Jo's magical fairy art opens new doors in Cottam to cheer residents

A local mum has devised a special way to help local residents stay positive in the pandemic and lift the community's morale​ as Fiona Finch reports.​

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:14 pm

A new mum ​from Preston has created an unexpected role for herself during lockdown as a secret Fairy Godmother.

Jo Stevens is using her artistic gifts to bring a touch of fairyland to her local area, to the delight of residents young and old.

She has handcrafted and "installed" dozens of specially decorated ​magic fairy door​s​ hidden in trees. She even designated a local tree a worry tree where concerns could be unburdened.

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Part of one of the NHS fairy doors Jo has created

Jo, who lives in Cottam in north Preston, has also been painting special pebbles and takeaway keepsake fairy wishes plaques.

The UCLan graduate who works as a global learning manager said: "It all started at the beginning of lockdown. I was a new mum on maternity leave and one day when we were allowed to go out on our daily walk I was with the baby and my husband and I remember walking down one of the footpaths in Cottam which had lots of trees and thinking wouldn't it be lovely if this place was enchanted with lot of fairy doors to really capture the imaginations of residents while on our daily walks​.​"

She added: "It's a bit ironic because as a child I was never really into fairies, growing up it was BMX bikes and boys' toys.

"In the evenings after I had put the baby to bed I would make the fairy doors. I was used to working full time and being really busy. This​,​ as well​,​ was a way of exercising my brain during maternity leave."

Jo pictured with husband Richard and son Harry on one of their walks

​Jo​ uses acrylic paints to decorate the wooden doors. An NHS door in blue and white has proved a particular favourite with local residents during the pandemic.

She said: "Since the beginning of lockdown I've made over 100 fairy doors and over 100 fairy wishes keepsakes.​ ​I've also been making fairy pebbles which I've absolutely loved making and I've had the opportunity to do some personal commissions as well."

Jo created a Cottam Fairies Facebook page and an Instagram page to share her work and is now planning a special Easter pebble hunt.

She added: "One of my favourite creations was a worry tree plaque which hangs on a tree by one of my f​a​vourite spots. T​hat's actually there for anyone who has worries and wants to go and visit the tree. I think a lot of​ ​kids have been there and talked to the tree. I​t​'s not been easy for many people and it's my way of supporting the Cottam community which is amazing. There are amazing groups and other people​ ​in Cottam supporting the community too."

Searching for the fairy doors has become a popular pastime for local residents when out for walks during the pandemic

​She continued: "​I just feel very blessed to live here. I'm back at work now and I'm going to continue spreading the fairy magic if I can. I hope it's brought a lot of happiness to people. It's absolutely reignited my love for art."

Jo is also looking forward to sharing the story of the Cottam Fairies with her son when he is older.

Jo's Instagram page Cottam Fairies (@enchantedcottam_2020) can be accessed here It has a special message for viewers: "Bringing fairy magic to Cottam. Always leave a bit of sparkle wherever you go..."

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Opening doors to the imagination
The worry tree plaque
One of Jo's fairy keepsakes which she hangs on local trees