Artist: Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Introducing the Flower Fairies Secret Garden

Daisy Fairy. Copyright Ultimate Source
Fans of fairy artist, author, and poet Cicely Mary Barker can now bring her flower fairies into their homes and gardens for themselves or their children. The Flower Fairies Secret Garden is a brand new line of flower fairy figurines and accessories from Ultimate Source that children (and adults) can collect, play with, and use to create their very own imaginary or real fairy garden. The flower fairies will be available starting March 2017.

I spoke with Joyce Sprau, Senior Project Manager at Ultimate Source, and creator of the Flower Fairies Secret Garden, about the new products and how they came about.

FB: Where did the idea for the Flower Fairies Secret Garden come from?

JS: The idea came from me. I’ve been a toy designer for 20 years. I’m always looking for an opportunity in the market to design something new for kids. I watched the miniature garden category grow over the last couple of years, but there was no good product out there for kids. I first saw the Cicely Mary Barker books at a nursery. I fell in love with the story, the artwork, and over 150 different fairies. I contacted Penguin Books licensing team with my interest and presented my ideas to bring the characters to life and specifically designed for miniature gardening and collecting. I was lucky enough to go to the Victoria & Albert Museum to see Cicely Mary Barker’s original artwork in the archives.

FB: What’s the difference between the Flower Fairies Secret Garden figurines and other Cicely Mary Barker fairy figurines?

JS: The new figurines are made out of durable plastic and safety tested for kids. We went to create a consistent scale and world around the Flower Fairies which has never been done before.

Ms. Sprau further shared that the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies figurines that were made by Add an Accent are no longer being made. That makes the Flower Fairies Secret Garden the only Cicely Mary Barker figurines currently in production. She said that the relationship between Ultimate Source and Penguin (who own the copyright to Cicely Mary Barker’s flower fairies) will be long term. She says that Penguin’s been a great partner.

Buttercup Fairy shown with door accessory. Copyright Ultimate Source
There are twenty-three items in the line, including eight flower fairies plus accessories that can be used either indoors or outdoors, plus silk flowers and moss landscape for creating an imaginary fairy garden. There will be new fairies, fairy houses, and accessories coming out each year. The next fairies will be introduced this fall. They are also working on Christmas fairies.

Teeter Totter accessory shown with flower fairies. Copyright Ultimate Source
Ms. Sprau kindly sent me a selection of Flower Fairies Secret Garden fairies and accessories. They come in beautifully designed, sturdy packaging, perfect for gift giving. The fairies and accessories are well made, and slightly rubbery in texture, so they won’t break easily. They’re really sweet and charming, just like Cicely Mary Barker’s paintings. They’re safety tested for ages three and up, even though the packaging reads ages six and up.

They're designed for kids to carry around and take with them wherever they go. They’re great as collectibles, toys, and for real or imaginary fairy garden design. If used for outdoor gardens, they do need to be brought in over the winter, and there will be some fading of color from exposure to the elements over time.

You can click here to visit the Flower Fairies Secret Garden website. The website is still a work in progress, but there will be a “Where to Buy” page soon. Look for these delightful Cicely Mary Barker flower fairy figurines and accessories at garden centers and specialty gift shops. They’re currently available in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, but will eventually be available in other countries as well. You can click here for more information about Cicely Mary Barker’s life and work.   


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