Fairy Magic / by Teresa Wooden

 Following a sheep trail through the Fairy Hills, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Following a sheep trail through the Fairy Hills, Isle of Skye, Scotland.

I've just returned from the Fairy Realm.  At least, that's how it seems.   We went on a bucket-list trip to Scotland at the end of June.  Scotland is a land drenched in history and natural beauty, and the green hills, forest paths and friendly people have found a place in my heart and in my dreams.

The best part of the trip, however, was spending two days on the Isle of Skye, on the western coast of Scotland.  Here we hiked through the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen.  Imagine walking into the world of Lord of the Rings, complete with magical places like "Fairy Glens", "Fairy Pools", and "Fairy Hills".  All of these were hiking destinations, through hills and plateaus so green that they seemed to glow with other-worldly energy.  Waterfalls, mountain streams, vast expanses of open plains and mountainsides...It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Each time I've visited abroad, I've returned with ideas and pictures in my mind that find their way into my work.  When we went to Italy, my pot shapes and sgraffito designs were influenced by the ancient Etruscan ceramics I studied there.  When we returned from Ireland, the sprials and runes of the prehistoric solstice tombs (especially the Newgrange tomb) became part of my carving vocabulary.

I am waiting to see how Scotland will settle into my creative thought process.  There were sheep everywhere scattered across the landscape like snowflakes on the hills.  I raised sheep once, and love them...I know I will be sketching/painting/carving them in the near future.  The vegetation was all ferns and foxgloves, lupines and birch/spruce forests...already I have begun to carve foxgloves and ferns into the story jars which I made and wrapped tightly before I left.  We stayed in a stone cottage built in the early 1800's, a former farm dwelling on the banks of Loch Ness; perhaps I'll start adding some houses and human characters to my designs.  Although we didn't see "Nessie", I can imagine how she looks.  Even she may show up on a post-Scotland pot.  One never knows.

For now I'm still basking in the glow of a magical spell, surely cast upon me by a fairy in the Glen...to leave a piece of my heart in a faraway land with the waterfalls and the red deer.

The Old Man of Storr,  a naturally occurring standing rock formation on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Ferns and Foxgloves, Isle of Skye.