News Report - Wonderwings History: Part I
Wonderwings Fairy Shop revisited
& reunion held April 2015
at Myths & Legends Fairy Shop in Gisborne, Victoria, Australia.
Faery, faery, quite contrary,
How do your stories grow?
With silver wands and singing swans
And wild wings all in a row...
|Original Wonderwings Fairy Shop flier|
Anne Atkins: Wonderwings Fairy Picnic 1990s
|The Captive Robin by John Anster Fitzgerald|
|A Rehearsal in Fairy Land by Richard Doyle|
|Anne Atkins in The Age newspaper's Good Weekend article "Wanderlust" 1990's|
|Guardian Fairy by Arthur Rackham|
|Wonderwings business card (on red cushion)|
|Wonderwings Fairy Shop: Anne, Nina, Marian, Libby & little fairies|
|Visiting faerie child Julia outside Wonderwings Fairy Shop, circa 1990-91|
|Julia inside Wonderwings Fairy Shop by alterinfinite|
Some months later, housemate Eliza Van Dort handed me a newspaper clipping with a title like "Recession Breakers", about a fairy shop in Richmond. Soon as I entered, I found myself facing the enchanted altar with those haunting figurines. Their diaphanous gowns and floating hair were perfectly attuned to their new surroundings. An aura of quiet anticipation - tranquil yet alert - mingled with aroma of rose oil.
A photograph of the altar may well be on the way. Here (above) you can glimpse it behind visiting wild-child Julia. I'll follow up with an article on my faerie caper with Julia, who was quite a character... pictured here in my antique silk pyjamas.
To my delight, turning left, I found Dee (pictured below) behind the counter. Serendipity, anyone? Here she is with an original Wonderwings wand, handcrafted by Anne Atkins:
|Dee Waight with Wonderwings wand|
|Dee Waight, Wonderwings and Myths & Legends fairy|
|Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies|
|Arthur Rackham's Fairies in the Garden|
|Louisa John-Krol storytelling for Tara Kenny (fairy princess, right)|
|Louisa, Tara & other fairies, Wonderwings|
|Ah, the days before email or texting! Many fine visitors wrote us letters of thanks.|
|Louisa John-Krol, Wonderwings Fairy Shop 1992, photo by Geof Branton|
Below: photos of me arranged by Anne Atkins for a soundtrack entitled "Wonderwings" she commissioned by my duo Fionvarra. Our earlier recordings such as "The Faerietale Woman" also played frequently in the fairy shop. More about that in Part II.
|Louisa John-Krol (above & below); photography by Geof Branton|
|Antique lace from my storytelling basket - Louisa|
One of my first - and most constant - storytelling mascots was Belanie Blueface, a lavender fairy who lives in a dilly bag with dried lavender, sprinkled in story sessions. Her tale came with the old ditty:
Lavender's blue, dilly dilly
When I am king, dilly dilly
You shall be queen.
|Belanie Blueface, Lavender Fairy|
|Titania Sleeping, by Richard Dadd|
|Helen Navarre, Dee, Barbara-Elise, Anne|
|Libby charms Ali, Russel & Harry, Montsalvat 1993|
|A later flier encompassing Wonderwings Fairy Shop & its sibling Wonderwings Fairground|
|Anne & Nigel - jester & fairy queen 1993|
Wonderwings Fairy Shop later had a younger sibling: a far rowdier, carnivalesque store at busy Chadstone Shopping Centre: Wonderwings Fairground. Here's a glimpse of Anne's circus flair...
|Anne, Nigel & joker... a sweet yet cheeky lad|
|A Midsummer Night's Dream by Joseph Noel Paton|
"The Women's Weekly", one of Australia's most established print media magazines, showed Anne beside Pegasus (centrefold). As we entered Wonderwings Fairy Shop, the equine sentry would greet us, wings spread aloft, a symbol of imaginative flight, as the article's title implies. Of particular significance here is the focus on Anne's wand-making. Anne had a workshop near the kitchen behind the storytelling garden, and garnered respect as a consummate artist. Her gift for my wedding was a bouquet of silver and white wands spangled with glass, crystal, glitter, sequins and seed pearls.
|Australian Women's Weekly 2-page feature on Anne Atkins & The Wonderwings Fairy Shop, Australia 1992|
|Dressing the Baby Elves, by Richard Doyle|
|Merman the Sealpup|
On 11th April 2015 we reunited at the fairy shop of original Wonderwings fairy Dee.
|Dee's Unicorn at Myths & Legends, photo by Jackie Kerin|
|Sharon, Mary-Lou, Anne E.S.|
|Garden of Myths & Legends Fairy Shop in Gisborne|
It was in this garden that our circle gathered to renew old ties, revisit joyful memories, share anecdotes and celebrate the longevity of fey magic.
|Fairy Tree - photo by Jackie Kerin|
|Foliate head, Myths & Legends|
|Anne Atkins, Louisa John-Krol, Anne E Stewart 2015|
|Helen Walsh & Muriel Cooper 2015|
|Anne Atkins, Dee, Mary-Lou, Matteo, Anne E.S., Suzanne|
|Anne A., Mary-Lou, Dee|
|Suzanne & Anne E.S.|
|Muriel Cooper 2015|
|Stone Fairy & Flowers|
The stone statue above is one of a pair, originally from Wonderwings.
They now dwell at Captain Creek Cottages with early Wonderwings storyteller
Anne E Stewart, who brought them to the reunion.
Beside this fairy are flowers from Marian (Maz).
Fairies sadly missed included Libby, Barbara-Elise and Marian,
pictured in turn below.
|Libby at Wonderwings Fairy Picnic early 90's|
|Barbara-Elise, fairy storyteller, 1993|
|Marian (Maz) Lissant at wedding of Mark & Louisa in Montsalvat 1993|
Nina, Anne Atkins' daughter, was also absent, but I caught up with her and her girls in full fairy regalia soon afterwards at The Monash Fairy Tale Salon's celebration of the 150th anniversary of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, with Anne herself and her consort Nigel. 2015 is a reunion year for Australian fairies!
Many Wonderwings fairies have continued their fey activities in other fields. They have graced festivals, historic parks and gardens, galleries and museums, town halls and taverns, and there'll be more to say of their antics in Part II (coming soon). Here is a glimpse of one going about her fairy capers: Fairy Moth...
|Fairy Moth (Suzanne)|
|Anne Atkins, Mary-Lou Keaney, Dee Waight, April 2015|
Here's to carrying the fey candle onward. May we dwell in Faery forever, happily ever after.
|Dee & Nadine, Myths & Legends Fairy Shop 2015|
|Dee Waight, Myths & Legends: over 2 decades!|
|Wood Window - photo by Jackie Kerin|
|Wonderwings Fairy Shop Reunion, April 2015 at Myths & Legends Fairy Shop, Gisborne, Vic, Australia|