When I was a little girl, my maternal grandmother built a large dollhouse from a kit she purchased at the local hobby store. It was a grand Tudor with working lights, plush carpets, and a roof that lifted up to peer into the attic. On the walls, my grandmother hung tiny framed portraits of her four grandchildren.

I loved this dollhouse.

It was always clear to me that touching it was not for tiny fingers. Instead, I explored it with sight-–every inch, every nook, was a thrill to beheld. That dollhouse was a magical world unto its own and it formed my intimate relationship with visual beauty.

Because of the world my grandmother created, I have always loved fanciful things. I continue to feel a fantastical pull toward that same sense of awe and wonder which I came to know in her hobby room.

In many ways, so much of my adult life now harkens back to that dollhouse.

My studio, which I lovingly refer to as Cottingley, is a celebration of that same type of wondrous world. Filled with books, baubles, and a few spatters of paint and clay, it is backdropped by our 150 year-old Victorian Eastlake, listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Evermore was built in 1875 on the fertile land of John Harshey and would later become Summit County’s top-producing dairy farm. Cottingley itself is the 800 sq. ft. cottage that once sheltered the farm’s traveling workers. Today, it is a centering space for creativity and contemplation, housing not only my studio but my private practice in Spiritual Direction.

This is the enchanted world that I now share with you. My studio works reflect intentional living, the joy of discovery, and the magic found within every day. All of this is lain atop a tapestry woven from the universal language of story and the imaginative world of Alice & Iris.


Bethany Ward

Artist, Alice + Iris