Monday, 3 November 2014

Research project topic - Butterflies


I have selected the theme of Butterflies for my research topic. My initial ideas have been collated by brainstorming and producing a spider-diagram in my sketchbook. See below.



I believe there is a lot do scope within this subject area when one considers the beautiful colours and patterns found on the wings of Butterflies and the silhouette of their shape. I will also consider their habitat and the nature of their being; including their polymorphasism - the fact that they are actually two distinct species with one, their aposematism - the use of their colouration and marking to war other animals of their danger to them and their mimicry - their similarity to another species to offer protection to one or both.

I find Butterflies fascinating for many reasons but I am particularly drawn to the spiritual essence which has been assigned to them throughout the ages. I would like my project to embrace this aspect of the way Butterflies are represented.

Butterflies are treated as symbols of the resurrection within the Christian faith, perhaps because of their metamorphosis through the four distinct phases of their life; egg, larvae/caterpillar, pupa (chrysalis) and finally adult Butterfly. However, this is not the only evidence we see of the fascination with this beautiful insect. We can look to Greek mythology for another example. Psyche, is represented by a butterfly, she is the God who shared a mutual and everlasting love with Eros.

Below - Damien Hurst - I am become Death - Shatterer of the worlds 2006.


I would also like to consider the way Butterflies are represented in art, from the earliest examples like the Egyptian tomb paintings 1350 BC to the current work of Damien Hurst who caused outrage when his installation at the Tate Gallery reputedly involved the death of 9000 butterflies.

Whenever I think of Butterflies I hear the Dolly Parton song 'Love is like a butterfly' in my head, and I think she is quite right when she says that they are, like love, 'a rare and gentle thing.'

During the course of my research project I will endeavor to find out why they are so special to me, and I will try very hard to ensure that the design work and finished projects remain true to the essence of these beautiful creatures.




This blog is going to chart my journey through the City & Guilds Diploma in Embroidery course run by Distant Stitch.


I have been involved with textiles in one form or another for most of my life. My Mum was a very keen sewer who had a deep love and understanding of textiles which I think came from her early years spent working in the weaving factories in Lancashire. She taught me to sew at a very early age and my earliest and happiest memories involve sitting under her sewing table playing and 'sewing' with her. During the 80's I made all my own clothes and loved to design and create fashionable styles that no one else had. I opened a shop in 1988, which sold wedding dresses and fabrics and notions and I designed and made one-off wedding dresses and ball gowns.


I took a complete change of direction after that until ill health forced me to look for something to do to get me out and about a little and what is now called the Certificate in Embroidery was suggested to me. It is some years since I completed my Certificate in Embroidery and since then I have found it difficult to find a way forward with my work. I have done nowhere near as much as I would have liked to do and never seem to find my own style and really admire artists who manage to have an 'artistic signature' that shows in their work.


I am hoping that this course will help me to find the motivation to begin to work regularly on my creative studies, I am hoping to gain a routine and a more methodical system in which to create artwork that I am happy with and finally, I am hope to develop my own style.

Below - sample taken from me Certificate in Embroidery. The inspiration was reflections on the sea, it is hand painted on satin and worked in hand and machine stitch. I envisaged this becoming the front panel of a corset.