The figure at the top of your tree, what exactly is she? If Christmas retains it’s religious significance for you, then chances are you have an angel standing guard over your festivities. Some of the earliest tree-top angels were made in 18th-century Germany. These fragile dolls are now rare and collectable.
Claire Fletcher is one maker creating modern angels with as much care and attention as those early Nuremberg crafters. More colourful than traditional, but with suitably angelic expressions there is no mistaking the heavenly origin of her figures. It is the shape of the wings that gives it away, angels are usually depicted with bird-like feathered wings while fairies sport insect-like gossamer wings. Early Pagans would have chosen a fairy or sprite to represent their evergreen trees deities. Nature spirits were believed to keep fir trees green throughout the year while other plants withered away. Fairies still have plenty of followers today. Sam Mckechnie from from The Magpie and the Wardrobe makes “tiny flutterby fairies” ideal for any Christmas tree with character. It seems the appeal of the Fair Folk spreads fair and wide. If you're looking to avoid tinsel shine on your tree, why not try lacing it with beautiful ribbons? Or – if you're fully dedicated to the season – follow Scandinavian tradition of wheat or straw weaving decorations. Each doll in this collection is one of a kind and designed especially for Selvedge, and there’s free international orders over £60. For inspiring Christmas tree decorations, visit the Selvedge online shop.
This is an extract from The Dress Circle issue of Selvedge.