Mythology & History
Here you will find background on myself , the urban-fairies project and the fairy doors phenomenon.
Who am I and what am I doing here?
I am Jonathan b. Wright, a life long resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The following is a true story which gives a bit of history of the Urban Fairies.
An Urban Fairy Tale
In a transient town such as Ann Arbor, it often seems that the concept of a “local” Ann Arborite is a fairytale. This is a true tale. I was born and raised here. I even met my wife at the University of Michigan. Our fairytale home on the Old West Side came as a wonderful backdrop for a child’s story. At over 100 years old, the floors creaked. Actually, the floors tipped. The center rooms of the house changed elevation by about 2 inches for every 4 feet. Though the Historic Commission deemed there to be “no historical significance” to our home, we began repairing, renovating and expanding it.
It’s all about building homes.
Of course, since this was written, the balconey with french doors appeared in that part of the breakfast area. ~jbw 6.08.06
Here I am at Sweetwaters Café with a double mocha, wondering if anything exciting will ever happen in this town.
Some thoughts and history about fairies:
I have spoken with a few people who are passionate about the "Fae".
I think it is wise to post some terms, facts and opinions here. There are also some wonderful links and books to check out. We have a fair (pun intended) library of our own.
First... the spelling:
Many people use an old-world spelling: faery or faerie or even faeree. This spelling is perhaps more "authentic" as it comes from the French around the Tudor period .
I live in the "new-world" so I have adopted a new-world spelling: fairy....besides I like the dangley "y" and dotting the "i".
Some other traditional spellings are: fayerye, fairye, fayre.
I have also noted MANY more variations...especially from the younger contributors to the journals/guestbooks. Keep in mind that this group has the highest percentage of fairy sightings, so I would not discount their interpretations out of age bias.
Fary, Faries, Fairys, Fairieys, Farie, Faires, Fiairys, Fare, Fareys, Farys, Fairey, Fariey, Fairs, Fire, Firye, Faireas, Faeires, Farries, Fers, Fiary(s), Farees, Fariys, Fearies, kabouter (Dutch).
Other than the Dutch contribution...the unifying elements are an "F" followed by an "R" and one or more vowel; a, e, i and/or y....with an "S" for pluralization.
Fary & Faries are the second most common spelling(s) in the journal/guestbooks
Second... definitions, catagories:
The Fae or the Fey; The WORLD of the Faerie
Fairies (regardless of spelling): At one time a "fairy" was a woman with magical powers. Later "fairy" also meant "elves". Early on "fairies were much larger (4-5 feet tall...some MUCH larger) than our popular conception. Some say that the notion of little winged Fairies is a literary embellishment from the Victorian period. Regardless, as with most things of the magical-imagined world...they change. Folk tales/songs change with telling...they grow and shrink and become richer with time.
Elves, Pixies, Brownies, Gnomes, Sprites, Leprechauns, Goblins, Trolls, Dwarves, Ogres.....etc
Books, Illustrators and sites:
pictured are a few of the books I had sitting near me just now.
• "FAERIES" ;
Brian Froud & Alan Lee, Peacock Press/ Bantam Books 1978
This one of my favorite books on the topic. I believe it is reprint.... YEP...
Note also the spelling with the "ae"...of course Brian is British and SHOULD use that spelling.
The 25th ANNIVERSARY edition, Harry N Abrams © 2002..with 20 NEW illustrations.
Actually ANY of the Brian (and/or Wendy) Froud books are great!
I will be working on this....
HMMM...as I dig into this...I am not so sure that I want/need to indentify mythical beings. There is a HUGE amount of information.... often conflicting. I think that I will leave the "fact" proclamations to others. I'll ammend what I started and give referrences to better sources ~jbw 6.09.06
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Urban Fairies - Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor
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This is all about the Fairy Doors in Ann Arbor, Michigan and what illustrator, Jonathan b. Wright discovers about them. It includes photographs of the Fairy Doors, comments in the Fairy Journals, Observations and speculations about the Fairies. Tiny Doors, Urban Fairies, Faery, Faeries, Fairy, Fairies, miniature doors, tiny doors, little doors, tiny fairy doors, little fairy doors, little faery doors, tiny faery doors, weensy doors, Sweetwaters Cafe, Peaceable Kingdom, Jefferson Market, The Ark, The Ann Arbor Framing Company, Selo Shevel Gallery, Lakewood Elementary Kindergarten, Fairy ticket window, fairy entrances, fairy windows, fairy spaces, fairy store, fairy shop. The site will be updated frequently with new excerpts from the Fairy Journals, New fairy sightings, Specifics about each location a fairy map. Any new knowledge of the fairy activity will be passed along by Jonathan. Also on this site are some hidden fairy surprises a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Fairies. There is a brief history of how Jonathan became involved with the Urban Fairies. There are links to local publications about the Urban Fairy phenomenon. Jonathan is currently writing several books on the fairies in collaboration with his wife, Kathleen, who coincidentally has found a fairy door in her kindergarten classroom. Hopefully it will be fun and informative to come back and see what's new with the Urban Fairies of Ann Arbor.