Why do fairies enchant us so much? I think we love fairies because they combine elements that we love. The rhythm of nature, the beauty of women, the allure of magic, and the attraction of miniature come together in one enchanting creature.
Local artist Darlene Hrdlicka (“herdLEECHa”) draws on these four elements to create the amazing fairy dwellings that you can find in the Lindsborg Collects exhibit and in the Trollslända store window through Easter. Each piece is entirely unique and is created with such love and attention to detail that you can almost believe that fairies are putting their own personal touches on each dwelling.
The ideas that Hrdlicka comes up with for the houses are clever. Among the details Hrdlicka has created on the fairy houses are a “Welcome” sign beautifully painted on a seed pod, a glimmering chandelier, a tiny enticing fireplace, and a rocky pool that can be filled with water. Hrdlicka even makes transportable fairy houses in suitcases and picnic baskets, so kids can just close the lid and grab the handle to take their fairy house to a friend’s garden. Hrdlicka gives her mother credit for the artistry in her work.
Hrdlicka is truly a Lindsborg artist, and she finds everything for her houses in this community. Besides materials she finds on her walks, Hrdlicka has a deal with a local wood lot to harvest the discarded bark, which she uses to cover some of the fairy dwellings. Hrdlicka adds feminine touches to the houses with beautiful beads, painted lace, and even the occasional piece of jewelry. Beautiful glass marbles, some even placed in the back of a fairy house, remind us that these miniatures are the homes of magical creatures.
Small, dynamic Hrdlicka seems to be a force of nature herself. Hrdlicka has not always made fairy houses but now seems called to do it. Growing up on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington State, Hrdlicka spent much of her time outdoors, where the tall forests gave her awe and a sense of her own smallness in relation to nature. Her mother was an oil painter and encouraged her to see the beauty. In those days, Hrdlicka says she loved to build forts out of branches and other materials she found.
She stayed outdoors during her adult life, when one day an accident forced her inside. During her recovery, a long-time friend asked if she would build a fairy house for her daughter. Hrdlicka took this task to heart and found the whole process of gathering supplies, imagining, planning and creating a fairy house therapeutic. After moving to Lindsborg a few years ago, Hrdlicka has been inspired to explore the process more. Now she is back outside every day, often walking on the Meadowlark trail to pick up natural supplies for her tiny dwellings.
Come see the fairy houses for yourself at Lindsborg Collects and at Trollslända Toy Store this month. You may want to take one home for your front porch and let one of the wee folk move in.