Award-Winning Artist Creates Magical Fairy Houses
Christmas Underground is brimming with surprises created by an award-winning artist. One of the most enchanting discoveries on Ruby Falls journey to the North Pole is Sugar Plum Fairy Village. Each of the 38, delicate sugar plum fairy houses in the village were hand-crafted by Ruby Falls artist in residence, Carlin McRae.
Carlin has a BFA in 3-D Art with an emphasis in sculpture and ceramics. Her work has been exhibited at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Rivoli Art Mill, Gallery 2232 and she has been selected as a 2018 4 Bridges Arts Festival emerging artist. Fortunately, when Carlin isn’t creating stunning pottery, she is part of the Human Resources team at Ruby Falls and was honored to partner with the creative team tasked with designing a brand-new Christmas event in 2012. Together they crafted the magical Christmas Underground storyline and brought it to life.
The delicate fairy houses, made of stoneware clay, took three months to create. Each one is unique, stemming from Carlin’s imaginative vision fueled by one simple question - what if? Envisioning sugar plums as violet-tinged gourds, dusted with sparkling sugar and curly-cue vines, her concept emerged. The tiny houses, in a compliment of violet, lilac, and silvery hues are embellished with diamond dust, sugar glitter, and fanciful vines. They create a wonderfully whimsical village. The effect is mesmerizing.
As an artist, Carlin finds profound inspiration in the Ruby Falls cave, studying how water erodes, shapes and alters stone. “I find beauty in the time it takes to create patterns in rock and use this process as a metaphor for how our experiences shape our psyches.” Carlin continues, “I use texture, line, light, and shadow to demonstrate how we respond internally to trauma, joy, love, tragedy and so forth. In the same way that water over time will create deep, intricate, dark crevices, I use wide and cascading vertical and diagonal carvings to display tragedy and trauma. Patterns that tend to radiate and ripple outward serve as joy and love.” Her work displays complex patterns, displaying a lifetime of experiences, much like the cave.
We are incredibly proud to have Carlin’s artistry woven throughout Christmas Underground. We hope you’ll join us at Christmas Underground, for a truly exceptional experience.