Playing in the mud at NY Faerie Festival

** post originally published at Art Elements blog**

I have just returned from the land of the fae, a weekend of revels in Tatiana’s court, a Midsummer Faerie Festival. ( New York Faerie Festivalto be exact.) It is a wooded hideaway, a magical encampment, a respite from the world. It is a place where magic, equality, friendship, acceptance and joy are the rules of the day.

Last year I started a personal tradition: part installation, part art abandonment, part gifts for the faeries/nature spirits. I sculpt clay items, and leave them to be found, seen, enjoyed… and ultimately to weather and dissolve and return to the Earth.

Sitting down on a hot festival day to sculpt…

The festival site? The path from the front ate sloped uphill following a stream, through trees and glades, opening into circles and groves. My friend and vendor neighbor Shane of Mythical Designs   set up these stones a few years back – so we could decorate and make an altar of sorts. My first raw clay piece was a goddess figure to leave for Mother Nature.

This past weekend of the festival was dangerously hot – is I did not make as many pieces as I had planned. I like the keep them simple – like this fairy with fern wings.

I had to make a wee frog for Scott Helland– there performing for the weekend. Although technically not an official Frenchy and the Punk“batfrog” it was close…

This one I was excited about – I wanted to put her IN the water:

She started to dissolve – sadly the heat caused this little rill to dry up and get rather muddy so I have no good pictures of her later on…

The Faerie Festival Community as a whole is supportive, accepting, inspired, and inspiring. Creativity in all forms is held in high regard. And play, the need to play and nurture joy. My friend Illya stopped by to sculpt. She is a musician, belly dance, fire spinner… among many other things!  She sculpted these three – then scattered them to be found. Illya reported in on FB as to the fate of her pieces :“I believe that the stream cla(y)imed one goddess rather quickly… the acorn was still intact on its rocky forest bower, another goddess left (along with the lovely log she was nestled in)… I believe a greenman met with a smouldering dragon…”

My friend and former teacher’s aide Emma is a potter as well – so you KNOW she had to get in on this. Here are her 4 pieces – photographed in situ. All we have to document this tradition are photographs and memories. Its the process of playing/sculpting with no pressure; the treasure hunt, the surprise of noticing a piece…

In addition to my “art abandonment” sculptures – the NYFF has a long history of mud Green Men sculpted on the trees. Initiated, I believe, by Shane with others contributing to the paces at times. These are the quintessential art installation! Using only mud from the street, plants and stones – it truly is magic taking form all around you.

Shane starts a face, with pebble teeth.

Although mud moves very differently than clay, potter/sculptor Kim Fritts was eager to get her hands dirty!

Dryad face? Mother Nature? Kim at work!

Kim’s finished duo!

Now I guess I need to return to the mundane world, of post festival laundry and getting ready for a show this weekend. But keep your eyes open! There is magic – and art – all around you.

 

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