Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Urban Fairies

fairy door
Jonathan Wright's Urban Fairy Door

I was reading Janet Snowden McDonald's blog earlier today. She's had a lovely little fairy door appear in her fireplace - here's a photo of it. It made me think of the Urban Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Above is a photo of one of the original ones, which resides in the side of the fireplace of the home of Jonathan Wright, who documents the comings and goings of these wee folk in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is apparently a very inviting place for urban fairies, as they seem to have taken up residence in about nine commercial properties and at least one private home. Please go to Urban Fairies to see more charming photos and read about them.

I love the concept of urban fairies. These doors actually exist in various stores in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, they suffer from vandalism from time to time by people of less perfect imagination, but it seems that Mr. Wright is keeping up with the dream of the wee folk inhabiting his home town.

My father built me a doll house when I was a child from one of those extravagant kits where you have to glue the wooden roof tiles on individually, and I really loved miniatures for a number of years (I still do, really, when I come across them). I sometimes think that my obsession with making lampwork ice cream and banana split beads is a holdover from the time I used to make tiny food out of Sculpey for the doll house. I even still have a set of really beautifully rendered 1/12 scale copper kitchen pots and a kettle that I found in Paris many years ago, during a family trip.

Anyway, here's to childhood imagination and those who strive to preserve and encourage our sense of wonder. And do take a look at Janet's blog and the Urban Fairy Door photos. Regardless of what you think of fairies, they really are charming!

10 comments:

Janet said...

Melissa your so sweet putting the link to my page here what will I do with you!? I did see the Urban fairy page you have up here and have found where those doors are sold. If you want the link let me know. But just got mine locally. And to think some people would kick at some of them.
My Mother had 2 doll houses and I want to fix up a 3 story one my father made...Mom still has it. I think as we get older we are our parents!
Janet x

Melissa said...

I agree! Oh, I really liked your post. When I was a child, we used to vacation in Chicago a lot - I don't know if you are familiar with Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle. It's in the Museum of Science and Industry of all places. It's a one of a kind miniature - complete with the smallest hand-blown glass slipper in the world and other treasures. Seeing the castle was one of my favorite childhood treats!

Melissa said...

ps With the little one being so curious about everything, it's probably not a good idea to have a fairy door in the house right now. I love looking at the photos, though!

jbw said...

Thanks so much, Melissa, for your thoughtful post!

Pardon me, janet...
You may have found where SOME doors are sold, but not "those" doors.

"Those" doors are not for sale. It is my contention that fairy doors should not be bought or sold.

Melissa said...

Thank _you_ for such charming doors!

My husband's doctorate is from U of M and I spent a couple years of my childhood in Ann Arbor, but we were both too early for the fairy doors. We hope some day to visit and find them (and show them to our son).

jbw said...

Melissa~
I imagine there will be more by then. They really seem to have infested.

Melissa said...

Excellent news! You can't have too many urban fairies around...

jbw said...

There are those who would argue that point. Some people actually find their presence... annoying. :o

Melissa said...

Well, that's disappointing - but there are plenty of people who love the fairy doors! I found out about them originally when the Yarn Harlot (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) had a nice post about them on her blog earlier this year - I believe she was in Ann Arbor for part of a book tour.

jbw said...

Yes, I read her posts! She sounds terrific!