As I mentioned in my last post, Mr Monster and I spent last weekend having an early Christmas with my family. I’ve been trying to incorporate as much of a handmade element into the festivities as I can this year, although not necessarily by me as I have a few commissions to get finished which is taking up a lot of my time. It’s been fun browsing Etsy, and some of Bristol’s many pop-up shops carrying work by local crafters and artists.
For my mum’s gift however, I called upon a friend. I met the wonderful Sarah of Curious Pip some years ago on an illustration course, and we’ve kept in touch united by our love of craft and all things vintage. She’s carved out a successful business making beautiful art dolls from vintage fabrics embellished with sparkly, spangly bits and bobs to create her glamorous and sophisticated little darlings.
Twenty five years ago, as a wee five-year old girl, Mummy Monster and I went shopping for Christmas decorations at our local John Lewis. I have vivid memories of this trip and have never forgotten mum’s reaction when we came across a dainty little fairy tree-topper with a diaphanous, glittering gown and a Princess Di hair-do. Once she’d picked her up, she just couldn’t put her down and carried her around the store agonising over whether we could afford to buy her and what dad would say when he saw the price.
It was £4.95…a lot in those days, but funny to think that it seemed so extravagant back then. She just HAD to have her, so we took her home and she became one of those ‘look but don’t touch’ items which adorned the tree every Christmas, before being reverentially tucked back into her box each new year. This is the best shot I have of her:
Twenty five years on, despite being treated with the utmost of respect, she is starting to look just a little tatty round the edges and in need of retirement. Although she would never be thrown away, she has fulfilled her festive destiny and deserves a bit of a rest. I knew that we would never find a suitable replacement in the shops these days, so my thoughts turned to Curious Pip.
I asked her to create a new fairy for us, with a tip of the hat to the old one in terms of colours etc, but with a shock of red hair. She rose to the challenge, and when she revealed what she’d made I was thrilled, and knew that Mummy Monster would be too.
So, I wrapped her up, and off we went to my home-town for our Christmas weekend. Funnily enough, on the evening we all arrived at the house, a conversation started up about the fairy, how long we’d had her, what an integral part of Christmas she had become, and how it was time she should be allowed to retire. I sat smugly smiling to myself, confident that I had done the right thing in commissioning a replacement. Christmas morning came, and it was time to hand her over. A girlish squeal and some excited arm-waving later, mum was placing her on the tree. She looked perfect, and the old fairy has once again been packed tenderly into her box (still bearing the £4.95 price sticker) for a well-earned snooze.
I would urge you all to check out Curious Pip’s blog and Etsy shop, and look back at what she’s created over the last year or so. Her dolls are exquisite in their detail, and I’m so grateful to her for making my mum’s christmas, not just this year but hopefully for at least twenty-five more.