New Kennewick gift shop believes in fairies

Loretto J. Hulse, Tri-City HeraldNovember 22, 2013 

The owners of a Bella Fleur in downtown Kennewick believe in fairies. They also hide them under leaves and between miniature bushes in the custom gardens at Bella Fleur at 6 N. Cascade St., Kennewick.

Wendy Clawdus of Pasco and Julie Spalding of Bickleton -- close friends since seventh grade -- specialize in creating tiny fairy gardens, or small dish gardens similar to terrariums, but not enclosed. The gardens feature small house plants, miniature sculptures and often have a theme, like the farmscape garden in the shop window.

"Sometimes we put the fairies in, sometimes they come on their own," Clawdus said with a smile. Besides small figurines of fairies, she and Spalding add miniature sculptures of animals, houses, vehicles and anything else that takes their fancy.

"We also have boy stuff -- snakes, cows, dinosaurs -- but fairies are our first love. We do believe in fairies," Clawdus said.

The two women -- both retired -- opened their business earlier this year after spending nearly two years showing and selling their fairy gardens at various craft shows.

"Hauling them around got to be old," Clawdus said. "So we decided it was time we opened a shop."

The women chose to rent in downtown Kennewick because of its "artsy atmosphere," Spalding said. "We fit right in."

In addition to fairy gardens, the duo also sell handmade purses from crafters in Seattle, beaded jewelry by Sandi Morris of Kennewick and paintings by Rita Austin of Pasco.

The women say ideas for their fairy gardens "just come out of the air."

"It's very organic. Sometimes I'll have an idea in my head, yet, as I work on it, it changes," Clawdus said.

They also do custom gardens. A recent one had a fishing theme.

"We did it for a customer's grandfather who was in the hospital," Spalding said.

"We enjoy those. They have more personality, more individuality, but are harder to make because you're trying to match someone's idea," Clawdus said.

The cost of the fairy gardens ranges from $10 to $75, depending on size, plants and decorations.

Some of the containers and miniatures the women buy from catalogs and the Internet.

"But you can find them in many places -- toy stores, aquarium shops, the Dollar Store," Spalding said.

Thrift stores, too, are another rich source.

"So many treasures are turned in," Spalding said, shaking her head.

The green thumbed duo also offer one-hour classes in making fairy gardens. You can bring your own container and figurines, or buy theirs.

"It would be a great thing for grandmom and grandkids to do together, or ladies' groups, even a child's birthday party," Clawdus said.

The classes are free but you will need to pay for any supplies used. Reservations are required.

Classes are offered at 2 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 4, Dec. 11 and Dec. 14. There's also one offered at 6 p.m. Dec. 5.

Hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Phone: 585-0600. Online: www.facebook.com/BellaFleurGirls.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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