Category Archives: Radical Faerie

Candle Light

I was just in Tennessee for a week, visiting with an old friend who is having some health challenges at the moment and seeing other friends I haven’t seen in more than ten years now. More on that later…

P1010418_2 One of those friends is John Wall. He is taking the most excellent care of my other friend. Without John Wall I don’t know what he would be doing. I went to visit John at his homestead by a stream. He shares this place with his fere, Lee, and they grow vegetables (Lee is a horticulturist at a local garden) and John Wall makes candles. Beautiful candles. His business, Dry Creek Candles, is his main form of support…and since he is giving such support to my old friend, I thought it would be nice if readers here gave John Wall and Dry Creek Candles a look. We all burn candles from time to time, and John’s are beautiful, hand-made, hand-dipped bee’s wax. And John is pretty cute, too.John_wall_2 You know…for a guy.

P1010424 The work involved seems almost meditative. He works with beautiful colors, as you can see above, and he also made all of his equipment from scratch. Notice those wheels holding all the candles…they’re bicycle wheels.

Turn and dip. Turn and dip. I asked him how many dips it takesto make a candle (and no…that’s not a set-up for a joke!) and he told me 35 or more. All his products are made with the least amount of additives to give you clean burning, long lasting, quality candles. Beautiful candles by a beautiful man. Candles06

P1010355 Most of the time I was there, we sat on the porch and caught up on a lot of conversation. My friend and I met 35 years ago in San Francisco and we haven’t run out of things to talk about in all that time. He’s built a wonderful little hermitage/cottage/Hobbit home for himself there. He’s not well enough to stay in it now. But we went to see it and while we were there, he gave me the most wonderful gift of these old flyers from the Fillmore West. Some of them are pretty amazing….Jethro Tull, Chicago (my home town!)…It’s A Beautiful Day…Ten Years After…the Grateful Dead…John Mayall. And more. All in the inimitable psychedelic style of the day.

Here are some of them…

The amazing thing is he still had them at all. They don’t call it "ephemera" for nothing: It’s just paper…in a trunk…in the woods! This ephemera was mailed out to promote concerts at Fillmore Auditorium, but also to promote Bill Graham’s tours. Fillmore_flyer_1_2 Most people probably tossed them or lost them at some point.Fillmore_flyer_3_2  The calendars on the backs of these read like a Who’s Who of the Golden Age of Rock n’ Roll….Van Morrison…Joe Cocker…Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young,…John Sebastian…Richie Havens…Frank Zappa…Rod Stewart…and those are just the ones on the back of one of the flyers. Fillmore_flyer_2_2

Make Your Own Faery Wings!

Make Your Own Faery Wings!
With a few basic supplies and your own creative spirit, you can make your own faery wings just to flit around town! Follow the instructions below, or…just wing it!  Remember: keep your wings on the small side to avoid snagging yourself on thistles (and other faeries) and make them nice & light so you don’t get a wingache. Take it easy on the faery dust. And be careful if you fly by night!

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • 16-gauge galvanized steel wire (14 gauge for ‘high-tension’ wings)
    between 6 – 9 feet, for two wings, depending on size of faery
    wire clippers/pliers
  • duct tape
  • 1 pair queen-size pantyhose in any color (sheer and/or iridescent look really cool)
    Note: Make sure the hose you are using are very stretchy. Don’t use support hose!
  • Safety pins
  • Needle and thread to match pantyhose
  • Scissors (sharp enough to cut pantyhose)
  • Magic markers in fairylike colors
  • Things to decorate your wings! Glitter, feathers, flowers, fluff, lace, foil,
    beads, fringe, pipe cleaners, small animals…

Wing1_2 1. Make an armature for your wings.
Shape the length of wire into a figure 8, checking as you go to make sure the wings are the size you want and that both sides of the figure 8 are equal in size. Wrap a short (3") length of duct tape around the center join of the figure 8 to fix it firmly in place. If any wire ends are sticking out, trim them with the wire clippers, and cover the ends of the wire with duct tape so they don’t poke you in the back. Test the armature by tugging on it firmly; add more duct tape if needed.

Wing2_2 2. Stretch the pantyhose over the armature and shape your wings.
Take the scissors and cut the pantyhose into three pieces: two legs and one "panty." Set the panty aside; it will become your wing halter. Now stretch one pantyhose leg over each side of your figure-8 armature. Pull it taut, but not so tight that it distorts the wings. Use safety pins to hold the pantyhose legs in place at the base of the wings, and shape your wings by bending the wire. Adjust the tension of the Wing3pantyhose as needed. When you’ve got the shape you want, sew the pantyhose in place at the base of the wings, and then trim off the excess hose (you can use it for additional decoration or to extend your halter ties, if needed).

Wing43. Decorate your wings!
Using magic markers, draw in the basic lines of your wing design. Color your wings according to your fancy, or if you want, you can look through field guides of moths and butterflies to find a pattern you like. Embellish your wings with glitter, feathers, beads… whatever you desire!

Wing5_2 4. Create a wing "halter" or ties.
Take the leftover panty, and cut out the crotch area (this will become the neck hole). You now have what looks like a very small tank top (A). For small children, this halter can simply be pulled over the head; larger folks will need to enlarge the holes and/or cut open the front of the halter (B). Some faeries prefer to do away with the halter altogether and instead use long ties that they wrap around their shoulders and torso (C). You can also use a double loop of elastic, one loop per shoulder.

Wing6_3 5. Attach your wings to the halter (or ties).
Using needle and thread, securely attach your wings to the halter or ties. Now for the fun part — try them on! Use a hand mirror in front of a bigger mirror to see if the wings are sitting even on your shoulders (or ask a friend to check for you). If necessary, use needle & thread to adjust the wing placement, or adjust the ties until the wings are as straight as you want them.

6. Wear your wings to the May Day Festival!
You may, of course, want to wear them at other times: to parties, friends’ houses, job interviews, even the supermarket. You can also make faery antennae to complement your wings–why not!

Wing7_2(Sad-but-true disclaimer: faery wings do not enable the wearer to actually fly, at least as such action is defined within the realm of Newtonian physics. Flights of fancy are excepted from this disclaimer whether they adhere to Newtonian or quantum physics but we eschew any and all responsibility for any physical consequences of such flights — or physick required to remedy said consequences.)

Wing design ©1997 by Amy Grisham. Used with permission!
Thank you Amy!
Drawings © Amanda Sanow.

High Tea in Low Drag

Burnside12A generous creative soul has posted a movie from last November’s birthday party for gay icon and one of the radical faerie founders John Burnside.

The video is a bit long but it gives a nice glimpse into an authentically queer community that honors its elders. You will see many marvelous things including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and some fantastical wear.

Bo and I were able to be in San Francisco during that time and attended the festivities that honored this great and kind brother.

The video can be seen here.