Migrating Monarchs


Monarch butterflies are famous for their mass migrations in autumn from the northern USA and Canada to the southern USA and Mexico. While migrating, they settle on trees in large numbers, and this was what I was trying to represent. Curiously, after the piece was finished I saw a TV programme about the migration, and found to my great satisfaction that my portrayal was pretty accurate. The basic structure had already been made for another purpose - it consists of a pyramid covered with black organza and a number of machine wrapped cords, making a sort of tassel. The butterflies were made in a technique similar to the work of Kathleen Laurel Sage - two layers of organza sandwiched between soluble fabric (Romeo) and machine stitched. The top layer of organza is orange and the bottom white, and stitching is black with spots of white added afterwards - these are the actual bright colours of the butterflies, which serve to warn would-be predators that they are poisonous. When the stitching was finished, I dissolved the Romeo and cut out the butterflies with the soldering iron. Then I hand-stitched them individually to the cords. There are forty butterflies altogether, of various sizes, so this was quite a job!

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