BBC News

Miniature fairy buildings spread magic on Isle of Man

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionThe fairy abodes have been scattered around the Manx countryside

An art project has brought the Isle of Man's fairy folklore to life by hiding miniature buildings around the island.

The delicately designed fortresses and palaces have popped up in glens, beaches and on hillsides.

The island is synonymous with fairy tales, with the earliest reference to the mythical beings recorded in George Waldron's Manx notebook in 1731.

In a local tradition, residents wave to the "little people" when crossing Fairy Bridge, a much-visited landmark.

In recent weeks islanders have been captivated by the tiny fairy abodes, which have been created by Swedish art collective Anonymouse MMX.

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionThe intricate models are the work of a Swedish art collective

The group is known for leaving miniature creations around the world, including houses for mice, "the world's smallest bookstore" and a tiny amusement park.

One resident, Sue Cook, described it as a "lovely idea", while Jo Fulton said they "added to the magic of our island".

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionTiny chairs and tables can be seen inside the models
image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionPeople have shared images of the discoveries on social media

The group's Yasha Mousekewitz said they had learned about Manx fairy folklore through fellow miniature enthusiasts in the UK.

She said: "When we first visited we were very pleasantly surprised to see fairies still exist in the minds of people here.

"The Swedish version of Santa is essentially a gnome, so as with the mice, there's this notion that small creatures exist in a world parallel to ours."

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The enchanting pieces are made from a range of materials including of stone, wood, copper, antique glass and even paper clips.

Standing about 30cm (12in) tall, they were designed and built in Malmo, Sweden, before being transported to the island.

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionSome of the buildings have appeared around the island's dramatic coastline
image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionThe artists said they wanted to "spread magic" around the island

Ms Mousekewitz said each piece can take up to a month to complete.

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionEach of the unique fairy houses has been fully furnished

"Much of our work is trying to make sure they fit organically into the scenery," she said.

"The idea to create tiny houses for mice has been something we've been working on for a few years now, and we felt that our mice and the fairies could exist in the same world.

"We like to spread a bit of every day magic."

Fairy folklore

James Franklin, of Manx heritage organisation Culture Vannin

Fairies have been at the heart of stories and legends for generations, so it is wonderful to be reminded of them in the landscape today.

It's not known precisely how the legend took hold, but the earliest reference to fairies on the island is recorded in George Waldron's Manx notebook, published in 1731.

It was once said that stories of the little people could be found in every creek or cranny on the island, so widespread was the belief.

Their importance has permeated all aspects of Manx life, from the cradle to the grave.

image copyrightMikael Buck
image captionThe tiny houses and castles even light up
image copyrightAnonymouse MMX
image captionThe Swedish group's previous works include a miniature fairground
image copyrightAnonymouse MMX
image captionAnonymouse MMX have also made shops and houses for mice
image copyrightAnonymouse MMX
image captionTheir art is always found in unusual places

The artists said the art works will stay on the island "as long as the weather doesn't destroy them".

Related Topics

  • Sweden
  • Malmo