Friday, May 15, 2015


Over the last couple years I have been drawn to the stages of life...perhaps because I have been through enough of life to recognize/experience these stages and my hope is to be learning from them...

The Child: learning, forming intuition

The Maiden: discovering individual creative potential

The Mother: giving birth to this creativity

The Crone: listening and sharing gathered wisdom

I think that we as humans can jump back and forth between stages a bit...hopefully not going all the way back to childhood...although I feel that I am constantly learning and still discovering untapped potential creativity...but hopefully have given birth to many and now continuing onward in sharing my knowledge gained over my 20+ years in the textile art field...
Butterflies have a "complete" life cycle. This means that there are four distinctive stages, each of which looks completely different and serves a different purpose in its life.
The Egg: tiny, round, and close to food

The Caterpillar: rapidly growing body

The Chrysalis: transformation stage

The Butterfly: wings!

I believe we have many things in common with the butterfly's stages of life, especially the discovering who we are, understanding our transformation, and taking flight!

The Butterfly
All Photography: Mark Mortensen

In this piece, I chose to have her vest open as a book to revel the meaning or symbolism of the butterfly, English on one side and Chinese on the other...mirrored expression but of the same.
The Butterfly symbolizes renewal and rejuvenation, the ability to bounce back from setbacks or disappointments, a transformation of spirituality. They stand for beauty and metamorphosis. It symbolizes the human. 

In China, the butterfly symbolizes long life and beauty... the butterfly is symbolic of the undying bond as each mirrored wing is connected in the middle at the heart. As Butterflies float from flower to flower, this represents a good social life for the young at heart, joy, and the essence of happiness.

The Close Up

This Butterfly is my own design. This design that came to me intuitively...maybe from being connected to my heart??
For the hat base I used a magenta silk brocade that I purchased years ago in China...

The embroidered butterflies, I backed with Asian flowered cotton and trimmed out using a gold cording adding tiny stamens as the antenna.

Close up of face with (love this) texture of silk crepe. Hand painted eye(s). Shading in pastels. 
 Closer still
As close as you can get! You can barely see the embroidered eyebrow through her bangs.

In keeping with the Southern China traditional design style, I always use a cross stitch form of geometric embroidery. Little glass bead for closure.
Here again the embroidery done on the sleeve cuff is mimicking the butterfly design. 
 The hands are armatured with copper wire.
Close up of the cuff embroidery and the black linen shoes lined with magenta dupioni and soles of Asian metallic cotton. Tiny special flowers glass beads are used for the shoe closures.
The Hat
As I am designing, I keep in mind that I am working in a three dimensional aspect. So here, I would like to show you the Butterfly in the round...note how the Butterflies have landed on the hat here and there but still in balance... Like the circle of Life.

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
In the Circle
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
in the Circle of Life.
Music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice- The Lion King
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