Blog // The story behind the Dolly Parton Christmas Fairy
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
Our Dolly Parton Christmas fairies have been extremely popular with customers ever since I started making them a few years ago. Late last night when I was finishing off a batch of Etsy orders, my sleepy mind drifted to the time when I came up with the idea for them.
Back in the winter of 2015 I was in hospital recovering from meningitis. I’d come out of a serious coma, my cerebral spinal fluid was leaking out of my nose and I was on a ton or morphine for the pain. Every morning I would wake up in the hospital and for a few hours I felt unable to determine if I was a tangible physical being or if my existence was just a kind of ‘idea’ or some sort of cluster of thoughts floating around.
At night I would have trouble sleeping and I’d watch YouTube videos on my phone and write emails to my friend Paul. I was fond of watching Fred and Ginger dances, and for some reason listening to the Langley Schools Music Project recordings and a random Byrd’s album. I also took to watching a video of a Dolly Parton concert. I guess I found all of these things comforting in my fragile state. The Dolly Parton concert featured Dolly on a deep blue backlit stage, she wore an all white outfit embellished with glittery rhinestones. One of the songs she sang was a cover of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. She looked like an angel, so magical and kind. Now I’m not religious, I’m actually a card carrying member of the British Humanist Society (or ‘Humanists UK’ as they have now rebranded themselves), I don’t believe in heaven, or in angels, but Dolly Parton just seemed to embody the Christmassy, angel/fairy vibe so well.
During the day, I would lay in the hospital bed and look out through the one window. The view was mostly just a brick wall and a tiny bit of sky. It was mid-September when I went into the coma and the end of November by the time I left the hospital. So I would look at this little patch of sky and try to gauge the changing of the season. I had the idea in my mind that I could recover, leave the hospital and open our shop during December (which was mad because in real life, I took another 9 months before I was well enough to open the shop). So I kept thinking up ideas of things to make and do in the shop for Christmas.
When I was a kid we used to get packs of cards through the door made by a foot and mouth painting charity group. It would be Christmas cards featuring paintings that had been painted by people unable to use their hands. There would also be a card with two angels on that you could press out and fold to make a 3D angel ornament. I loved playing with them as a kid, and I’d had in my mind for a while to see if I could make some at home. And so it was there at the hospital, in a somewhat delirious state, having watched a lot of Dolly Parton concerts on YouTube (whilst on a lot of morphine) that I thought of making the Dolly Parton Christmas fairies for the first time.
Now in 2018, every time I make a fairy, there is a moment when I gently blow away the excess glitter before I emboss it. As the glitter sparkles in the air, I feel like I’m breathing a spark of magic into the fairy before I send it on its way to whoever has ordered it. It’s amazing to think of the decorations in people’s homes in different places around the world and how a dark moment in hospital back in 2015 has translated into a joyful festive moment, in a stranger’s home on the other side of the world. ---
You can order you own Dolly Parton Christmas Fairy online here:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TinSoldierShop Also available from our shop in Muswell Hill