Friday, November 22, 2013

Butterfly Mythology and Fast Friday Fabric Challenge

I am the host this week for Fast Friday Fabric Challenge. Because I am interested in insects, butterflies in particular, and mythology of insects I chose Butterfly Mythology as my challenge. I have created several butterfly quilts in my series Fabricating Nature but the latest have been associated with mythology.

The Circle of Life
30" x 40"

The circle is representative of life's never ending cycle (birth, death, rebirth). The butterfly lays its eggs on a plant that nourishes the egg. The caterpillar eats and grows, it then turns into a chrysalis and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. It's sole purpose is to breed and start the cycle/circle all over. 

While I did not chose to represent this in a circular form it is none the less representative of the circle of life. 

The Return of the Monarch
30.5" x 39"

The local people of Angangueo, Mexico have long believed that monarchs are the returning spirits of their deceased relatives, mysteriously arriving at the same time each year, coinciding with the Day of the Dead. Aztec tradition holds that the souls of the departed will return as hummingbirds and butterflies. This link between myth and the monarchs’ annual return spans centuries.

24" x 33"

You may notice a resemblance between the first panel in The Circle of Life and Ravishing. I actually used the same photograph to create both of these pieces. The technique is different which makes for a very different looking piece. I used the caterpillar for the Spice Bush Swallowtail in this piece while I used the Monarch caterpillar for The Circle of Life.

This piece is not related to a myth. 

Mama's Butterflies
 Several years ago when I went to an AQS show in Paducah, I found this piece of marbled fabric. I immediately saw a tree and actually willed a woman who was looking at the fabric to put it down. As soon as she did, I grabbed it. It took me a while to decide what to do with this piece but I finally decided to create this piece titled Mama's Butterflies. My Mother was quite accomplished in art of crochet.  She knew of my love of butterflies so she found a pattern and created quite a few. She gave me about ten but when she passed away I found more in her crochet left overs. This was my way to honor her work combined with mine.  


31" x 42"

Flowerfly is one of my older pieces and the first time I created a butterfly in my work. The forward wings are loose and have wire sewn into the edges so that the wings can actually be moved a bit. The spots on the wings are painted with paint sticks.

It is not related to a myth.

Blue Atlas
62" x 50" 

Blue Atlas is quite a large piece and is hand quilted with hand-dyed pearl cotton. The spots or decorations on the wings are fussy cut and fused to the wings. This seems to be a popular piece of mine and I think it might be the impact of the beautiful blue/purple hand-dyed fabric on the black background.

It is not associated with a myth.

 I wish that I had been able to find more examples of butterfly art in mythology on the internet. I know they're out there as I found many examples in the book The Spirit of Butterfies: myth, magic and art, by Maraleen Manos-Jones.  I hope the participants of Fast Friday Fabric Challenge find this to be an interesting challenge. Good luck?

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  1. Each piece is more wonderful than the next, however I was intrigued with your lace butterflies the most....very cool application for lace!

  2. Your butterfly quilts are amazingly beautiful! I especially love the first three, but they are all great.

  3. Your mother' hand crochet butterflies are extra special, what a wonderful way to preserve them. You certainly have a great way of showing off butterflies. We have a local butterfly garden/breeding program that I love to take photos of. Some day a quilt.

  4. Oh! I so love all these especially mammas butterflies -what a treasure !

  5. All your pieces are so lovely, Marilyn! I am particularly intrigued by your impressionistic backgrounds...and "Mama's Butterflies" touches my heart. Thank you!

  6. Thanks all. Mama's butterflies is special. I gave it to my oldest daughter as she remembers her grandmother the most. I borrowed from her this week to use next year in a show.