Although the Frouds didn't leave film work altogether, during the years when Toby was young they chose to live more quietly in Devon, concentrating on building up a body of artwork inspired by myths, legends, and fairy tales. While Brian painted faeries and goblins, Wendy brought these same creatures to life in three–dimensional form, made of Fimo, plaster, resin, cloth, feathers, leaves, and numerous other things — mixing traditional art materials with found objects from the Devon woods. Some of Wendy's art is based on, or in dialogue with, her husband's paintings and sketches, while the rest explores a rich visual vocabulary that is uniquely her own. Her imagery ranges from charming, child–like faeries and trolls to mythopoetic, sensuous adult art. She lists as her major influences the English Pre–Raphaelite painters, Victorian sculptor Alfred Gilbert, Viennese painter Gustav Klimt, the English "Golden Age" fairy tale illustrators (Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, etc.), and the French fairy tale illustrator Adrienne Ségur. She is also an avid reader of mythic literature, and a talented writer of both poetry and prose.
Wendy's work has been extensively exhibited at museums and galleries throughout Europe and the United States. She has participated in shows with the Ruralist painters and The South West Academy of Fine Arts in England; in "doll art" shows in New York and Santa Fe; in a Japanese exhibition inspired by Alice in Wonderland; in a French exhibition of fairy tale art from the 12th to 21st centuries; and in Ancient Spirit, Modern Voice, a mythic art exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia; among others. The Warrington Museum in England held a major retropective of Wendy and Brian's art in 1997, and her work is showcased in a beautifully designed book, The Art of Wendy Froud. She has published three children's books: A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale, The Winter Child, and The Faeries of Spring Cottage, and has participated, behind the scenes, in the creation of her husband's best–selling fairy books (such as Lady Cottington's Fairy Album). She has also designed costumes for the Daughters of Elvin music troupe and other performers, and has worked on a variety of film and animation projects.
Explaining her own life–long interest in fairies and folklore, she says: "Faeries are spirits of nature. They embody the wild, mysterious and spiritual forces to be found in nature, and help us to reconnect with wonder and mystery inside our own souls. Our ancestors passed these stories and images down for hundreds, thousands of years. As artists, my husband Brian and I are merely part of a long tradition — giving old tales new life and passing them on to the generations to come. I look at my sculptures as signposts or gateways into the realm of Faerie. I like to think that they can help people find their own way into that realm."
Text copyright by Wendy Froud and Terri Windling. It may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of both authors. All images on this page copyright by Wendy Froud. They may not be reproduced in any form without the artist's express permission. Visit her website for more information.