Mary Ann Rumney Besier is a Charter Trustee and former President of the Board of Trustees of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme. When not working on her latest attempt at a faerie dwelling, Mary Ann is searching through antique shops, secondhand and junk stores searching for “just the right thing” for her next “painting”–assemblies of small objects arranged together, all with the same theme. She appreciates the smallest old antique bits and loves the challenge of finding places for them in her work. She has a passion for art, architecture and the decorative arts and enjoys researching the history surrounding each work she creates, whether a faerie inspired abode or an assemblage.
Mary Ann holds an AB in Art from Mount Holyoke College and a BFA and MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University. She is Principal of the design firm Rumney Associates located in Madison, CT. The firm, which she founded in 1972, provides Graphic Design services for the design of way-finding sign systems for public, institutional, and private projects. Her firm designed both the interior and exterior sign systems for the Florence Griswold Museum. Rumney Associates is currently designing the sign systems for both the CT Fastrak Busway between Hartford and New Britain and the new Railroad. Stations between New Haven and Springfield, MA.
Wee Faerie Village Experience 2009 – 2016, in collaboration with Ruth Baxter Tagliatella 2009 – 2013.
The Good Witch Grants Dorothy’s Wish 2013
This faerie castle was built for Glinda the Good Witch of the Wizard of Oz. Glinda rules the Land of the Quadlings. In Quadling Land everything is painted red. Glinda surrounds herself with opulent furnishings in red and white and all things heart shaped. She is a benevolent but wise and powerful ruler. It is Glinda who has the power to return Dorothy to her home in Kansas.
Mary Ann Rumney Besier
Chris Blackshaw works as the visual arts teacher for the Expeditionary Learning school ISAAC (Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication) in downtown, New London. When not writing art units, planning lessons, or collaborating with colleagues, Blackshaw paints and works on mixed media sculptures. Blackshaw continues to study at RISD-Continuing Education learning about mosaics.
Blackshaw is interested in the formal elements of design and applying those through a sense of place and space. Often inspired by nature, architecture and landscape, Blackshaw draws on these sources to create abstract paintings and sculptures.
Blackshaw holds a M.A.T in Art and Design Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition, Blackshaw earned a B.F.A in Sculpture/3D Studies with a minor in art history from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, plus a B.A. from Providence College.
Chris is an art teacher at the ISAAC School in New London. In 2016 she will lead her students to collaborate on their own installation for Wee Faerie Village.
Wee Faerie Village Experience: 2011 – 2016
Chris Blackshaw in collaboration with fellow artist and sister Justine Lavigne, created The Flying Monkey Lair for the Florence Griswold Museum’s Wee Faerie Exhibit in the Land of Oz.
Robin Breeding is a “Jack-of-all-trades”, combining the decorative arts with graphic and fine. She earned a BA, Phi Beta Kappa, from Oberlin College in 1995, with a combined major of fine arts, performance and writing. She spent the following year in St. Petersburg, Russia as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow. Her project “Finding Russia: Art through the lens of the former Soviet Union” focused on the collection and assemblage of found objects and narratives.
Robin went on to earn an MFA in sculpture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she also taught drawing for 3 years.
She received her formal instruction in faux and decorative painting at the Isabel O’Neil Studio-Workshop in New York.
In Old Lyme and Nantucket, Robin works as a graphic designer, decorative painter and maker of fine objects for the home. She also plays an active role in scenic design and set decoration. You can see more of what she does on her website: breedingandstroud.com
This is Robin’s first Wee Faerie Village.
Lis-el Crowley is a self-proclaimed creativity addict who has dedicated much of her life to bringing opportunities for creative expression to others in a variety of media and venues. As an artist, Lis-el works in diverse media, including inks, silks, glass, porcelain, stoneware and precious metal clay. She teaches classes and workshops and leads creative nigh out experiences throughout the United States.
Lis-el is also the founder and director of the Metalclay Artisan Guild in CT, a guild based in Windsor, CT that is dedicated to furthering excellence and nurturing the development of powdered metallurgy as an art medium. In 2014, the Metalclay Artisan Guild, or MAGIC for short, took on the Wee Faerie Village for the first time. A team of dedicated artists came together to create an installation involving fabricated doors, Faerie elevator, mad scientist steampunk faerie lab and more for the Steampunk Alice in Wonderland village. So much fun and magic happened that the Guild has taken on the enjoyable task of bringing The Lord of the Rings to life for this year’s village.
Lis-el is working with fellow artists from the Metalclay Artisan Guild in Connecticut Sara Brown, Lynda Cmara, Bevlynn Gallant, Sharon Lamonakis, and Bettina Rowlands on the project his year.
Fine silver and dichroic glass leaf pendant by Lis-el Crowley
Pam Erickson is a graduate in Graphic design from The School of Visual Arts, NYC. She has been exhibiting her mixed media work in galleries nationwide since 1995.
