I spent last Sunday at the Enchanted Forest Festival, an event sponsored by the Coast Collective. A couple of posts ago, I shared some pictures of my advance trip out to see the grounds, and now for the report on the festival itself!
My friend Mariesa and I shared my big festival tent; Mariesa has done comics and anime shows before, but this was her first outdoor event. I’ve done lots of outdoor shows, so had the equipment, and we were set for rain or shine. As it turned out, it was a lovely day; perfect temperatures and a beautiful setting. Because I’ve been working very hard on the Mermaid Music book, I packed lightly; only my fantasy prints, some linocuts with a Celtic theme, and my comics — it felt more like a holiday than work! Often when I do festivals as an artist, I’m dragging around and incredible amount of infrastructure and stock — I think I like this new way of doing it.
We arrived early and were able to set up in a relaxed manner; everyone was helping each other setting up tents (best done with a person at each pole!), and the organizers were great at making sure everyone had what they needed. I’ve done a lot of festivals where set-up was a frantic and stress-fraught thing, so this was already a good start to the day. Since it was only a four-hour event, I had decided not to go all-out with booth decorations, settling for winding flowers around the metal poles of the tent. Oddly for me, I forgot to take pictures of the whole booth, but did get a nice one of Mariesa’s side:
Mariesa had made some adoarable little flower fairy ornaments (you can see them hanging from the garland at top and on the rack on her table at left) that complimented her line of flower-fairy-of-the-month cards. The cards gave her a wonderful opening line, “What flower fairy are you?”, that elicited heartfelt responses from many people. Her comics are manga-style, and she has two of them so far, as well as some little handmade zines. You can see Mariesa’s artwork on her website.
A lot of the booth people dressed as fairies, elves, and other denizens of the Enchanted Forest. I was planning to do an elfin queen sort of costume based on one of my medieval costumes, but the night before, I discovered to my horror that I couldn’t get into the outfit anymore — time to go on a slimming regimen! So I pulled some of my performing clothes from the closet, added a cute lace hood made by my friend Kathi (she has an Etsy shop) and every one thought I was in costume — people were stopping me to take my picture! Here’s one that Mariesa took:
Some of the other magical sights of the day:
I wish Alison could have played for longer, but she was due at another gig. The harp music was a wonderful backdrop for the early part of the day. Check out her music here.
There were lots of little kids dressed as fairies and elves, and even one very authentic looking little dragon. I would have liked to have taken more pictures of the kids, but I’m wary of people getting upset about it. Near the end of the festival, there were two little girls running across the pond bridge whose outfits exactly matched the rhododendron bush’s colour; I was dying to take their picture but restrained myself — however, I pointed out to the parents what a good photo that would make, so they took some pictures at my suggestion. I didn’t get the photo myself, but felt satisfied that someone did!
Along the path, Ocian Flo was playing various instruments made of glass: a sort of harp-like arrangement of glass tubes , three different sizes of milky-glass singing bowls, and a pyramid like object that she would put over people’s heads and strike gently. Mesmerizing music, especially in the woodland glade setting! (I love the bit of accidental forced perspective in this photo — looks like there is a little elf-girl emerging magically from the pyramid!)
There was a kids’ area, with dragon nests, kids’ activities, and a “battle of the artists”, participants of which got a set amount of time to create a canvas, then the winners of that round faced off. My friend Claudia won — with one arm tied up in a sling due to an injured shoulder! She’s usually a photographer these days, but still has the painting chops.
Of course, now I totally want to make some papier mache dragon eggs of my own! Not to mention getting back into making some costumes. This young woman’s fox costume blew me away; the jaw actually works when her mouth opens and closes, and the furry “skin” comes off to expose an eerie, realistic resin fox skull, over which she had constructed the mask. Check out her facebook page for more.
The term “kitsune” is the Japanese word for fox — but it has a special folkloric sense. Wikipedia says: “Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into women. ]While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.”
I met Astra Crompton at the recent Camosun Comic Arts Festival, where she was giving a talk on cosplay. This woman is a creative dynamo — she also makes comics, writes novels, and gives workshops! Check out her website for more of her gorgeous costumes and art.
All in all, it was a very fine way to spend a Sunday, and a relaxing diversion from the relentless pressure of the book deadline — I actually forgot that I had to get back to the book as soon as I got home! Perhaps I really was transported to Elfland for a day; if so, it was a very pleasant experience and I’d love to go back.
… and this little fairy followed me home:
Fern the Flutter Frou Frou Fairy was made by Maria Roxborough of Zia Joey’s Art Dolls. I had seen some of Maria’s work in the shop at the Collective on my previous trip, and had determined to go home with one of her creations. Fern just leapt out and said “pick me, pick me!”, so I did. She makes me smile, and reminds me of the Enchanted Forest.
That looked like a beautiful location. Love the dragon’s nest!
It was — you would really enjoy it, I think, as it has both wild and garden-y spaces. The pond is the remains of an old Japanese garden, and the gardener now is doing managed wild plantings in many places, so they look natural and are composed of native plants but still look neat. A delicate balance!
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That fox mask is amazing. Very creative.
Isn’t it amazing? She also did some very fine leatherwork.
What wonderful time you had. Thanks for sharing your day with us, the surroundings are so beautiful.
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My pleasure, Sharon! It’s always fun to report on an event like this, it’s like living it again!
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