- In the Gardens
- Meet the Artist: Cortni Frecha
- From the Community
October Greetings: New Art and Fairy Sightings!
The first frost at Three Sisters Sanctuary arrived on September 20th this year, officially signaling the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season, a few days ahead of the official Autumn Equinox.
Blossoms fade as fall colors flame across the woodlands. Autumn is in full swing at the Sanctuary with new exhibits and an invitation to celebrate this atypical Halloween season with costumes, masks, dragons and fairies!
This month we welcome new art and sculpture by James Kitchen, Robert Markey, Michael Melle and Cortni Frecha now on display. We also invite visitors to dress up when they visit the Sanctuary during the month of October.
Do a little role-playing, spark your creative side, be imaginative! Take a cue from children at play- like the group of fairies recently sighted at the Sanctuary- and let the worries of the world slip away for a few precious moments. And with requisite masks, part of your costume is already done!
In the Gardens
Gardening with Cesi at the Sanctuary
by Cesi Marseglia
Are you in search of a red October? An actual red October, not a nuclear missile submarine? If so, look no further! The Three Sisters Sanctuary is bursting with crimsons, auburns, scarlets, vermillions and burgundys, all part of the changing wetlands foliage. The red maples are at their peak right now, and their color is unmatched. Underneath them you might see the ruby red of a chokeberry, or the burgundy-green of a blueberry before it loses its leaves. The smells of fall are in the air, and the mornings are accompanied by a crispness that welcomes a warm sweater and cup of tea.
While many hawks and warblers have already started their migrations south, you can still spot a turkey vulture, kingfisher, thrush or wren while at the Sanctuary, especially looking out from the road adjacent the wetlands or atop the labyrinth. Sadly, migratory bird numbers are in steep decline worldwide. In fact, bird populations have plummeted globally in the last 50 years with North America alone losing nearly 3 billion birds!
Scientists say habitat loss and degradation is to blame, along with food source depletion due to our changing climate. How can we help? Habitat conservation and restoration is high on the list. Migratory birds in particular rely on habitat networks and connectivity to aid them in their successful travels. Consider joining and supporting a local or national land conservation trust that works in tandem with private landowners to secure more wild areas and natural habitats and manage them effectively.
The Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition (www.massland.org) works across the state to advance land protection and offers a wealth of information on their website as to how you can get involved locally. Of course, there are many national organizations such as The Nature Conservancy (www.nature.org) that work to protect habitats. The Conservancy’s website offers a wide range of bio-topics, including a recent blog on the connections between race, class and environmental justice that ties together the impact of environmental harm not only on wildlife, but on our disparate communities as well.
And we cannot forget the hot, pressing topic of climate change. The balance of our precious biosphere is tipping and the consequences for not swiftly facing this challenge will be dire. We must all do our part and especially support candidates and mandates that underscore the gravity of this moment in time.
So as the last of this year’s flowers share their fading colors at the Sanctuary, and the wetlands wax scarlet, consider our futures- mine, yours and our world. Consider what is necessary to defend them. Become active in local and national organizations. Vote for those who vow to protect our environment, who understand our connectivity. For we are forever a part of our natural world, never apart from it. Vote as if your life…all life… depends on it. Because it does.
Walk With Richard
By Richard M Richardson, Environmental Artist
Creator and Caretaker
I have always loved the idea of fairies- beautiful spirits whose presence brings light and hope. When I decided to purchase the Mama T’s vegetable stand, I immediately had this vision to transition it into a fairy house. Magically, it became clear what it was meant to be: a very fun and whimsical space that would greet visitors at the Three Sisters Sanctuary. It would also give a home to “fairies” who could be outdoors with visitors and yet find shelter in a safe, dry environment out of the weather.
As the Fairy House was being built, we simultaneously started a project asking visitors if they wanted to create fairies. We offered them dolls to transform into fairies, giving each participant four dolls, one for them to keep for their own personal possession and three to be transformed into fairies. We also asked the participants to give each fairy a name and a short biography, in essence giving “birth” to a fairy.
This project was very successful. We were amazed by the incredible creativity of the participants and the wide variety of fairies we received back. We are now ready to resurrect this project once again in 2021. If there are any of you that are reading this that would like to be part of this future fairy project, please reach out to us.
Fairies that flutter along the edges of our environs, bringing moments of joy, happiness and perhaps some magic, have been a part of folklore across many cultures since ancient times. Taking a moment to appreciate the imagination that creates these myths of magic can build a connection to our own creative ideas.
Sit and connect with one of the fairies that have been created. You might find yourself connecting with a particular fairy and wanting to get to know that fairy just a little bit better. Entertain the notion that these fairies are coming from another dimension and are extending the gift of our imaginations. Realize that they are here to help heal us, ground us and inspire us.
The fairy villa which is now being built is meant to be the setting for a very wonderful community of fairies that will live together at Three Sisters Sanctuary. I want the magic of their personalities to curate from one section to another. If this sounds a little bit vague, it’s because I’m really not quite sure where all the pieces are going yet. But, I do know that the fairy house is just the beginning of this special space and I envision the two end pergolas to be established as a place to sit and swing for just a little while and spend time with the fairies in the rhythm of motion. Just like the fairies dancing in the breeze as it flows through their house.
In the month of October, we want to welcome all that come dressed in costumes and encourage you to share your creativity with others. I’ve always enjoyed Halloween! We’ve had some great Halloween events at the Sanctuary over the years and I’m sure we will have them again in the future. But for this year, let’s all get dressed up! Let your children put on their costumes and come and have some fun on our magical grounds! Share this wonderful holiday with others, smile and laugh! We all need this!
