Monday, May 18, 2009

A fairy-tale event ...

Photo courtesy of Linda Encarnacao

Enjoying the Gala Preview Cocktail Party,
Friday, May 15th at the Wenham Museum

Last weekend, Friday, May 15th through Sunday, May 17th, was the North Shore Design Show: Tablescapes held at the Wenham Museum. Each of the design participants was asked to come up with a tablescape setting that either relates to life on the North Shore or honors the mission of the museum and it’s extensive collections highlighting the “treasures of childhood and how we lived, worked, dressed and played from the 17th century to today” in New England. Each of us was given an 8' x 8' space in which to tell our “story.” Below are some pictures from my design vignette entitled
Tea for Fairy & Me.

Look closely ... you are about to get a bird’s eye view of a miniature shade garden and table setting for two designed to entice a visit from a woodland fairy.

A round, earthy green shag carpet anchors a cafe table clothed in a combination of mossy green velvet, elegant white birch bark/faux bois-like fabric, and edged in nubby brown linen – a design that is repeated in the miniature table set for our guest of honor ...

Using willow branches, moss, and a hot glue gun, I created my first ever pair of fairy chairs (not as difficult as I thought it would be, honest!). Slate from my home’s roof, dislodged during a winter storm, serves as the floor, while a beautifully curved trunk of an old apple tree was removed from my yard to house this enchanted tea party. A fairy globe nestled behind a moss-covered rock catches the light and ignites the imagination. An irresistible-to-the-touch rabbit stands guard. Miniature tea set available through the Wenham Museum gift shop.

A punch of color and whimsy is provided by a stunning pink Lotus Lantern (or for our imaginative tea party, a clover flower). I am grateful to Roy Goodwin for introducing me to this amazing work of spiritual art in his blog, Return to the Center. If you would like to see what it takes to create these delicate blossoms, visit Roy’s photostream - Mun Su Sa Lotus Lanters - on Flick’r. The beautiful photos inspire awe, and show how priceless this gift truly was. Thank you, Roy.

Modern sparkle is added with a set of three mirrors imprinted with black graphic illustrations of birds and butterflies that seem to hover over our garden of ferns, lambs-ear, bleeding hearts, and wild violets (all snagged from the woods behind my house). Wall covered with a natural woven window shade in Zen Sage from Smith & Noble. Black plant stand with tray is a favorite piece from my home.

Hidden within the moss, visitors to the museum discovered these adorable needle felted wool acorns from Etsy artist, truLuxe. I just love them! And meeting the artist in person was a true pleasure.
Thank you for coming to the show, T!

Along with museum visitors, our anticipated guests have arrived and are hiding safely in the cover of the birch and white pine branches ...

Photo courtesy of Linda Encarnacao

Large Porcelain Fairy Dolls available
at the Wenham Museum gift shop.

As if dressed by fairies, cafe chairs are slip-covered in green flower-covered silk and skirted with golden tulle, while attached willow branches add an organic touch.

More design details inspired by and collected
from the floor of a New England forest ...

At our life-sized table for two, honey cream and black raspberries
are waiting to be served with a tiny golden spoon.

And finally, a delicate white tea pot and glittery pine cone candles are paired with rose adorned teacups, and a set of pink “tutu-like” plates combined with simple white china. More gold spoons are nestled on gold trimmed napkins and wrapped with a thick metallic thread.

As if sprinkled with fairy dust,
imagination sets the stage ...

The Wenham Museum is known for it’s doll, toy and train collections and for being a fun, yet educational place to bring children – as well as a place that can bring out the child in each of us. I was inspired to create my fairy setting after remembering the magical moments spent in the museum with my mom and most likely the Girl Scouts when I was young, and more recently with my husband and sons (we saw a great Lego exhibition this past winter that showcased moving train cars, amusement parks, city sky scrapers ... all created out of Legos). The world of miniatures fascinated my boys on our trip, and in coming up with my concept, I was reminded of the New England tradition of building miniature fairy houses in the woods, as written and illustrated by Tracy Kane in the Fairy Houses Series.

Image from

This resourceful tradition, paired with a desire to illustrate how creative decorating doesn’t have to rely on expensive items, is the story I wanted to tell. Just step outside your back door, or visit a local forest, garden or park, for the best type of design inspiration.

Thank you to the very gracious Wenham Museum, to everyone who was able to attend the show over the weekend, to those who helped or inspired me during this project (special thanks go to Nancy; Ruthie; Dorothy & Roy; my mother, Ann; my husband, John; and, of course, my very imaginative little guys). And thanks to all of my blog guests for visiting this “virtual design tablescape. I hope you enjoyed the story behind the vignette as much as I enjoyed creating it!

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