Software designer Robin Wight was given a camera for Christmas five years ago and took a picture of light streaming through the trees on to some moss covered rocks.
It was only later when he studied the pictures that he noticed what looked like a fairy in the tree. Even though his head tells him it was an illusion his heart led him to later use her as the muse for his artwork.
He was mending a fence and screwing up the old piece of wire when it occurred to him it was a good material to model with.
“I have always been artistic and my interest in 3D sculpture developed when our children were very small and I used to build elaborate sandcastles.
“We always had a ring of tourists around me on every beach holiday (much to my wife’s annoyance,” he says.
“With the wire I thought I would start with a simple human figure and perhaps because of the photo I decided to make it a fairy.”
After a few attempts he made one which he put in a tree in the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve near his home which is close to Alton Towers.
Her popularity led to him teaming up with the trust to put on a full scale fairy trail in the reserve for his village’s annual festival.
The marketing manager for the Trentham Estate Amanda Dawson was so impressed by what she saw during a visit to the reserve that she immediately contacted him.
“I thought they wanted to commission one and was delighted when I got a visit from the head gardener. I showed him how I made them and all the different characters.
“I was very surprised when he said “Here is the deal, I want them all and I want them now.” The next day all the fairies were loaded up and were on their way to Trentham.”
Since then his business Fantasywire has also created a human-sized fairy as a centrepiece for the garden’s tenth anniversary.
Wishes was installed in the spring and thanks to a member of the public sharing a photo of her on facebook she has gone viral – within just a day or so it had been shared over a thousand times.
“You hear about these things but it’s another to experience it. Before the photo I did get a couple of enquiries a day, which I was very pleased with, but even that represents a demand I can’t meet. Once it started it built and built and even after a couple of days my PC was just going ping, ping, ping constantly as literally thousands of emails poured in.”
Robin reckons he has had 1,000 requests to buy One O’Clock Wish which is a weathervane version of one of his designs, but as he can’t possibly meet the demand he has considered making a copy and putting it on eBay.
To deal with two questions he is often asked – how much are the smaller ones and do you do workshops? – he has now created a DIY starter kit which you can buy to make your own version. He also shares all his designs on facebook.
If you want to find out more about the scultures go to http://www.fantasywire.co.uk