In 1994 Kristen Schwartz was exhibiting her botanical illustrations from the book, Medicine From the Mountains, when she was approached by a gallery owner who had a seemingly innocent question, “Have you ever illustrated faeries before?” Kristen was gracious and courteous in her answer of, “No, I’ve never thought of doing that.” Inside, however, she was laughing heartily as she thought, Faeries? Ick! To Kristen faeries were silly little mythical airheads that had no place in scientific illustrations.

The next week she put a faery in one of her botanical illustrations. What was happening?

The legend goes something like this...

While sketching an intricate plant on assignment, Kristen was startled by a rustling sound. Expecting to see a lizard, she looked into the dense plant matter to discover a group of tiny winged creatures with human likenesses. Faeries?! Kristen's reaction to the gallery owner had apparently ticked them off and they decided to teach her a lesson. They went wherever she did and demanded to be put into her illustrations. Soon she had quite a following of nature spirits and archetypes from around the world who made the same demand, threatening to sabotage her artistic endeavors should she refuse. What started out as a punishment soon developed into a partnership as Kristen drew the nature spirits and they shared the wisdom they had collected for generations, including this:

When the wisdom of past generations ceases to exist, so too, shall we.

Kristen quickly learned never again to say "ick" about anything she didn't know about...even if she only said it in her head.

Check out some of the nature spirits who taught her this important lesson in the Faces Gallery.