Ever since my girls were old enough to rummage around the garden by themselves they have been entranced by fairies. Especially my oldest daughter, Shira, who is now 26 and works as an art teacher at high school. She was, and still is, always drawing fairies.
We used to make up stories for her about Ringwandl (who was a fairy) and her friend Winkybar (who was an elf). I remember she came to us once - I can't remember how old she was but she was still very little - and told us about a nightmare she kept having about wolves chasing her. Hubby (who is the household expert in dreams) told her that next time it happened she should ask in her dream for Ringwandl to come and help her. Funny thing was it worked. The next time she was cornered she called out for Ringwandl who just appeared out of nowhere and magically opened a door in the back of the cave where she was trapped and they escaped together. She was really excited to tell us that dream...after that I don't think she ever had those nightmares again.
All this family fairy lore came back to mind the other day when I went with a friend whose daughter goes to a Steiner school to make what they call "Wee Folk". Mine now belongs to her daughter Indigo. Making this "wee person" for Indi reminded me of a little known but true fact about fairies that Winkybar once told us. Fairies are always thought to love flowers (which they do), and are therefore, always pictured with flowers and wreaths, but what's not widely known is that many fairy tribes also value rusted iron very highly...that's right, rusted iron. According to Winkybar, they grind it into a fine powder to make the beautiful russet dye that they use for their clothing...and these traditional fairy dyes are one of the main reasons that they are so well camouflaged and so rarely seen in their forest homelands. Anyway, Indie was kind enough to lend me her little friend so that I could post a picture to correct the "flower-only" image of fairies:
And here's one of Shira's fairies from the family ethnographic collection of fairy tribes:
Needleess to say her drawings never tended to emphasize flowers but usually depicted fairies involved in very everyday chores...actually, they were usually things that Shira herself liked doing...
...and now that I look at them again I can see that Shira's fairies have always borne a suspicious resemblence to her...Shira is very petite and...well I'll show you what I mean...here are some 'self-portrait' drawings she did when she was studying: