From Oct. 5 to Nov. 5, visitors from across New England are invited to the Florence Griswold Museum's Wee Faerie Village, a magical land featuring faerie dwellings created by local artists that are nestled throughout the museum's 11-acre campus.
More than 30 artists from Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island transformed the grounds and gardens of the museum with dwellings that represent subject matter found in landscape paintings, the hallmark of what the artists of the Lyme Art Colony came to paint, such as trees, flowers, sunlight and wind. The outdoor exhibit caters to entire families as children will be entertained by the fun and whimsical creations while adults will marvel at the creative concepts and handcrafted works of art.
Coventry residents Chris Blackshaw and sister Justine Lavigne created Dwelling #35, "Button Up Cottage" which is home to "Button Bella" and her family. The dwelling is made from pine, beach rocks from Newport, recycled stained glass, louon plywood, paint and antique buttons.
Blackshaw, a Visual Arts teacher at the ISAAC School in New London, CT, took part in the museum's Fairytale Birdhouse exhibit in 2011 and was impressed with visitors' reactions. She and Lavigne, a graphic designer by trade, decided to collaborate on this year's project and took turns drawing blueprints, making a cardboard 3D model and creating pieces of the dwelling during the summer, finishing up the last week of August and installing the completed project at the museum during the first week in October.
"This is just one of my passions. I love creating on-site pieces," said Blackshaw. "I just think that these faerie houses are just so fun and any person from eight to 80 can enjoy them and imagine what the characters are doing inside of each one."
Apart from enjoying the dwellings themselves, visitors can take part in various faerie-related children's workshops, performances, faerie wing photo opportunities, a "fringe faerie" scavenger hunt, and book readings throughout October as well as a Halloween Costume Parade and Pumpkin Party on Saturday, Oct. 27. Click here for the complete event schedule.
The artists who have created the 33 unique faerie dwellings volunteered their time and materials to create the enchanted event that is generously supported by Don and Sue Joffray, The Platner Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
The exhibit, located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, will be open seven days a week throughout its run to accommodate the public demand for the display that attracted more than 10,000 visitors in three weeks during its debut in 2009. Exhibit hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $14/adult, $12/student, $13/senior (62+) and $5/museum member. Children 12 and under are free.