3 October 2023

Fairy door people’s champion finds solace in their art

The public have voted for their favourite artist-created fairy door in a New Forest garden’s summer trail.

The trail at Furzey Gardens in Minstead ran all summer, attracting thousands of visitors to the gardens, and raising over £10,000 for people with learning disabilities.

Visitors could text in to nominate their favourite door, with a £1 donation going to Minstead Trust – the charity that runs Furzey Gardens. The winner is offered a chance to exhibit their work at the gardens in 2024.

The magical doors were all so popular, and the final numbers were nail-bitingly close, but the door with the most votes was Here and There, created by Joy Kyd-Slade.

This door explores the magic of childhood wonder and discovery, inspired by Joy’s years as a primary school teacher.

Created with concertina style acrylic panels, the door shows two perspectives; the door itself and a magical scene beyond, inspired by the views at Furzey Gardens. With bright colours, and 3D flower garlands, it’s easy to see why the door was so popular with visitors.

Joy Kyd Slade submitted her design at a really tough moment in her life; she had just received a cancer diagnosis. She said: ‘Creating the door became my focus and enabled me to deal with the challenges of the pending operation, and follow-up radiotherapy sessions, more easily, I think.

‘It also provided a means of sharing my pleasure in creative techniques.

‘Craft can distract and support one through horrid illness and out the other side to a brighter future.’

‘To actually be the People’s Champion to me means so much more than I actually thought it could. This really is the icing on my personal Cake of Recovery!’

Joy Kyd-Slade and Here and There

Joy has been offered the chance to display some of her artwork at the Gardens next year, and more details will be announced early next year.

The Artists’ Fairy Doors have now moved on from Furzey Gardens and been auctioned off to their new owners, to live in new gardens all around Hampshire.

The trail was sponsored by Beaumont Water Heaters and the community sponsor was Fostering Hampshire Children.

Furzey Gardens is one of five social businesses owned by Minstead Trust, which supports more than 300 people with learning disabilities along the south coast of England. People are supported to work at Furzey and elsewhere to learn work skills and work towards paid employment.


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