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Monday, October 17, 2016

Families build fairy houses in Brookline

By DARRELL HALEN
Correspondent

Using bark, leaves and other materials from nature, along with a bit of creativity and inagination and a big dose of glue, a group of youngsters and adults created miniature houses Saturday to welcome fairies and critters.

A Fairy and Critter House Building Workshop was held by the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline. Seated at tables inside the institute's art and visitor center, participants let their imaginations run wild as they worked on their projects. ...

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Using bark, leaves and other materials from nature, along with a bit of creativity and inagination and a big dose of glue, a group of youngsters and adults created miniature houses Saturday to welcome fairies and critters.

A Fairy and Critter House Building Workshop was held by the Andres Institute of Art in Brookline. Seated at tables inside the institute's art and visitor center, participants let their imaginations run wild as they worked on their projects.

"She's a very lucky fairy," 8-year-old Lanie Forest said of the small, supernatural being that she expects to occupy the fairy house she made - complete with a bed, blanket, pillow and mirror inside.

Lanie's work and the seven other projects completed during the two-hour workshop were praised by instructor Gwen Tiller as she sprinkled glitter - she told the children it was fairy dust - at the end of the class.

"All the fairies know they have places to come to where they'll know they'll be loved and cared for and feel safe," Tiller told them. "I'm amazed - totally an inspiration."

The ingredients for the house-making projects were spread out on long tables for participants to take and use. These included acorns, sea shells, pine needles, moss, twine, pinecones, and other natural items, most of which came from the institute's sculpture park.

"There's so much out there," Tiller said. "It's just relaxing to do this."

Tiller made sure the participants knew of all the components that were available to them, and some of them learned of things for the first time.

"How many of you have heard of teaberry?" Tiller asked while holding some up.

Participants each used a piece of cardboard for their projects' bases, and Tiller encouraged them to use lots of glue to assemble them.

"You want this to be thick; you want it to be like a puddle," she said.

One of the other youngsters who enjoyed the event was 6-year-old Olivia Enwright, of Manchester - who came dressed for the occasion. Believing that her costume fairy wings at home were too small for the event, she went into a Manchester toy store just before the workshop with her mother, Kerri, and came out with a full fairy costume.

Relying on some advice from her mother, Olivia made a fairy playhouse for fairies to visit and play in - "She's hoping for Tinker Bell," Kerri said while creating a fairy house out of white birch and other items.

"I'm proud of you," Olivia's aunt, Brookline resident Kelley Bujnowski, told her niece at the workshop's end. "You did a really great job today."

Many of the dozen participants had a connection to the institute. Brenda Gilbert, of Townsend, Mass., who brought her daughter Layla Valley to the workshop, said her family has hiked the property's trails for several years and that Layla's father, Isaac Valley, has done volunteer work on the site.

Tiller hopes the institute will repeat the house-
making workshops and that a fairy village will become a feature of the property.

"I think it would be wonderful to get more people involved," she said.

Clark said the workshop is one of several classes, including jewelry making, that have been offered by the institute, whose art center is the former Big Bear Lodge on Route 13. The organization wants to expand its educational programming.

"We have big dreams for our art education programs," Clark said. "We're looking from the community for suggestions of what they're interested in. The sky's the limit."

Twenty years ago, engineer and innovator Paul Andres purchased Big Bear Mountain in town and moved into the house near the mountaintop. A lover of nature and art, he bought sculptures and placed them in natural settings around his new home.

Andres co-founded the institute with renowned sculptor John M. Weidman in 1998. The organization supports fine arts, promotes the integration of arts and technology, and educates and trains artists.

"What makes us so unique is that we honor both nature and art," said Robin Clark, who heads the institute's board of directors. "We're trying to bring that value further into the community."