Well my butterfly blog's been ridiculously delayed - maybe the caterpillars got too cosy in the crysallises - so that's one New Year's resolution broken already.
They do seem to have been present in my life quite a lot lately. When it first opened Rebecca and I went to visit the butterflies in the glasshouse at Wisley - as you know it's one of my favourite places. Well, they were not small critters, believe me, but huge wings, gorgeous decorations, giant antennae. Incredible. If you don't like things fluttering around you then it's probably not for you but it will be back next year and is well worth a visit. One of the interesting things we found out was that they can see colour so I guess being in amongst all those tropical flowers must be a bit like a high for them. Despite the species in this country being somewhat smaller, their delicacy is, for me, part of their attractiveness and they're a lot less in your face. It was great to read the other day that in Norfolk they're planning to create more reed beds for commercial cutting. Not only will this encourage more (and especially rare) butterflies such as swallowtails back but will also provide the necessary material for thatching from this country and thus cut down on imported material. A great way to keep another traditional skill alive. After the balmy weather recently I wouldn't have been surprised to see a few fluttering round my garden but given today's chill wind I fear that's now a little optimistic. So in the meantime I've been admiring butterflies of a different kind.
Julia Davey is a ceramicist I whose work I love and I was lucky enough to receive a set of her porcelain butterflies as a birthday present last year. Just look at the delicacy of these - they are wafer thin.
Last year I bought some lovely butterfly buttons from Melissa's Ceramics and created textile pictures using them as a feature. Here's a couple of examples. Just recently she's added some new designs to her collection in different sizes so I'll be ordering some of those to use for new spring designs which will be perfect for my stall at this spring's Craft in Focus Contemporary Craft Fair at Wisley which runs from 3rd-7th May.
I've also tried knitting one to use in the same way. This was made on 2mm knitting needles using very fine yarn and was very fiddly to make but I think some of these would add some welcome additional texture to my cards and pictures.
And these two were made from fabric using Clover's butterfly maker. They need some bodies and antennae!
And now it's back to the knitting. Lots of love Alison xx