Friday, May 2, 2008

The Dolls of Crawford Manor

Dear readers, here is a Friday dispatch from our fiction editor Janette MacDonald about the quite remarkable work of Cheryl Crawford:

At Crawford Manor, Cheryl lovingly recreates some of the most evocative images of legend, including Arwen and Goldberry from The Lord of the Rings, by transforming modern designer dolls into their mystical counterparts.

The dolls charm and entice and even prompt a feeling of awe, each one fully detailed from her exquisitely rendered features to tiny shoes gathered at dusk from under an elderberry bush where they were left after the dance.

From the main page at, travel to "A Little Fantasy World" or explore all the site, accompanied by music carefully chosen for each doll...and read each of their stories. One of the most haunting is the Fairy Queen of The Ballad of Tam Lin, whose doll is shown in the photographs here.

It is remarkable and unique work, definitely worth a long look.

Also, if The Ballad of Tam Lin is new to you, visit the website, which is devoted to the study of the ballad. The site includes collected versions of the ballad, sheet music and known recordings, and other resources. Here is how Tam Lin opens:

O I forbid you, maidens a',
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
For young Tam Lin is there.

There's nane that gaes by Carterhaugh,
But they leave him a wad,
Either their rings, or green mantles,
Or else their maidenhead.

Janet has kilted her green kirtle
A little aboon her knee,
And she has broded her yellow hair
A little aboon her bree,
And she's awa to Carterhaugh
As fast as she can hie.

Also check out Pamela Dean's evocative novel Tam Lin, which translates Janet of the green kirtle into a graduate student and translates Carterhaugh into Carter Hall, with wistful and enchanting results.

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