If you've been to our Westerham Brocante, you'll have come across Dottie du Beau, aka Sarah Johns Wilkinson, a super-talented hand-crafter from Oxted who creates beautiful Frippery Fairies and Angels from vintage fabric, lace and doilies! Sarah turns all sorts of vintage fabrics into the most amazing cushions, doorstops, bags, gifts and toys...and, of course, fairies...Dottie's fairies and angels come in many forms - all unique and handcrafted. Here's a little bit more about Dottie...
How did you get into creating dolls?
I am a creative at heart, studying art and music, floristry and ceramics. I was also an only child and happy to entertain myself making dolls, which continued to adulthood
I started Dottie in September 2017 when I decided to make a part-time business of my handcrafting, but I've done it all my life.
My Granddaughter really sparked the business, asking me to make her fairies - and then houses to put them in. I had been dabbling for years in Vintage and Antiques, and had collected trunk loads of vintage fabrics and lace - so it made sense to use what I had to hand. And the Frippery Fairies were born. The fairy houses came later, determined to carry on the vintage and repurposed ethic, I used single use plastic bottles as the foundation of the houses and deadfall twigs and foraged items, add a few fairy lights and voila! a little fairy house ready for a fairy or pixie to move into.
So the fairies and dolls are your main focus?
I love all things vintage, which led to me designing my Boudoir Dolls - handmade with scraps of repurposed or vintage fabrics, together with pieces of broken jewellery. My boudoir dolls are inspired by the style of the 1920s through to the 1950s. I handcraft fairy houses from recycled materials and foraged items. Also handcrafted fairy dolls using repurposed and vintage fabrics.
The seasonal crocheted and knitted wreath rings came about due to the lack of decent alternative Christmas Wreaths, so I started making the rings - I now try to make a new one for each season - keeping up with the sales is another matter.
What else do you make?
I try to breathe new life into retro, vintage items and repurpose them, like cup and saucer pincushions, teddies made from damaged or stained embroidered tablecloths. I love bone china tea sets and usually have a few carefully chosen knick knacks as well.
Who was Dottie du Beau?
Dottie du Beau was a real lady who lived in a bungalow backing onto my parents property. She befriended me as a child and many happy hours were spent chatting through the fence. I realise now that Dottie was a very eccentric elderly lady who had little to do with her neighbours, apart from me. Most people viewed her as the local crazy lady, not me. My parents fed-up to my rather strange craft projects would jokingly tease me that I would end up like "Dottie du Beau". Well here I am!
Where can we find you, aside from at Vanity Fairs?
I sell mainly at vintage and craft fairs in Kent, Surrey and Sussex and also have a unit at Mabel’s Emporium in Burgess Hill, Sussex.
I will be at Tonbridge and have been making the in my workshop at the bottom of my garden (yep - I really do have fairies at the bottom of my garden!!) exclusively for Tonbridge. I also have some new brooch designs, a new Boudoir doll and hope to have some Foxes ready for the 23rd as well.
Find out more about Dottie du Beau on Facebook/Instagram - @DottieduBeau