Seeking out the Garden Spirits

Our Friends in the Underbrush!

Occasionally, when my eyes start to turn from squinting at all the fine detail work that goes into my ‘Unseelie Portals’, or when my back hurts from cutting and shaping larger pieces of wood for the ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ series, I want something a bit lighter to work on, something that I can just allow to be whatever it wants to be.

And that is how the ‘Garden Spirits’ came to be.

I love the idea of adding little touches of interest to a garden area, something that you might not even notice at first glance, but when you do finally see it, it adds a whole new dimension to the surrounding greenery.

That was a big part of the idea behind the ‘Unseelie Portals’ series of fairy doors, but I frankly, I wanted something that I could produce more easily.  Also, I get bored doing the same thing again and again – even with my unfortunate habit of introducing little changes in the details here and there.

So after some false starts, I finally landed on the idea of creating small garden ornaments that would harken back to that kind of iconography seen around the world – small local spirits depicted in stone, placed in a shrine of some sort and then forgotten for a few eons, fading slowly back into the landscape from which they were born.

The first few I produced were particularly inspired by the little spirits seen in Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’, but as I’ve also introduced a few that take inspiration from the Moai of Easter Island, Polynesian Tiki figures, and a few that are simply personal inspirations – little folk I’d be excited to see lurking, almost forgotten under the bushes, but still doing their best to protect their little areas of influence.

Roughly carved from wood, I’ve done my best to make most of them look like crumbling stone.  A few I have covered with simulated moss, to create a greater feeling of age.  And a few look like wood, which weirdly is harder to achieve than making them look like stone – don’t ask me why.

Oh, and I put a little metal stake in the bottom of each, so that they’ll stand up properly wherever in the ground to choose to put them.

I hadn’t put any of them in my Etsy shop because I was saving them for their debut in my booth at ArtsGoggle 2023 in Fort Worth.  and in all honesty, I had no idea if anyone would even want one.  So imagine my surprise when they sold out!

I’ll do another post later describing my ArtsGoggle experience, but suffice to say, the ‘Garden Spirits’ were a huge hit.  I may eventually offer them on Etsy, and I’ll add a link here when and if that happens.

First, I’ll have to spend some time in the workshop, teasing these little guys out of the wood.  Wish me luck!