“Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe.”
James M. Barrie
(author of Peter and Wendy & creator of Peter Pan)
Today we celebrate International Fairy Day. Jens Jensen, Carl Sandburg, May T. Watts, and Marion Mahony Griffin of the Prairie School Era all believed in fairies, and included them in their creative works.
Jens Jensen would orchestrate Fairy Festivals attended by thousands in Chicago’s at risk parks and endangered landscapes he worked so hard to conserve, including the Indiana Dunes. Carl Sandburg, who rallied for the environment with Jensen, wrote a children’s story in 1922 called “How to Tell Corn Fairies If You See ’Em.” May T. Watts also revealed in a short story called ‘Dune Magic’: “I knew there were fairies in Duneland . . . I saw one.”
Marion Mahony Griffin was commissioned to paint an enchanting mural that illuminates a day in the life of the fairies for the George B. Armstrong School of International Studies in Chicago. She created drawings for children's readers of poems and fairy tales with her cousin Lucy Fitch Perkins, whose popular ‘Twins’ series was made into paper dolls.
In his Rootabaga Stories for children Carl Sandburg wrote: “All corn fairies wear overalls. They work hard, the corn fairies, and they are proud. The reason they are proud is because they work so hard. And the reason they work so hard is because they have overalls.”
The Prairie Fairies cooperative game experience was made in appreciation for everyone who makes our clothes. I was inspired by children’s stories, including ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker,’ Louisa May Alcott ’s Flower Fables and Jen’s Jensen’s dramatic masques that were performed long ago in the Midwest to protect endangered native landscapes.
The moonlight fades from
flower and tree,
And the stars dim one by one;
The tale is told, the song is sung,
And the fairy feast is done.
‘Fairy Song’ in Flower Fables
-Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott also enjoyed designing her own doll clothes for friends during her youth while Jane Austen told her own fairyland stories to her nieces and let them play dress-up with her wardrobe when they visited. What we wear, what we eat, how it is made, and where it comes from all connect us to the earth and each other in the fabric of life.
May luck stars be over you!
[a Sandburg family saying]