On a trip to York last year I stumbled across an intriguing little shop called The Imaginarium. A cross between a Victorian curiosity shop and a gallery, it is filled with all sorts of interesting and quirky pieces, carefully curated to fill many an hour of browsing (which it did).
This is where I discovered the work of Samantha Bryan, otherwise known as ‘Brain’. Perhaps it was the whimsical nature of her creations, neatly captured beneath a Victorian bell jar, but Samantha’s fairies really captured my imagination.
Beautifully hand crafted and capturing the smallest detail, they feel like they could take off at any moment. From the carefully positioned patches on their bodies to the ‘crash helmets’ fashioned from the shell of a fallen nut, neatly tied on so as not to fall during flight, the stories of the everyday life of a fairy unfold.
Severe exposure to bedtime stories as a child led to an overactive imagination. The result, sheer lunacy!
– Samantha Bryan
Samantha’s work, inspired by Victorian gadgetry and invention, is crafted from collected and found objects, along with carefully selected textiles and materials. These she fashions into the necessary garments and gadgets required for the fairies everyday lives and work.
The faces are delicately moulded and hand decorated to capture the character of each fairy. Adorned with flight glasses and various other necessary contraptions, you can see the extent of Samantha’s endless imagination.
The leather bodies are hand stitched to form the bulbous bottom, reminiscent of an insect, which are occasionally dressed in ‘Brain’s Bottom Warming Garments’ to ward off the cold. Even the wings, made from feathers, are carefully detailed to form an integral part of the body. Not a detail has been left out.
For me Samantha’s fairies are not just a thing of beauty and workmanship, but are a reminder of the importance to dream and believe that anything is possible.
Keep your eyes peeled for fairies near you……….next sightings scheduled for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park 5th September – 30th October 2015.
Photos: Edward Chadwick & Heather Allen