Vivien Frow was found by her mother under a bush near her home in Sherwood Forest, England, so it was only natural that she started making faeries.
Or so her mother told her.
“When I asked my mother where I came from she said she’d found me under a gooseberry bush so I presume that I’ve always been in fairyland,” said the Qualicum Beach artist.
Frow has been making faeries out of artificial flowers, pipe cleaners, fabric and cotton for many years, and previously taught a faerie-making workshop at The Old School House Arts Centre for 10 years. For the past two years, she’s been teaching the craft at a summer camp in Errington.
Her whimsical faeries can be spotted for sale at The Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply, located at 206 W First Ave.
Frow was a costume designer for many years working in theatre and television in England. She then moved to Australia and worked for the Australian Broadcasting Commission making costumes.
Frow then continued her career in Nairobi, Kenya at the Donovan Maule repertory theatre company.
After moving to Canada in 1972 she worked as a freelance costume designer and made historic costumes for Parks Canada before teaching costume design at universities.
When she moved to Qualicum Beach she began to tune into the faeries that live in this area, she said, including the Keepers of the Leaves.
“They gather together the leaves in the forest, make lovely little piles and live under them, and crawling insects and any crawling little creature who wants to live under those leaves, they look after them,” she said. “They wear leaves so they are quite difficult to see.”
It was children in her workshop who recognized this story and created these beautiful little fairies, she said.
There are also Sprites who have long legs which wrap around the stem of a flower. They work with the flower, waking it in the morning, letting them know when bees are approaching and telling them when to sleep, Frow said.
And then there are the raindrop faeries.
“They arrive in a raindrop, as it melts on the leaves out pops the fairy and they are very, very tiny.”
Frow said the best part about working with children is their boundless imaginations.
“It’s delightful,” she said. “When working with them they become very quiet and just start creating and telling one another stories about their fairies.”
Frow said she likes making faeries herself because she loves Mother Earth and the faeries remind people to balance themselves with nature. The stargazer faeries want people to slow down and gaze at the stars, moon and sunset, she said, and she listens. In fact each one has its own message for humans.
“People, as they become busy in their lives and become more prone to being indoors, they have forgotten that we’re all part of one vibration, we’re all vibrating at the same level and we need to be aware of that and honour it.”
Frow’s faeries are also perched at Whisper Metaphysical Sanctuary in Qualicum Beach.