DOLLS OF YESTERDAY
MUNCY – It was a pure delight to many as they passed the booth of local resident, Helen Shook at Muncy High School’s annual Craft Show held last month. She wasn’t easy to miss for her display captured lots of attention with her one-of-a-kind miniature fairy dolls dressed in colorful petals and embellished silk leaves adorned with sequins and sparkles.
“I call them my Wood Fairies,” said Shook who related a story of the time when she and her granddaughter would take long walks in the woods. “She was about two then, and I told her the story that when the leaves blew, the fairies would hide under them.”
That was twenty years ago, after her daughter said, “Nan, you can make fairies.” And so she did. These dazzling, delicate, form fitting, dainty lifelike creations have been a treasured gift to young and old alike.
Over the years the little Wood Fairies have traveled throughout Europe and the rest of the world. They were often bought as gifts and sent to someone who adored fairies according to Helen. Many times a customer would call her and order another one because someone had seen her work.
Her pattern has also been featured and published in Doll Castle News, a trade journal for doll collectors, artists and enthusiasts.
Her artistic ability has gained her more talent, as each fairy’s features perfected over the years. “The first one was kind of flat and plain,” she said, “and the hobby progressed from there.”
All made by hand, including the embroidered delicate facial features with eyes of color, and lifelike hair made from various fibers such as alpaca, these fairies measure anywhere from 4 to 8 inches. “The larger ones are jointed,” demonstrated Shook. The fabrics are made from brushed acrylics and the bodies are stitched, turned and stuffed by hand. The extended wings are exquisite. No two are ever alike.
The Wood Fairies are only featured at a few shows a year. Hershey is one of them and Helen also likes to go to Home Made Days. “I now have a lot of followers who collect them,” she added. Her biggest show is in Chester County which is always held the first week in December. She also sells the fairies from a store in Lititz, after the store owner spotted them at a show in Hershey.
Much credit also goes to husband, Bernard Shook, who accompanies Helen to the shows and helps her set up the display.
Her pattern is copyrighted, after winning a contest about ten years ago. She produces about 50 to 60 a year and works on them all year long. Each fairy comes with a metal stand, signed, named, numbered, autographed and dated. Shook claims she has made thousands of them so far, and said she won’t stop, until she can’t do it anymore. They just keep getting better.
For more information on the fairies and the Dolls of Yesterday, contact Helen at 570-546-2080.