Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies


A collection of butterflies, like those in this linocut, is called 'a kaleidoscope'. Isn't that perfect? I think it suggests a flutter of colourful, symmetric, beauties. This is the fifth in a series of the weird and wonderful terms of venery (collective nouns for animals) prints.

This lino block print is printed in black ink on Japanese kozo (or mulberry) paper 12.5 inches by 12 inches, or 31.7 cm by 30.5 cm in dimension, in an edition of twelve. Each butterfly involves 'chine collé' (collaged, delicate, Japanese paper) for their glorious colour. They are arrayed with a three-fold symmetry, like images in a toy kaleidoscope. There are three each of the orange Isabella's Longwings (Nymphalidae Eueides isabella), three yellow Eastern tiger swallowtails (Papilio glaucus), and three blue Red-Spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis astyanax).

For this series, I'm designing the typography to match the subjects. The word 'kaleidoscope' has clean, simple, and where possible circular or linear lines, like images in the toy itself. The word 'Butterflies' starts with a butterfly 'B', and encorporates one butterfly in its midst and wing shapes in the 'f' and 'l' and even a tiny butterfly in the dot on the 'i'.

As you might imagine, I do love butterflies, and, like moths, they have figured previously in my prints. Butterflies are quite amazing creatures and its not surprising that they are an important symbol to many cultures. I think they are growing in popularity, and like to say, "Butterflies are the new pirates," but I'm not sure anyone believes me. This print was rather complex to design, carve and print, but I think it's worth it.

You might recall my feelings about moths.


There is a butterfly in the middle of the word 'Butterflies' because butterflies tend to land in the middle of things. That's my story... it's definetly not a clever fix. It's not like I started thinking to myself I could make butterfly shapes for the 'B' and the calligraphic 'f', but then thought butterflies have two sets of wings, requiring 4 loops, so subconciously decided that there needed to be a second 'f'... because that would be illogical, and my spelling can't possibly be that bad... no, that never happened.

No comments: