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Building a fairy wonderland

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Deb Holmes of New Ipswich places some finishing touches on her fairy house.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Jane Elwell of New Ipswich puts bark pieces over a wicker frame to create a dome-shaped fairy home.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Residents made their own fairy houses at a workshop at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich this Saturday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • A finished product of the Souhegan Country Club’s fairy house workshop.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, August 23, 2018 9:57AM

The leaves, twigs and fallen logs that other people see as normal forest refuse, Marilyn Stowe sees as potential building materials for her next home for a fairy sprite.

Stowe held a workshop on the craft of building fairy houses at the Souhegan Country Club in New Ipswich Saturday.

“I’m always looking for twisted branches, interesting things that look like they have had a life of merit,” said Stowe, nodding to tables with branches, stumps, bird’s nests, tree bark and flowers. Everything one might need to make a cozy home fit for a fairy.

Around her, about a dozen adults are doing just that, putting the finishing touches on their own fairy houses – each wildly different. The main bodies are made from stumps, logs, rolled pieces of bark, and decorated with any number of things taken from the forest floor by Stowe, an artist who has been creating fairy houses for the past four years.

Jane Elwell, Souhegan Country Club president, spent the workshop crafting a wooden frame over a small stump with reaching roots she found in her backyard.

“I think being able to go out into the woods and seeing things you see all the time, but seeing it as something new, something you can make beautiful, that’s the appeal,” she said. “There’s no right way or wrong way to do it. You can get as creative as you like.”

Stowe said those who attended the workshop needed very little direction, just the materials and encouragement to get started.

“A lot of people have said, ‘The house just seems to build itself.’ And that’s true,” she said. “These objects help you decide where they need to go.”

Inspiration does seem to come from the materials, agreed Deb Holmes, who attended the workshop with her family.

“I found this funky log,” she said, pointing to the base for her fairy home, the curved edges of which create nooks and crannies for fairies to hide in. “I said, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but I have to have it.’ ” She’d gone into the endeavor with no idea what she was going to make, she said, but once the log was on her base, the ideas started coming swiftly.

For her daughter, Ariana Holmes, the workshop was a call back to her childhood.

“I used to do this when I was little,” she said, but added the little houses she used to build in the woods weren’t nearly as elaborate as the one she was building Saturday. “For me, it brings back memories.”

Stowe said she’s been fascinated by fairies since she was young, and it’s a fascination that’s persisted well into her adult life as an artist. She even took a trip to Ireland to research some of the Celtic fairy myths. It’s a fancy that catches the imagination, even in adults, she said.

“And it isn’t just kids,” she said. “There are grown men here, making houses. And they’re great. I think that it’s a beautiful way to connect to nature. It makes you look at things in a different way.”

On Sept. 15, the Souhegan Country Club will be holding an all-ages Faerie Festival and registrants of the workshop will have exhibit space for their creations. Residents who would like to submit a fairy house to be included in the exhibit may do so.

For more information about the festival or to buy tickets, visit www.waterloomfairyfestival.com.