From 2006 to about 2008, I experienced a weird obsession with Fairies that came out of absolutely nowhere. I think it may have stemmed from attending Renaissance Festival for the first time in 2006 and deciding to attend wearing a fairy costume (after I discovered that that was an option, any excuse to wear wings, amirite?) I also happened to get married in 2007, right in the thick of my fairy fling. Because of this, my wedding ended up having a definite fairy-vibe to it (technically, the theme was "Magic Garden Party", but whatever.) At my wedding wore a necklace with two fairy charms on it (one I ordered off the internet, and one that had a lot more significance. A charm from my soon-to-be mother-in-law who bought it for me on a cruise she was on right before our wedding.) And my flower girl even wore fairy wings! I wanted my whole wedding party to wear fairy wings, but my sister who was my maid of honor said, and I quote, "There is no way in hell I'm wearing wings." Okay, fine.
I decorated the apartment my new husband and I shared with fairy statues from the greeting card shop at the local mall, mostly Amy Brown artwork converted into cheap porcelain ( I say cheap because most of my statues have broken by now) and I attempted to transform some fairy pictures I printed off the computer into artwork appropriate to hang on the walls to continue the fairy decor I decided our apartment should have. It looked cheap and horrible, but I didn't even care.
In 2009, my husband and I bought our first house, and suddenly I decided I didn't want all this fairy shit everywhere. I had a house now I should probably decorate it like an adult (that has yet to happen, See: My Witch House) Now my fairy statues are spread out between a shelf on the bookcase in the living room, a few reside on my dresser in my bedroom, and the rest live in the in the hutch in the loft upstairs, no longer the centerpiece of my home. As for dressing as a fairy for Ren Fest, eh, I have some beautiful pairs of wings, but, since I make it a hobby of...partaking in adult beverages while I'm out at Fest usually, I feel as a public service to my fellow Fest goers I do not attempt to Wear Wings While Drinking for fear I may kill them or poke out several eyes.
Also, in 2006, I was introduced to one of the biggest celebrities among the Ren Faire Folk (which is quite possibly the dorkiest kind of celebrity you can be) Twig the Fairy:
Derek, my sister's boyfriend (who is now my bro-in-law, they got hitched in '09) was madly in love with Twig for strictly perverted reasons. He still is. Every year we make a trip to Twig's booth and he makes googly eyes at her and gets something signed. One year, he even brought his dog with to introduce her to Twig and get some little extra attention from her, which worked:
And now that we all have kids, oh man, you better believe it that he is using his little daughter, and mine, as Twig bait, which also works.
I find the popularity of Twig interesting. As someone who works with people who are very much in the Ren Fest lifestyle, they work at Fest, they own booths, they camp out there among the other performers and merchants, and I have heard many different stories about Twig and the woman who plays her. I know she's from Minnesota, I have a co-worker who attended college with her and I've never heard anything negative about her. But, what an odd way to make a living, playing a mute fairy. If you are unfamiliar with Twig, she is a cute little woman who prances around Ren Faires playing a little tune on her flute and handing out small crystals to children and adults alike. She doesn't talk. At. All. Obviously, the woman who plays her is an actress, and a dedicated one at that. And she has a fanbase large enough to warrant a calendar, two books, and a website. She has over nine thousand followers on Twitter (she doesn't talk, but she does Tweet) and even a Robin to her Batman, fairy sidekick named Zinnia. Now this is a person who has really immersed herself in Fairy Culture, and even has a column in Fairy Magazine (again, she doesn't talk, but she does write.)
A few years ago I was so taken with the idea of Twig and how someone falls into that sort of niche career I even attempted to write a short story about a young woman who attends a Ren Faire, gets stinkin' drunk (I may have been projecting) acts like a fool, and somehow parlays that into a career as being a mute fairy at Ren Faires around the country. That sounds about right, right? I mean, how else did Twig become Twig? Actually taking the time to create a character and teach oneself to play those double flute dealies? Unlikely.
I am a Twig fan, and an admirer of her (in a non-perverted way) I admire her dedication and that she gives young people something to aspire to. Example:
I was working at Party Papers a few years ago on a Saturday afternoon with the owner Mary. A mother and her young daughter came in and the daughter was taken with all the fairy trinkets we sold. The mom rolled her eyes at us and said, "She loves fairies. In school they asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up and she told her class she wanted to be a fairy." To which Mary said, "Oh, you can be. Have you ever seen Twig the Fairy out at the Renaissance Festival?" The little girl shook her head, "Oh, you should see her. She grew up to be a fairy." The little girl was nothing short of inspired. It was probably the first time an adult didn't laugh at her and call her silly.
Whenever spring rolls around my love of fairies re-sprouts, even though here in Minnesota were we skipped spring and went right to boiling lava hot and thunderstorm-y summer, but according to the calendar, it's spring, so I look at my pretty figurines and am glad that I have fairy wings hanging in my and my daughter's bedroom, I like the re-growth they represent, the mischievousness, the fantasy of a whole 'nother world. Maybe I'll be a Fairy again for Ren Fest this year....smaller wings, less injuries to others. Something to keep in mind.