Electric Forest is a magical place which takes place at Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Michigan every year in June. It’s a place where you discover things you wouldn’t normally find in every day life – like secret fairy doors. I wound up finding one of these fairy doors and was thrilled with my life (see below). Little did I know, there were actually 24 doors spread amongst the forest, each one holding its own theme and special saying written within.Once out of the forest and back to reality I was scrolling through the Electric Forest Year Round Facebook Group one day and stumbled upon someone’s post about the fairy door they found. It wasn’t the same as mine so I left a comment with a photo of my fairy door discovery. As I continued to follow the thread I saw all the other fairy doors that the other foresters discovered. After seeing all the pictures I knew I wanted to compile all of them and share with everyone! Turns out a guy named Mark Bokach posted an album of all 24 fairy doors. With further investigation I discovered that Mark was one of the creators of these fairy doors! Obviously, I needed to know more, so I reached to Mark to hear all about how these fairy doors came to life. Check out what Mark had to say and look through the full album of the fairy doors here.
EDMNYC – How did the Fairy Doors come about?
Mark – Jennifer, my wife and team lead, worked as a WET (Work Exchange Team) volunteer for Electric Forest in 2014 and was fortunate enough to help Michelangelo, the artist that created the large bronzed sculpture called The Queen. She attended the festival and loved the art so much she wanted to be apart of it. She believed she didn’t have the skill to create the large art pieces that dominate the landscape of the forest, so instead she tried to focus on a way to fill in the smaller empty spaces with a bit of magic. We bounced some ideas around and settled on fairy doors that patrons could open and interact with. She wrote a 5 page proposal with demo pictures for Electric Forest’s Plug-In program. They thought it was a great idea and we ran with it! This year Electric Forest asked us back as artists to do the same thing.
EDMNYC – Was it an idea prior to Electric Forest or was it an idea created for Electric Forest?
Mark – I think the idea had come up before to put one in our home or out in our garden, but nothing like what we created for Electric Forest.
EDMNYC – What was the inspiration for the different themes and what was said within the Fairy Doors?
Mark – It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg. Sometimes we found a unique item at a thrift shop or rummage sale that gave us inspiration and worked as a base for a theme. Sometimes we would brainstorm a theme or quote and work with materials that would fit the build.
EDMNYC – Why 24 Fairy Doors?
Mark – In the original Plug-In proposal we had said that we would create 12 unique doors and a duplicate just in case the original one was damaged beyond repair. After some discussion with Electric Forest’s art team we decided to do 24 unique doors with no duplicates. This actually worked in our favor because it would have been extremely difficult to recreate any of our doors as they are all one-of-a-kind unique pieces of art.
EDMNYC – Were the doors the same ones as last year? Some new?
Mark – A little bit of both. We created a bunch of new ones and revamped some of last years doors. A big takeaway from last year was that we needed a larger space for foresters to leave treasures, so most from last year were renovated and given additional décor.
EDMNYC – Do you know if the Fairy Doors will be back for a third year?
Mark – We sure hope so. Seeing the joy and happiness our artwork brought to so many people was very gratifying.
Mark, we hope the Fairy Doors return to Electric Forest next year as well! Thank you for providing us with these pictures to share with everyone. Also, much love to your wife and the rest of your team.
Jennifer Bokach – Queen Fairy (fairies are a matriarchy)
Mark Bokach – Main art partner
Lorraine Elston – Queen’s Mother, builder of gourd and decorator of tiny details
Amanda DiNio – Installation assistant
Dark Moon Designs (Natalia, Bridget and Tyler) – Repainted and decorated Witch Hut and Treasure Chest for Week 2 of Electric Forest
Natalie Schunk – Local art student that sculpted Witch Hut and painted the Planetarium and Treasure Chest for Week 1
~Michelle for EDMNYC