It all started with a fairy, or so it seems to Wendy Addison. In a small garage behind her house twenty years ago, she started to use her skills as a self-taught artist, paper marbler, and bookbinder to assemble constructions of whimsy and wonder from vintage ephemera and original art. When she woke one day with the image of a “theatre of dreams” in her mind, she knew she had found both a symbolic starting place and a name for her new business. She created a literal home for her new idea, fabricating a doll house of sorts from objects and furniture, and searched for a symbolic character to embody the spirit of her creative adventure. She found her the very next day at a rummage sale: a tiny celluloid figure of a ballet dancer doing a pirouette. Her very own fairy muse.
The dollhouse slowly transformed into a combination home and theatre space. “I made her a tiny chaise lounge where she could lie at night looking up through the skylight at the moon. In the daytime, she would come down to the first floor, which had become a stage for her to act out her dreams.”
Since then, Wendy has expanded her creative venture exponentially, but she never forgets the tiny muse who awoke her dreaming. In fact, she admits that the rummage sale discovery, although a very real signpost of heading in the right direction, was not the small fairy dancer’s first pirouette across her memory. “I don’t know when or where I was first beguiled by the fairy dancer who keeps re-appearing in my work. She is some sort of compendium of very early childhood memories and imaginings from Andrew Lang fairy tales, inventions of my solitude, and dozens of Victorian images that have been impressed upon my mind’s eye.
“My fairy dancer has a very particular personality. She’s the embodiment of charm and a whimsical joy that has no anxiety attached … only guiltless pleasure … and a total sense of freedom. She’s an elusive chimera, a coquette, a muse, and a bit of wishful thinking. She’s my antidote to nightmares.”
A few years after she started her Theatre of Dreams in her garage, Wendy discovered a small secret California town, Port Costa, and the perfect space to live and work.
“An antique storefront with an adjoining apartment and abandoned garden literally sat empty waiting for me! The lost-in-time atmosphere and ramshackle solitude was perfect.” With this empty stage on which to build the productions of her imagination, Wendy’s creative ventures, and business success, soared.
Her initial small collection grew to include optical toys, mechanical shadow puppets, paper theatres, pastillage faux bois containers, Victorian style shell work, poetry books, and letterpress paper inventions of many kinds. “In my solitude here I dug deeper into that inner well and mined what became a huge library of ideas.” Today, like-minded collectors of her work can fill their own homes with larger versions of the small objects with which she filled that first fairy dollhouse. She calls them “objects for an imaginary life,” and they can cheer and add magic to any abode.
When sparkling awe-filled eyes of all ages first explore the interior of her wondrous shop, the first thing to catch their attention, even from the open doorway, is a beautiful large silhouette backlit by glowing light and framed by a dark curtain. It is, of course, a beautiful dancer, leg raised in a pirouette, with delicate fairy wings barely visible in the light. Find more from Wendy at Wendyaddisonstudio.com.