Updated: Feb 19
Kay's Creations ...a Portal from the Land of Færie
Guest Blogger, Sally Paulsen
Very few artists can create creatures from fantasy--or possibly beings who may just
exist with us, if mostly unseen—in a way that portrays and expresses the power of their original depth and spirit, variation throughout time, and from culture to culture.
Modern-days' lack of insight into the history and meaning of these Others tend to portray them in a fashion that's been accepted as the standard in popular culture. They're cute and conventionally pretty but follow the conventional sanitised sentimentality that evolved since the industrial age began.
Contemporary depiction gives no hint of the power of an archetype which began in our
earliest days, are with us now and always will be, in one form or another. Urbanisation and an embracing of what can be empirically proven, as well as formal institutions governing what entities are allowed to be observed as “real”, has relegated any otherworldly being that doesn't index into these “acceptable” frameworks, to superstition, folklore, and fictional stories.
But not everywhere.
When I was in Ireland, on a bus tour through the countryside the tour guide pointed out “færie
trees”, marked by stones around them. These trees are seen as portals from the færie world into ours and the stones are a sign to respect these doorways and not disturb the “Good People” as they're known. The rural Irish, or any who work in agriculture aren't in any way behind the times or lacking in the pragmatism that characterises functioning in this day and age; just the opposite. Running a farm demands being expert in science and technology and experiencing reality on its most physical, often dangerous level. Being able to operate within the elements' extremes takes more knowledge, strength, resourcefulness and canniness than most other professions.
A belief in what we call the “uncanny”, and conscious coexistence with an unseen world and its people can well be as much a part adapting to the requirements of everyday life as anything else necessary to providing a basic human need: sustenance, domestically and internationally.
These Others have a history throughout the ages; and they've never been one-dimensional...their identities and how they're perceived, collectively and individually has never been confined to only one facet, “good” or “evil”; though there are times in humanity's history that they were either seen as more benevolent and honoured or malevolent and vilified depending on the times.
Færies and elves are usually depicted as small, but it varies from place to place and time to time. (A little aside...The word “oaf” derives from “elf”. People born with disabilities or syndromes were often considered to be changelings, færie babies left in place of a human child. As disability and autism is often marked by social awkwardness, clumsiness in conventional interaction identified one as an elf.
The word “oaf” is defined by not only clumsiness and inability to understand things, but it's
associated with large size. Will Ferrell in “Elf” is much more in keeping with this aspect of
færiedom; Tolkien's also-tall, but slim, sleek, beautiful, graceful and very “un-oafish” elves were
inspired by heroic Norse, Germanic and British legends. Even in the present day, non-typical
people are associated with otherworldliness; in medical journals in listing other terms for autism “Other-Planet Syndrome” is in the roster ).
For the most part, the Others been perceived as another kind of people, very like us, though with different abilities, and unfamiliar enough to cause the unease and outright fear the unknown evokes.
“Good People” refers both to an innately good nature...and also an appeal to the Others that they will be helpful.
How Others depicted in art has changed over the centuries; reference has been made to the shallow images that adapted to commercial tastes. At some level we seem to know their importance to us, however much we might believe in their reality or correspond to some aspect of the human condition. They haven't gone away, which validates their importance in our collective consciousness.
But it's rare to find an artist who can capture the spirit of Others in a way that
reaches our age-old knowledge and recognition of other people in other worlds.
Kay creates everything, jewelry; window-hangings; dolls; not only by investing herself fully in her works but by treating all the materials with respect and love and letting each one lead her to what it “wants” to be, and getting to know its special character as it becomes one of her unmistakable creations.
When she has a request, she makes something that not only shows her own spirit, but has
an ability to tap into her lucky recipient and find what makes them special...and their own special quality is part of her creation. In making her Others...whether Færies or Bigfoots, her honest appreciation for them makes them come alive and reawaken what many have forgotten.
None are the same, they're all inspired originals by an artist who dedicates herself to every step of creating them with patience, care, enthusiasm and generous good humour that shines through when they're finally finished.
Kay goes far beyond mere image in creating these very special works; with
knowledge, skill, passion and commitment each has a character all its own, with all the depth of the Others through time.
Anyone who's lucky enough to have one of Kay's amazing creations will always treasure it, and they'll believe! ~Sally