Cork mother and daughter bring fairies to life with crafty business venture 

Beautifully crafted fairy doors are being made and brought to life by a mum and daughter team. MARY HASSETT chats to the duo about their creations
Cork mother and daughter bring fairies to life with crafty business venture 

Lucy Leland with her Mum's picture of Passage West houses and Corrine Leland with some of the fairy doors. Picture: Leonard Stone

MOTHER and daughter Corrine and Lucy Leland from Glenbrook, are combining their unique talents to create fairy doors that come to life before your eyes,

The doors are made from driftwood that Corrine collects from around Cork Harbour. She paints all her fairy doors red as this was the traditional colour used on Irish front doors. She painstakingly decorates each individual door and designs an accompanying animated video showing the fairy opening the door and making her way inside.

Lucy then comes on board to provide the wonderful sound effects for the animation. Children and adults alike will be entranced watching and hearing the fairy scatter magic dust, before putting on the lights and music inside the house.

Anyone who purchases one of the beautifully crafted doors can download the free Artivive app on their smartphone or tablet. Then it’s just a matter of viewing the fairy door through these devices and, hey presto, Corrine and Lucy’s animated video brings the fairy and her home to life.

An exhibition of the uniquely Irish fairy doors will be on show at the Passage West Creates Craft Shop from Friday, October 29 to Sunday, November 7.

In addition, customers can purchase the fairy doors from the craft shop, which is run as a co-operative, from Thursdays to Sundays until late November, and thereafter every day in the run up to Christmas.

Corrine Leland with some of the fairy doors. Picture: Leonard Stone
Corrine Leland with some of the fairy doors. Picture: Leonard Stone

Corrine is renowned for creating everything from little boats to lighthouses and even cats from driftwood. However when Assumpta Lydon, Manager of Passage West Creates, approached her about using driftwood to make fairy doors, Corrine’s initial response was that there were already too many doors on the market.

“If I was to make them, I felt they would have to be real Irish fairy doors. They would have to be red as I’m very much into history with all the myths and legends. I wanted to create a magical experience,” adds Corrine.

Even though she had some experience of animation earlier in her career, it’s only in the past month that she started to apply it to her art work.

“It has all come together in a weird way like it was all meant to happen. Lucy got involved because she had no choice as I needed sound on this animation,” laughs Corrine.

“I had seen examples of the Artivive augmented reality app and I was hooked. I decided, I’m going to do this and it has turned out to be a perfect choice,” Corrine says.

Fortunately, Lucy, who has just completed a course in Soundtracks and Sound Design at St John’s College, is as enthusiastic as her mother about the fairy door project. She is also looking forward to researching the best music and sounds for animated videos to accompany Corrine’s paintings of colourful terraced houses from around the harbour.

“My mother doesn’t even have to say much about what I have to do. It seems to be instinctive,” says Lucy.

Both Corrine and Lucy’s attention to detail is second to none.

“The moss on the outside of each fairy door is made from grated sponge and the toad stools are made from cotton buds. Each daisy is made separately from rolled up cotton wool and the rope holding up the welcome sign is real, rather than just painted on.

“Each door is finished off with yacht varnish so they can be placed outdoors if preferred,” Corrine adds.

It’s nearly got to the stage now that no one in Passage West or Glenbrook can go for a walk without keeping an eye out for driftwood for Corrine.

“Before, when I’d be walking between Passage and Rochestown, my dog Yogi would always be picking up wood along the shore. Now I stop him picking up any of it and instead I come back with a bag full of driftwood for Corrine along with loads of sand hoppers,” laughs Assumpta.

Corrine herself is always on the look-out for the right shape of wood for her fairy doors and other creations. Driftwood can take up to a week to dry out in the summer but it takes longer in the winter.

“We have a massive patio window so things dry out quite quickly there. My apartment is a bit of a mess with all the fairy doors,” Corrine admits.

Her mum, Lou O’Sullivan, makes beautiful hand-knitted toys and tea cosies that are always a big hit in Passage West Creates Craft Shop.

At Corrine’s request, Assumpta arranged to have Lou, complete in biker gear, photographed alongside a Triumph motorbike delivering her biker tea cosy to the shop. It was an act of random fun and kindness that beloved parish priest, Fr. Con, would have relished.

Find Corrine Leland and Passage West Creates on Facebook.


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