Searlait Nitschke, the owner and creator of Roawenwood and the designer and builder of Tangleshimmer Grove, shares with us the story of Tangleshimmer Grove, how her Faire builds evolve and tell their own story and her favourite Faire memory involving a certain bus and a stairway to heaven.
You are both sponsoring and building a Faireland this year again. Does it get any easier in time, or does the challenge grow bigger every year?
Each year is a little different. Each year I have something of a challenge to overcome that ends up making it a little crazier towards the deadlines whether it is SL related, personal, or something to do with the build. One of the bigger challenges for me is always trying to decide the feel of the sim or what I’m trying to project. That can be the toughest part.
How was Tangleshimmer Grove born? What inspired it, what is its story?
Tangleshimmer Grove has its own story. It has its own feeling and its own life. Whenever I build for the Faire my ultimate goal is for it to feel like it has its own life somehow.
My first Faire sim was cold, not dark really because it had its light elements, and color but it was in that bitterly cold part of winter that I like. The theme was magical, trying to get across the magic of that bitter cold. Finding the beauty even when it feels like we are gripped within places that are so cold you can hear the creaking of the branches. The next year was definitely dark. Burned out dead type forest, ominous lighting, gypsy camps… recovery. The theme was living through the dark parts, finding the safe places, dancing around the campfire with music playing, finding solace and regrowth in the dark. The journey. Finding hope.
Tangleshimmer Grove started out conceptually as a fun, light place where fairies, woodland folk and others took up residence. Full of color, and life. It was me in a way following a progression. I felt like it was time to come out of the dark, to come out of the cold, and to breathe life into something brighter. In essence it felt like it was time for spring to come to the world. Time for the light to break through.
As I was building it… it took something of a turn. Real life crept in and began to color the world I was trying to create. My world as I knew it was changing and with that so did the sim .
I am not a technical builder. I don’t draw a plan and go from point A to point B. I rarely have a real plan to begin with. When I am creating it is by instinct, feel, and inspiration, especially when it is something like this.
Without my realizing it the sim began to take shape and form into something much more personal, I knew I wanted the sim to capture something different this year than before however I didn’t realize it was going to end up where it did. Initially I wanted it to shimmer with playfulness with a nod towards remembering the wonder we felt as children imagining trolls under bridges and fairies floating in sunbeams .
But it became a safe place instead. A sanctuary. Without meaning to I drew elements from my own personal need to find some peace and brought it to the Faire. The flow of the river, the colors… the softness of the ground and grass beneath my feet. Each space has its own feel. Each area has its own vegetation or color combinations that you won’t find elsewhere on the sim. I layered different looks, and plucked the flowers lovingly placing them in different places with floating butterflies or the quick blink of a firefly.
Tangleshimmer Grove has its fairy rings, it has its light, it has its color, its life but most of all it has its peace. When walking the Grove I feel at home as if the trees surrounding it shield us with their thick roots and leafy canopy letting the light dance about protecting those within it from the things outside of its borders that we can’t always control.
Tangleshimmer Grove is meant to make you slow down. Appreciate the quiet. Breathe in the light. Meditate or muse as the water flows from one side to the other shimmering. To take a few precious moments to spend with someone you care about. It is meant to be something more intimate. In essence it is in its own way an extension of what I hope others will find. The small little spots of beauty, the surprises of color… to take a moment, slow down, to remember. It seemed fitting considering the message and hope we have when doing something like the Faire and for RFL so I went with it.
What are you bringing to the Faire this year?
As per usual my time was mainly caught up with working on the sim. I always intend to create something fantastic to put into the RFL vendors and rarely do I feel like I am able to. This year I added the mushrooms and fairy rings to the RFL vendors so people could take a piece of the Faire home. I also added a gacha to benefit RFL with a set of mushroom seats, and special fairy rings with cuddles & dances in it. I also shrunk down the smallest store and made a little townhouse type thing for petites that’s in the RFL vendors.
What is the best thing about building in Second Life? Which things inspire you, make you happy and satisfied when creating?
For me it’s mostly a really great outlet. To be creative. To build something from nothing. Gives me a lot of satisfaction that is relatively easy to get. Rather addictive in its own way. I suppose the best thing about building in Second Life for me is seeing how my work evolves and changes over time.
Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most in this year’s Faire?
Favorite Faire memory…. I have a lot. I think one that is particularly telling and a lot of fun was a moment during last year’s bus tour. For those that don’t know every year something of a tradition we climb onto a bus and do a big tour of all the sims a few times.
Last year Alia built a stairway that was supposed to go straight up to heaven right? So we’re doing the bus tour… round and around, driver cussing as usual trying to do sim crossings. Trying to drive over some really awkward spots on the sims…. And so we end in the courtyards at the base of this massive, and rather thin set of stairs heading up into the sky.
We can do this right? Drive up it… we’re all pumped up, we can do this, we can do this. So revving up the engine we go for it. Quite a few times stopping at the base, punching it to go up and each…. Time…. Off the side we go flying down into the pits below, laughing, screaming and joking. If I remember right there was some lava. Nice touch there.
Sooooooo what do we do? The ingenious builder types we are along with a bit of a deviant streak?
Driver… Alia I believe at the time comes in with ye olde handy builde tools and picks up the bus, moves us upwards… inch by inch till we’re balancing precariously at the very top of the stairs! We made it! We turn, looking around from our new vantage point at the world below us very proud of our accomplishment. We were not going to be stopped. So then there is the going down part…. The bus looks down the steep stairs as we rock back and forth driver at the wheel.
And wouldn’t you know it? Going DOWN we stayed on the straight and narrow never once falling off to the side as if the stairs were made for us. Typical huh? What do you get when you a bunch of smartarsed Fantasy Faire workers/builders and the like try to drive their way up to the gates of heaven? Multiple gut wrenching drops into lava pools. Drive away from the gates of heaven and downwards towards hell? No problem, couldn’t have driven it straighter.
Looking forward to most? Playing, talking, relaxing, catching up with friends. I miss people very much during the year and sometimes it seems like the only time we really catch up or take the time to see each other is during the Faire. That’s what I look forward to.
Thank you, Searlait, for taking the time to talk with us. Thank you for bringing your evolving story to the Fairelands, thank you for the sanctuary within them.