Sometimes, in periods of crisis, people respond with sweeping, innovative ideas for change. And some respond in small, creative ways that make everyday life a little sweeter. Erin DeThomas is one of the latter.
DeThomas is the owner of Makers, an art studio for kids in Warren. Explore the nooks and crannies of this art studio and you may spy a “fairy door,” a miniature “passageway” that encourages kids of all ages to imagine, wonder, and believe in magical possibilities. An urban art movement, fairy doors first appeared in California and Michigan, sometimes set into the base of trees in public parks, with little doors where people could leave notes or wishes. Just the discovery of a hidden fairy house is a thrill, and imagining what magical creature might inhabit such an abode could lead to long and captivating conversations. Fairy doors can be purchased on artists’ websites such at Etsy, or made by hand.
DeThomas was inspired by the “spy a bear” activity that has swept through the state, whereby kids would be challenged during family walks to find and count teddy bears that residents had placed in the front windows of their homes. “I wanted to create that same idea of an activity that families could do during the pandemic that would be a fun adventure,” DeThomas says. “I wanted to bring a little joy and maybe some magic into the community at this time.”
And so the Warren Fairy Door Project was born. DeThomas reached out to Warren Town Hall, the Warren Police Department, and dozens of local businesses — including Cerulean, Whimsies, Ananda Hair Salon, Time and Place Studio, Uptown, Salt of the Earth Hair Salon, Made in Warren, and The Perfect Sweet Shoppe — encouraging them to subtly place a fairy door on their property for local children to find. “I was amazed at the response,” DeThomas says. “Everyone loved the idea.” The list of participants grows by the day. And yes, even Warren Police have installed a fairy door on their property (of course, we can’t tell you where… you’ll have to find it on your own!).
Bridget Tierney, owner of the floral and gift boutique The Greenery at 63 Water Street, says, “I loved the idea of the fairy doors – something sweet and magical to capture the attention of kids. Plus, of course, fairies are living at The Greenery, and now they’ll have a fancy door to show off!”
DeThomas plans to continue to reach out to more businesses, but encourages anyone who’d like to participate in the Warren Fairy Door Project to reach out to her directly at MakersRhodeIsland@gmail.com.