Sep 28 2015

AADL Fairy Housing

The fairy house at the Ann Arbor District Library has unfortunately suffered some structural issues, and as we all really want the fairies to stick around, I have begun building a new abode.  The first step was to take a trip to the always amazing King Books in Detroit.  As you can see, after wandering the aisles of their children’s books I was able to put together a wonderful collection of books to use.



In order to prevent the same type of damage as happened to the original, I am constructing a wooden box to be used as the primary structure rather than simply using the books themselves.  The back panel will be removable to make repairs or additions possible, and I have run copper tape wiring throughout, with tiny outlets to be able to have table lamps and overhead lighting to read and work by.


The floors were laid one plank at a time with thin strips of maple wood which will then be stained and varnished.  I plan to use dollhouse beadboard for the lower part of the walls, and illustrations from the books as wallpaper.  The windows holes are cut, and trim will be added later.  The early stages and planning are going well, but there is a lot more work to do!  Before I go any further, however, the whole home will be taken in the library to make sure that the existing door will line up with the new room.



Sep 26 2015

Du Nain Rouge


Du Nain Rouge is the enigmatic legend of Detroit, by some thought to protect the city, by others, to only appear as a harbinger of pending disaster.  A few years back I stumbled upon a wonderful book at my local library, written in 1884 by Marie Caroline Watson Hamlin, titled Legends of Le Detroit, in which I first read his story.  In this particular legend, it was a fortune teller, entertaining a party in Quebec, who warned Monsieur La Mothe Cadillac that he would cross paths with this “red dwarf” in the city he was to found.  He was told that he would create a city greater than New France itself, and would have many children around his hearth, but that he must not offend Du Nain Rouge or his children would never inherit the great wealth he was to possess.  Years later, after founding just such a city, he and his wife were walking through the Kings Gardens late at night when the visage of Du Nain Rouge appeared before them.  Heedless of the old fortune teller’s advice, he shouted for the “red imp” to get out of his way.  Shortly thereafter Cadillac was arrested in Montreal and was forced to sell his seigniory in Detroit to pay for his trial.  After being removed to Louisiana as governor, he was to die in France, and his children did not inherit any of his vast estate.  He was said to have appeared just before the attack at Bloody Run, and again in 1805, dashing through the flames as the city burned.



I prefer to face our demons head on, so to speak.  By sculpting him, by engaging him, I like to think that he is simultaneously respected and revered, and yet loses that power over Detroit his legend holds.  Whether he needs to be quashed and run out of town, or flattered and appeased to keep the city safe is an ongoing debate.