Talking Points: Samantha Bryan

A collection of sources and imagery to explore the work of Samantha Bryan.

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Samantha Bryan

“Working from her garden studio in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, Samantha Bryan has produced a new body of work for her exhibition at YSP celebrating 20 years of making. Known for creating distinctive figures, she has gained a worldwide cult following.

For two decades Bryan has been making humorous yet industrious fairy-like creatures; adorned with items from her eclectic hoard of buttons, spotted feathers, seed pods, dyed leathers, and contraptions influenced by Victorian flying machines. She combines these materials and found objects to inform their intriguing personalities.” – Yorkshire Sculpture Park

BAAV Blimp by Samantha Bryan

Introducing the BAAV Blimp

Brain’s Ariel Application Vehicle is a new cutting edge tool welcomed by the Fairy Dust Industry. This aircraft can do in minutes what it would take ground-based workers days to complete. Its increased capacity makes dust spreading incredibly efficient. It’s hopper can hold 120 pounds of dust and can sprinkle around 80 acres per hour. Revolutionary for fairy life.

51 x 41 x 21cm (w,h,d) 2022 Image: Red Photography

Samantha Bryan, designer, maker & illustrator. Photography by Joanne Crawford

Introducing… Brain’s Bottom Warming Garments for fairies. Vital for high altitude flying. 36 x 12cm  x 10cm (h,w,d) 2022  Image: Joanne Crawford

Fairies often find themselves flying at high altitude. A dangerous pursuit with its many risks. The most obvious and most disastrous outcome would be ‘wing or limb freeze’. The consequence of which is high speed plummeting fairies. This is easily preventable if body temperature is maintained.

Bottom Warming Garments for fairies © were first developed in 2008. Rolled out in 2009, the revolutionary bottom warming garment has prevented numerous fairy injuries to date.


Brain's Crash Helmet for Fairies by Samantha Bryan

Brain’s Crash Helmet, designed specifically for accident prone fairies…

36 x 12cm  x 10cm (h,w,d) 2015 Image: Jess Petrie

The clumsier variety of fairy would always be advised to wear a crash helmet rather than a standard issue helmet. The Crash Helmet offers greater head coverage and substantial inner padding for increased protection. 

The fairy is wearing a tan leather flight suit, hand stitched with patch detail. It stands securely on a wooden base that can be easily mounted on the wall should you wish to do so. It features a typed label and is signed on the reverse.

Dust spreading vehicle by Samantha Bryan

Brain’s Dust Distribution Vehicle (Glider)

35 x 31 x 35cm (w,h,d) 2014 Image: Edward Chadwick

Designed to enable a busy fairy to spread dust easily and efficiently.

Questions to Ask Children

What objects can you see in Samantha’s fairies and inventions?

What do you like about the fairies and why?

Which fairy is your favourite and why?

How has Samantha created personalities for the fairies? Consider accessories, outfits and props.

Do you think the personality grows as she creates the fairies or she plans it in advance? Why?

If you were going to design a fairy based on you, what personality traits might it have? And how could you highlight those traits through accessories, outfits and props?

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