She has received two Connecticut Arts Commission Grants since relocating to Connecticut in 1998. She lives and maintains a studio in Ivoryton.
This will be her third time participating in “Wee Faerie Village.”
Pam Erickson’s assemblage and sculpture employ a wide range of non-traditional mediums. Some materials being quite personal: early family photos, hair from her cats and dogs, the shed skin of a pet iguana and bones from chickens fed to family and friends, etc, etc. Perhaps the most intimate being the threads, hair and the very D.N.A. tangled up in lint from the clothes dryer has led her down this path of being compelled to reinvent and transform these artifacts.
Where one might have difficulty putting her into a genre as an artist, Erickson has categorized herself simply as a “Conceptual Crafter.”
Katie Scarlett Faile, from the Appalachian Mountains of North GA, grew up in a family of artists. Her grandmother, a well regarded calligrapher and watercolorist, says her “Katie-diddle-doll just wiggles her pencil and can draw anything.” Her father, a craftsman carpenter, was always a bit baffled by the fairy and troll illustrations his daughter was forever doodling.
Katie is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her works showcase a variety of mediums on an array of artistic subjects including film concepts, book illustrations, and maritime art. Her art is known for creativity, detail and whimsy.
Katie resides in Connecticut with her husband, Erik, a U.S. Navy submarine officer, and her beloved pooch Maximus. She works in the third floor art studio of her quirky Victorian home and spends most of her days surrounded by paints, papers, gnomes, fairies, and the occasional sailboat or submarine.
This is her second year as a participant in the Wee Faerie Village. This year she partners with Jennifer Antcliff.
Technicolor Snail and his Trusty Gnome
watercolor and ink on cold-pressed paper
Our Garden Gang Group of friends have participated in the Wee Faerie Village events since their inception in 2009, each of us bringing our own talent and sensibility to the final project.
Dee Dee Charnok, a Master Gardener, lives in Lyme and has serially converted the land around her homes as she moved from Essex (two there) to Lyme into glorious gardens, having been a landscape designer for 22 years. She excels in many artistic endeavors and has recently begun painting in her newest home, in a historic studio on the property. Dee Dee has been a volunteer in the Garden Gang for twelve years.
Teddi Curtiss studied art at Boston College and the University of Colorado, is a member of the Lyme Academy College of Art, and the Mystic Art Association, both in which she has exhibited her oils in juried shows. Many of Teddi’s paintings can be found in private collections throughout the East Coast. A twenty year member of the Lyme Garden Club, she has been a veteran in the Garden Gang for twenty-six years.
Gay Thorn, also a Master Gardener, has been a lifelong gardener, a member of the Essex Garden Club for twenty-two years, having also served as past president there. A stalwart support of the Club’s May Market, she has also opened her gardens to the public and been a featured delight in 2009 as a part of the Child and Family Garden Tour fundraiser. Gay has participated as a member of the Garden Gang for twelve years.
Bobbie Padgett, yet another Master Gardener, has only been a resident of Old Lyme for eleven years, having married a Naval Officer and ergo been on the move for most of her married life. She is a twelve-year member of the Garden Gang. Her schooling from the University of California at Berkeley where she received a BA in Art practice, along with her traveling lifestyle during which she “collected” ephemera, inspired her to start a business designing brooches called “Bobbie-Pins.com”
The Garden Gang friends were responsible for “The Cheshire Cat” for the 2014 Wee Faerie Village – Alice in a Steampunk’d Wonderland.
Brothers Dave and Jeff Graybill are Old Lyme natives with ancestry in Oslo, Norway. This has influenced them to create a Scandinavian Viking Wee Faerie Village. They both run the family business in town, All Pro Automotive and co-own Graybill Properties LLC.
Dave studied at the Art Institute of Boston for fine arts and abroad in Florence, Italy. After Graduation in 2001 he went back to travel Europe to experience the different cultures and art before settling back to Old Lyme.
Jeff studied at Ithaca College in upstate New York in 1999, with a degree in business and accounting. Upon graduation, he came back to Old Lyme to help their father run the family business.
This is their first Wee Faerie Village.
Carol Hall-Jordan is a life long resident of Berkshire County. She enjoys combining her love of children’s literature and nature to create whimsical wee folk dwellings. Teaching third graders for 41 years helped develop her sense of humor and love of fantasy.
Carol’s miniature houses are constructed from driftwood, seashells, and see glass found walking the beaches in Maine. The moss, lichen and other natural materials are collected on daily hikes in the woods. Carol also makes needle felted wee folk.
Kathryn Stocking- Koza is a retired educator from the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. Art has always been a part of her life, recently finding a sketchbook from when she was eight years old. Kathryn is also an amateur painter.
