Corina Duyn

Artist, Writer and Puppet Designer Corina Duyn shares her ‘Little Wings’ story: A creative journey through two decades of life with the chronic illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)  “I don’t want to rip the skies wide open, I just want my song to be heard.”  (© Kris Delmhorst)

Let me introduce myself

First of all, I would like to thank you for bringing a visit to my website. It follows my journey as Artist, Writer and Puppet Designer. My creative story goes from the first rag doll made at the age of ten, 50 years ago, to the Fantasy Folk Artist Dolls inspired by the Irish landscape. The start of illness in 1998 changed my work exploring the internal landscape of illness: living life creatively with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) (often unfortunately referred to as ME/CFS or CFS), and full circle back again to making puppets. As illness took more of a toll on my creative life, I explored Shadow Puppetry accompanied by poetry during 2020. A year later  I moved into full time care which also changed the direction of my creative work. 

  • In 2019 I received a mentoring bursary from Arts & Disability Ireland to work with Dr. Emma Fisher. This ultimately lead to the  ‘Invisible Octopus’ video-poem  
  • Arts & Invite me to write an article for their ‘Perspective’ series: My Art and M.E.: The Demands of a Creative Mind”.
  • A  Podcast from October 2020 with Amy Amantea about my work: listen HERE
  • May 2021: My big move  into my ‘Tree House’ at Signacare Nursing Home. Read story HERE
  • September 2021 I  resigned from any further public engagements about my life and work. I have created a BLOG post with links to explore my work at your leisure. See HERE  As well as a 49 minute video lecture which can be viewed HERE  It has English as well as Spanish subtitles. My website, blog, and other social media pages remain live, although not as frequently visited.

Fantasy Folk

Growing up in Holland in a creative household I made my first rag doll at the age of ten. Many years later I studied nursing and social care work and moved to Lismore – Ireland in 1990. Here I became known for my clay based Artist Dolls under the name of Fantasy Folk.  These works are in private and corporate collections in Ireland, USA, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Holland. One of my last big commissions was for Waterford Crystal, to re-create elements of the factory floor in miniature.

A change of scenery

In 1998 my health deteriorated rapidly, however my creative mind did not stop. It wouldn’t stop, even if I wanted it to. I started to make plasticine figures, drawings, collages and paintings about my new existence: living with the condition M.E.  A drawing of an egg brought me to the realisation that I was granted a chance of a new life. 

From illness …

My creative mind became a tool to learn to live well with illness. I learned I could be ‘free’ on paper and express my deepest thoughts, fears, and desires through art and writing.  Nature became my biggest teacher, and made its presence known in my art and writing. The emerging themes were birds, roots and movements. As illness progresses my recent work reflects this stark reality through Shadow Puppetry imagery.

 to gratitude

To my great surprise but with heart-felt gratitude, my creative adventures were subject of several solo exhibitions, media attention, book publications, documentaries, and new friendships. My identity as ‘Artist and Writer Corina Duyn’ came fully into being through the various exhibitions and the publication of my books Hatched (2006), Cirrus Chronicles (2009)Flying on Little Wings (2011),  Into the Light, a book-in-a-box (2015) and Snapshots (2017). Throughout these adventures, I have been supported by friends and several bursaries. A year of Disability Studies became the catalyst to the writing and art project  Into the Light, a book-in-a-box (2015). This project was supported by The Rehab Group Visual and Performing Arts Fund 2014, and shortlisted for the CAP Prize for Independent Authors.  During 2019 I was awarded a mentoring bursary through Arts and Disability Ireland. In 2020 an Artlinks Professional Development Bursary to develop the ‘Invisible Octopus’ poem.

Full Circle 

Life goes full circle. My past work as nurse, social care worker, artist and living with illness brought me to facilitate  puppet related projects, Like the Life Outside the Box with fellow member of an disability organisation IWA.  As I am no longer able to make or to teach my puppet making skills, however the course is now available as online course. – free since  /October 2021. I also had the privilege to share my experiences of puppetry, disability and illness through talks via Skype/Zoom. This has now been replaced by a 49 minute video lecture available here

The circle of life brought me back to nursing homes… not to work in but to live in… See my blog .

Some links to explore…


My deepest gratitude for all the kindness and support I continue to receive. If you like to stay up to date on any (creative)  developments, please see my Blog: here.

Member of Visual Artist Ireland