Lichen Lookout


The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit will open in 2 weeks, so in addition to my duties as curator, I’ve been finishing up my house. Last winter, I invited 23 artists to create their own interpretation of a fairy house. They’ve spent the last few months picking locations around Highfield, naming their houses and fingering out how they’re going to make their imaginings. I’ve seen a few partially constructed ones and they are extraordinary! All are invited to the Artist Reception for the outdoor exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA on Sunday, June 23rd, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The exhibit will run from June 20 to July 21, 2013. Maps will be available to help discover the specially made habitats, which are situated on the property’s lush grounds and gardens.

My house, “Lichen Lookout” is an open, double storied affair, which will be installed up in a beech tree. I started by cutting out two plywood platforms. To hide the wood and make it more homey looking, I covered the floors with old woven raffia place mats. I then screwed tree branches to the plywood, making a main floor and an upper lookout.

fairyfamilyraffleOther Fairy House News
(added May 30, 2015)
The Fairy Houses of Highfield Hall outdoor exhibit will be held from June 28th to August 31, 2015 at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, MA. In addition to curating the exhibit, Salley Mavor has made a fairy family of 5, which is being raffled (3 tickets for $5.00). Tickets may be purchased online or at Highfield Hall, where the fairy family is on display. The raffle drawing will be August 30, 2015. The prize will be sent to the winner anywhere in the world! Good luck!


I used my felt covered wire technique to make a curly cue railing. As in nature, there are no straight lines in fairy houses! The plywood edges were covered with embroidered felt, which I attached with staples that are hidden inside. Don’t ask how that was done–it was fairy magic!


Trumpet vine pods came in handy for a roof. Needle and thread couldn’t hold them in place well enough, so I used the dreaded glue gun to attach the pods to a wire form. I put up with the glue strings and globs, knowing that it would be strong and waterproof.



I later covered the unsightly glue with lichen, hence the house name of “Lichen Lookout”. My collection of glass leaf beads were useful for embellishing the front gate and railings.


We carried the house outside and took its picture. Here, it’s lost in all of the vegetation, but I like the lilies of the valley out front. You can kind of see the milkweed pod swing. It will look very different when it is installed in the gray beech tree.

I hope that lots of people come see the show, which promises to be an engaging display of architectural whimsy!


21 thoughts on “Lichen Lookout

  1. Oh I would so love to come to this – this little fairy house is enchanting! How about a little video for those of us too far to come?!

  2. Yes, yes. I ache to see them all. And who will be looking at them when the lights are turned off at the end of each day? Will any models stand in for them during the day? Do you find the ability to fantasize and believe in the unbelievable gives you strength, even on the grimmest days? I feel like clapping, very hard.

  3. That looks amazing. It really does look like it was built there by fairies! I wish I could come to the show, but I hope you’ll post lots of pictures.

  4. I just love your house, it’s magical and very inviting!! Would love to be a little fairy in the market for a fine home! You are a genius Salley!!!

  5. What a Beautiful Sculpture to have in a Garden. When you have things to discover in a Garden, beside new blooms.. It makes the walking out into the Garden a bit more interesting. Love it.
    GOD Bless,

  6. How wonderful!Just love you playing with your fairy house!
    I have gnomes which I put out in the front garden.When a gnome is out a young neighbour of mine knows to go to our front door and a little surprise will be waiting.I have given her lots of little treats, but next time I have a little fairy to leave for her.Inspired by your Wee Folk book.
    I think those artists’ Fairy Houses would be fabulous to see. yes please..a video!!

  7. Please do do a video! I’m in the area every other month, but will miss this. I wish I could see it. But what about rain? Rain and felt I wouldn’t t think would mix well!

    • Being an outdoor exhibit, the houses will have to withstand the wind and rain. In anticipation of this, I decided to use acrylic felt. Another habitat in the show is made entirely of knitted and shrunk wool yarn. She’s tested it outside in the rain and it holds up fine. Just think about shepherds wearing wool sweaters, out with their sheep in all kinds of weather!

  8. Next time could I join your house exhibit? I too am involved in fairy dwellings! Just finished a nonfiction picture book on the Cottingley Fairies, and they would fit perfect in your magic cottage…Beautiful work as always!

  9. Damn, Salley. You set the bar pretty high with those pictures. My structure of the new design is done, but as I see from your whimsical work, the devil is in the details. Fun!


  10. What inspiration! My group of tea ladies are gathering in my yard for a real Woodland Fairie Tea party in August. Costumes, wings and dancing under the moon with rhythm instruments and a luscious meal of natural foods. Would love for any of the houses to be part of it. Too bad we live so far away. Love your work and creative ideas!!!

  11. Here’s another blog I get regularly. She does interesting things with felt and embroidery.


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