Switching things up for a change, this week's Insight is actually by one of our artists, and actually the person who planted the seed of the Bad-Ass Faeries series in my thoughts with her sketches of warrior faeries, which is how we met. Ruth Lampi has gone one and grown tremendously as an artist since those early sketches, and we like to think the series has as well. (NEXT WEEK'S INSIGHT: Christina Yoder)
I adored Faeries as a child. I loved them. I always clapped loudest to save Tinkerbell, and was very careful never to utter the deathly words that might accidentally slay a fairy. I read all the fairytale collections in the library, and came across the biggest artistic influences of my childhood; the book Faeries, by Brian Froud and Alan Lee, and The film The Dark Crystal. I learned how to tell a troll maid that her tail was dragging, and how to tell a changeling, and was more than half convinced I was one. When I got older, working past Unicorns, leaving Peter Pan and falling in with Robin Hood, and then going Dragon mad, I forgot faeries. They were always there, of course. I didn't stop talking to trees or ravens, or seeing civilizations in root systems and half melted snowbanks. Not for awhile, anyway. But faeries as a group were half forgotten in a haze of nauseating glitter and Trapper Keepers and plastic winged toys. I was a grown up. But I still saw life and mystery in patches of moss on stone walls, and in the lines of a dead tree.
What changed my views of fairies again was a live butterfly exhibit at a museum. I loved the wild serrated shapes of wings, the fact that those were all tiny scales, that butterflies patterns were wild and tribal. I began to think of fairies not as pastel creatures wafting through impossibly rounded and cushioned landscapes, and instead as wild thriving beings who had to survive harsh conditions, who had real civilizations and tribes, and allies and enemies. What tools and weapons would they use? How would they differ, from culture to culture across the world? What if they could feel much more than one emotion at a time, like the poor Victorian Tinkerbell? I began drawing.
I met Danielle at a Fantasy Convention. I am stunned to realize I don't remember which one <<DAM: It was Albacon>>, only that it was probably Balticon or Philcon, and must have been 2004. She was kind enough to look over my youthful portfolio, and hired me to do the illustrations for her chapbook Children of Morpheus. I learned a lot through that experience, pushed myself and my art, and got better as an artist. There was a signing at Aphrodite's Dove, a lovely metaphysical shop that sadly is no more. There Danielle did a reading, and I got to bring in my prints, my Badass Faeries series. Kristin, the store owner, Danielle and I got to talking about faeries and old fairy tales, and questioning why faeries had been sugar and glitter dipped, and how exciting stories about really badass faeries would be. The anthology was born there, just an idea ephemeral and new, to become something bigger then we imagined.
To see what Ruth is working on now visit: www.worldofshandor.com.