Monday, August 5, 2013

Fairies Took Over the Ann Arbor Sunday Artisan Market

Not a lot of people realize that at the site of the Farmers Market in Kerrytown, Ann Arbor there is a Sunday Artisan Market. Yes, some crafters do show up at the Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays to sell things like homemade soaps, handbags, re-usable grocery sacs, candles, and more. But on Sunday, you get them all together in one place! 

The Sunday Artisan Market is much less crowded than the Farmers Market, but no less interesting. You will find beautiful wood carvings and handmade furniture, paintings of all colors and textures, deliciously scented soy candles, homemade soaps and baked goods, and fairies. Wait, what? Yes, fairies. And the fairies were out in force this past Sunday.

For a few hours in the middle of the day, the Urban Fairies Operations of Ann Arbor came out to speak to the public about fairies and the local fairy door phenomenon that has completely swept up downtown Ann Arbor and Kerrytown. I first reported on the fairy doors back in the summer of 2011 when I spotted my first one at Tea Haus next to Kerrytown. (Later that year, with a lot of help, I was able to track down the goblin door, as well. There are fairy doors in Northville, too, but they are separate from the ones in Ann Arbor.) 
The original discoverer of the Ann Arbor fairy doors is Jonathan b. Wright, local artist and self-proclaimed fairyologist. He was on hand Sunday to sign copies of his book about the doors and answer questions. There was also face painting, live Irish music, a sidewalk chalking station, a table where you could make your own fairy wings for $2, and beautifully made wooden fairy doors by Bob and Pat Simmons for sale. I love their fairy wares, but I seem to miss them too often on my frequent walks through the market on my way to work at Catching Fireflies

Since the Ann Arbor location of Catching Fireflies is located right around the corner from the marketplace, I donned a pair of wings my coworker and I made out of things we had lying around the store and decided to join in the fun and invite the little fairies to check out Catching Fireflies fairy garden and fairy house, made by our talented owner April. I love coming to work and finding presents that visitors have left our fairies. Coins are popular, of course, and fairy wands made from cotton swabs and glitter. The most recent unique gifts were adorable little creatures with antennae and big feet sticking out of puffball bodies. Very clever!

The Ann Arbor fairy doors and Mr. Wright are also being featured on a Children's British Broadcasting Company show called "All Over the Place."  The episode won't be airing in the US, but since when has that stopped people form watching anything from anywhere? My high school and college years would have been a whole lot different without all those fansubbed anime VHS tapes, I assure you. And now we have the internet to speed things along!

If you are interested in making your own fairy doors, as my friends and I did at the Northville Victorian Festival a couple years ago, here is a good place to start for patterns and ideas, "Make Your Own Door" over at the Hidden Door's website. I can't tell where the Hidden Door artists are based, but they made a TARDIS fairy door, so they are A-OK in my book. 

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