Kathryn and Carol have been friends for over forty years. Since 2012 they have been creating artwork from driftwood and other natural materials found along the Eastern shores of the United States. Their work includes fairy houses, sculptures, and driftwood “paintings”.
This is Kathryn and Carol’s second time participating in WFV.
Carol and Kathryn designed the Jack and the Beanstalk’s castle with its secret passages, tower lookouts, and hidden doorways. They enjoyed the challenge of creating a kingdom for a specific story in an assigned outdoor space that would invite the viewer’s imagination to take them into the fairy tale’s magical world. This is their first time participating in the Wee Fairy Village.
Kathryn’s fairy house THE WHALE INN.
Lesley and John Keogh Lesley is an avowed miniature enthusiast, and owns eight Dollhouses, which range from a vintage Marx-a-Mansion, a 1930’s Bungalow, a Georgian townhouse and a sprawling Edwardian mansion. John Keogh supports her in her hobby, but dreads accompanying her to antique stores, tag sales etc. as she is always looking for a new project.
The couple have been Danbury residents for 35 years and have 2 children, one is an artist in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The other is a fireman and lives in Danbury with them. John is a Robotics Engineer and Lesley has been with the Wilton Library Children’s Dept. for 14 years.
This is their third year of creating a dwelling for the Wee Faerie Village.
This year’s project is the Cottage dwelling of Baba Yaga, a child eating witch from Russian Folklore. Her house is unique in that it stands on chicken legs and doesn’t have windows or doors. The chicken legs (which will be made from heavy dowels with sculpy molded for the feet) will be the biggest challenge
In 2014, they made a small steampunk house for Lewis Carroll’s Walrus and Carpenter. To add to the mix of organic and mechanical, Lesley used real oyster shells with metal screws drilled through them. The house had a rope ladder on the roof that led to a walrus zeppelin.
Madeline T. Kwasniewski is a retired local entrepreneur whose time is dedicated towards her lifelong interest of creativity and design. “Bringing joy and happiness into peoples everyday lives has been the fruit of my lifelong labors. Since becoming involved with the Florence Griswold Museum, it has become an annual passion of mine to help contribute to the enjoyment, wonder and intrigue we see in the eyes of the visitors both young and old to our Wee Faerie Village displays.”
Madeline’s keen interest in creativity began in high school. Her art teacher Mr. Balboni, saw the ability in her vision and creative works. With the teachers urging, Madeline dove into the arts, eventually having several of her works portrayed to other classes by her teacher. Youthful exuberance led to adulthood responsibilities, the arts had to wait until unencumbered time was in her hands.
Madeline’s faerie villages continue to bring joy and creative influence to others while they travel on display at other museums in the greater New London area. Along with her husband T. Arthur Donnelly, they opened “Splinters” to exhibit their whimsical, fun, fine arts and crafts at various juried events such as the Niantic Art Show and the Mystic Outdoor Art Festival.
Wee Faerie Village Experience – 2012-2016
T Arthur Donnelly received his Cabinetmaking apprenticeship from Bullard Haven Tech in the early 70’s. Experience was obtained working at an antique restoration business in Westport CT. Next he opened his own custom furniture fabrication, restoration and repair business. He left the woodworking trade to enter a 40-year career within the Aerospace Industry.
T Arthur is returning to his craft creating useful artistic forms from native trees to sculpt them into select bowls, vases, plates and furniture.
Teaming up with his wife Madeline Kwasniewski they opened “Splinters” a wood based reclamation business capturing raw materials slated for fireplaces, wood chippers and landfills to transform them into whimsical, fun, fine arts and crafts.
Wee Faerie Experience: 2013-2016
Ingrid Lavoie is a paper artist who works in the German tradition know as scherenschnitte. This practice of paper cutting translates to scissors cuts. She was smitten by this craft on a trip to Denmark in her teens. This passion for cut paper has been honed over the years. Currently she teaches paper cutting at the Handicraft Club of Providence, the Newport Art Museum’s Coleman Center and this March, the John Cambell Folk School in North Carolina. This past December she contributed a palette to Florence’s Tree at the Florence Griswold Museum. Her work can be found at Studio Hop in Providence and online in her etsy shop;
Ingrid earned her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. This will be her first year as a Wee Faerie Village artist. She is thrilled to give 2D paper cutting a presence in the Village.
Sean Langlais has exhibited his work in various venues from Boston to New York including Exit Art and Mills Gallery. He creates his own unique expressions of motion, sound, kinetic energy, and time and his work explores the nature and history of material culture and applied technology. Sean is professor of art at Three Rivers Community College. He earned his MFA degree at UMASS Amherst. A Connecticut native, he resides in Norwich, with his wife, artist Sandra Jeknavorian and their son, Charlie.
This is Sean’s second Wee Faerie Village.