When KGNU News Director Maeve Conran isn’t busy sending news stories over the airwaves, she’s often creating fanciful fairies at home.
Born and raised in Dublin, Maeve loved reading about fairies as a child. “I always liked fairy books,” Maeve said. “I remember a pop-up book I had that had fairies in them and I loved the intricate details in the book. I would spend hours looking at them.”
She added that fairies are a big part of Irish mythology. “There are things called fairy forts or fairy circles that you see around the countryside.”
Fairy forts are the remains of ancient earthen mounds called ring forts that were originally designed to protect a farm’s livestock or crops from predators or invaders. Today there are an estimated 60,000 fairy forts in Ireland; many are simply small mounds encircled with stones. Irish legend warns it is often wise to protect these forts. “I have friends who grew up on a farm about an hour and a half outside of Dublin,” Maeve said. “They had a fairy fort on their farm and their dad would never plough over it.”
Maeve moved to the U.S. in 1995 and worked in a fish cannery in Juneau, Alaska, where she met her husband. Years later, her interest in fairies reemerged when her oldest daughter, Sinéad, got a book about fairy houses for her birthday. Maeve, Sinéad, and youngest daughter, Rosie, soon decided to build fairy houses in their yard. This was the beginning of an imaginative journey that encompassed reading, writing, artwork, and eventually doll making.
After initial research on how to make fairy dolls and “all things fairy,” Maeve said she started to create a number of whimsical fairies for friends and neighbors. “I saw a tutorial on YouTube on how to make these type of fairy dolls and used them as inspiration to create a wide variety of dolls including mermaids,” she added. Many of Maeve’s fairies are placed in miniature flowerpots.
It’s been a relaxing hobby. “I love picking out the hair for the fairies, choosing colors of the flowers for their dresses, and then braiding their hair and adding little accessories like crowns,” she said. “My daughters like to pick out the colors for the hair and flowers – and tops of the fairies too.”
Maeve decided to take part in a recent craft fair at her daughter’s elementary school and says her Flowerpot Fairies were a hit. She also added mermaids to the mix, carefully crocheting the mythical sea creatures’ tails. For more information, go to: email@example.com