bryony: Herbaceous climbing plant that was allegedly used in many witches potions when mandrake was not available. Black bryony was identified with mandrake, while white bryony was dubbed ‘womandrake’. Among other properties useful to the practitioner of witchcraft the plant was reputed to be highly effective as a purgative, to promote fertility in humans and in horses, to act as an aphrodisiac, to ease various gynaecological problems and also to reduce bruising. French name for the plant, "herb of beaten wives."

Sounds like an interesting Autumn and Halloween plant to me!

If you could be a flower fairy, and paint the fields with your special fairy talents, which flower fairy would you like to be and why?

Check It Out::Flower Fairies (be sure to try their Find a Flower Fairy link!)

"Whenever a flower seed is planted a new flower fairy springs to life..."

Enjoy the day!


Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

Your necklace is exactly what I would envision a woodland fairy to be like. The colors are dark and rich and you can almost see sorrow in the face of Gaea's pendant. Marvelous! Oh, and thanks for the education on "womandrake". Very interesting!

stregata said...

This is a wonderful necklace, Erin! Very earthy. Would have loved a closer look!
I liked the Wayfaring Tree Fairy, but I have a real fascination with Bittersweet Nightshade.

mairedodd said...

very very beautiful! i have some of those faces too and have plans for them... just need the opportunity! good luck ~

Barbara Lewis said...

Erin: I love your blog because I always learn so much! And your necklace is beautiful. From your picture the beads of your necklace resemble the pattern of fabric. It is only after I looked closely that I saw they were beads. Beautiful job.

SummersStudio said...

Love, the flower fairies, Erin. They are so delicate. I like the idea too, that there are magickal beings out there in my garden. Unfortunatley, in my case, they seem to loafing. It's a mess out there.

It's a beautiful necklace. I really like all those autumn shades of green. Works really well with the brass findings.

Elena_Valeriote said...

I absolutely love Cecily Barker. She is such an inspiration. I haven't thought about her in a while... Thanks for reminding me.

Alice said...

Your Vintaj challenge piece is beautiful! I didn't get one done (again) for this one, so I'll be crossing my fingers that you win.

Thanks for the wonderful story about Cicely Mary Barker.

Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp said...

I love the necklace, it is really lovely. You know these little fairies have hung on my walls on and off for years. I have quite a few of the framed for the girls room which has a fairy theme. If I were a fairy I think I would be the willow fairy. I love summer but in the shade with the water near by.

BTW I do love working with Vintaj, I would have to say that it is my absolute favorite product line and if I could afford it I would buy it all. :)


Silver Parrot said...

Love the necklace and have always enjoyed Ms. Barker's fairy pictures. Before I got into beads and jewelry, I used to do a lot of rubber stamping and I have a whole bunch of stamps with her fairy designs on them.

Can we form a "sisterhood of the black thumbs" group? I have only to glance at a plant from across the room to kill it LOL! My grandparents were farmers and my mom is a master gardener, but I apparently did NOT inherit the right gene or it mutated or something because I have yet to meet the plant I can't kill.

Oh, and I'd be the Pansy fairy, of course!

Brandi Reynolds said...

I have the flower fairies!! (the book that is). I've had it since childhood and I cherish it. You have created beautiful pieces that perfectly capture the whimsy, natural beauty and magic of those books

rosebud101 said...

Good luck with your entry! I hope you win!

Mellisa said...

Your color choices are so perfect for woodland fairies and the Goddess is just meant to be part of the piece, isn't she?

Unknown said...

I love how you find inspiration in many different places and I love how you run with it! You have such a creativeness!


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