The new exhibit by artist Cortni Frecha that has arrived at the Fairy Villa is perfectly suited to the space as it blends creativity and the magical concept of animals in folklore. I am honored to have this art display and for her work to be the first at the Fairy Villa. It is a delightful display, an unexpected treat and we hope you come out and see it!
Meet The Artist: Cortni Frecha
by Dawn E Dobson
Cortni Frecha is a skilled artisan. She is a homebuilder, a fine carpenter and an artist. Born and raised in and around the town of Stow, Massachusetts, Frecha’s parents were both immersed in the arts. Her father was a commercial interior designer and her mother an aspiring classical pianist and opera singer. Music, design and art were more than mainstays. They were a way of life.
When her mother’s musical ambitions of working as a professional performer were detoured by a focus on family, hearth and home, she turned to wood and stone sculpture as well as painting. The home became a studio filled with all the supplies and components for the arts and craft movement of the 70’s.
“It was a fertile moment in time for me as a child,” reminisces Frecha. “Not only did I have paints and clay at my fingertips, but we were doing silkscreening, batik, tie dye, and macrame as well. There was always a craft project going. Handmade gifts for holidays and special occasions were a big tradition in our family, requiring a lot of thought, time and effort.”
Following those art and design instincts, Frecha applied to the venerable Rhode Island School of Design after graduating from high school and was disappointedly wait-listed. She decided to take a year off and moved to Seattle to work in computer systems, yet her success in that field felt unsatisfying. Returning to the East Coast, she enrolled in Clark University. But at the end of her freshman year, she decided to take a summer course in a new school specializing in teaching energy efficient home construction, The Heartwood School in Washington, Massachusetts, still going strong since 1978.
“I absolutely loved it,” states Frecha. “I felt I had come home.” After completing her second year at Clark, she made the jump to carpentry for good. “I was so very fortunate to work with some wonderful builders, learning everything from fine woodworking and cabinetry to building complete homes and renovating commercial buildings.
Busy building her career, the intersection between design and art was never far away. “I had taken a year-long life drawing course offered at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, before I began carpentry. I learned how to look at things, how to see things and how to commit it to paper. Not only was this skill incredibly helpful in my new career, but it also laid additional groundwork for my art.”
Finding success with her business, Arrow Maker Design (www.arrowmakerdesign.com), Cortni Frecha also embarked on the artist’s path. Joining a weekly group in her mother’s home studio, she found the support and space to move forward. “I began to paint more seriously and channel my woodworking passion into its own artform. I finally embraced self-acceptance and could fully own the words, ‘I am an artist.’”
Frecha’s art work now on display at the Sanctuary is colorful and whimsical and many have animal images and cheerful themes. “I love animals, I grew up around many animals. Having a relationship with an animal can be more straightforward than with humans. If we listen, they give us very clear feedback.”
“Many of the animals in my art have a definite human quality, emotions, that I use as a vehicle to address feelings. I make a conscious effort to bring positivity and light into a space through my use of bright colors and whimsy. I feel the world needs that.” Sit in the Sanctuary’s new, emerging Fairy Villa and enjoy Cortni Frecha’s art. Make arrangements to take a piece home after the showing as they are all for sale. A little positivity can go a long way. www.cortnifrecha.com[email protected]
From the Community
Sanctuary Classroom: On September 23rd, Three Sisters Sanctuary hosted Springfield College art therapy graduate students and their esteemed professor, Dr. Simone Alter-Muri, for a presentation by artist Robert Markey. Under a clear, blue, autumn sky, Markey offered insights into his sculpture and recounted many of the life experiences that inspire his works of art. He has traveled the world to bring the healing power of art to often destitute communities. Professor Alter-Muri is the director and founder of the art therapy/counseling and art education programs at Springfield College and has been bringing her students to the Sanctuary for several years to hear Markey’s experiences and philosophy on the importance of sharing art in communities.
Fairy Sighting at the Sanctuary!
Dressed head-to-toe in elaborate, fanciful costumes, a group of fairies recently descended on Three Sisters Sanctuary to the delight of visitors! Kathleen McCarthy aka “Mariposa,” Kathy McAusian “Liliana of the Emerald Isle,” Sharon Connell, Sarah Mason and daughter Harley Mason, as well as “Calilah- Fairy of the Northern Woodlands” and her sister “Betina of the Northern Woodlands” graced our gardens in spectacular garments befitting Fairies of the Highest Order!
Why fairies? Kathleen McCarthy had several answers. “We love how fairies are beautiful and magical and Three Sisters Sanctuary is the perfect place for fairies to visit. We love how fairies celebrate the earth and nature and are friends with all of the animals and creatures of the earth and woods. Fairies are like flowers that have come to life!”
“Creating the costumes is so much fun! We buy a lot of our supplies at thrift shops- fancy dresses, sheer curtains for capes, silk flower wreaths- then sew and glue and decorate. We feel so happy putting on our costumes and we love it when little children think we are real fairies. For us, that is where the magic is, in the eyes of a child.”
The fairies documented their visit to Three Sisters Sanctuary with a photo shoot by professional photographer, Bruce Chambers. “Taking time to play is as important for adults as it is for kids,” Kathleen continues. “I feel like we are living art and art is one of the things that makes life worth living, isn’t it?”
Kathleen, we completely agree!