Last summer, I discovered several dead butterflies in an outside room. Tragically, they’d found their way in, but didn’t make it back out. Most were closed, but there was one that was still open and fully intact.
I try not to think what a horrific death that must have been, but she remains beautiful, even in death.
When I say “she”… I’m no lepidopterist, but I’m pretty sure this is a female Pieris Bassicae, AKA Large White or “Cabbage White”. We’re fortunate to see a great many of these beauts in the OneandSeventy garden; they absolutely love my horseradish!
As do their offspring who decimate it every year. We don’t even try to fight it. We’ve just given the plant over to them. It’s good to grow something just for nature; makes me feel like I’m giving something back.
I was desperate to keep and display this gorgeous creature. She even made into the Witch’s Halloween kitchen (can you spot her?), but I had plans to keep her beyond Halloween. I wanted to honour her sacrifice all year round.
Inspiration struck in the form of this antique box, spotted on Pinterest.
I drew a loose plan, gathered my supplies, and got to work. Drawing on tips and techniques used in the creation of this amazing Gothic Altar by the lovely Heather Tracy at Thicketworks, I made a gorgeous display box worthy of this stunning creature.
When I was making this piece, I had planned to write a tutorial but as I have long suspected, when they were handing out aptitude for numbers and measuring, I was at the back of a very long queue! I managed the sides and ends of the box OK but when it came to the top and bottom, even with my trusty Cricut cutting machine I failed to measure them properly.
And I thought that would be the easy part!
As for the glass panels, they were quite easy to put together. Taking inspiration from the Pinterest image and again, turning to Heather and her Gothic Votive Screens, I even meticulously measured and fixed hinges to create drop-down sides. But again, my measuring skills let me down.
Forgetting to allow for the additional (albeit tiny) change in measurements caused by the hinges, meant the panels didn’t close properly.
Luckily, Beloved and his “why don’t you remove the hinges and have the top as a separate piece?” saved this project from the bin. But it does mean there’s no tutorial, I’m afraid.
The “glass panes” are made from rigid plastic salvaged from product packaging and the decorations are paper clay castings, also hand-crafted.
The “pillow” upon which the butterfly rests is an old box my business cards came in, covered with adhesive foam. The quilting was created using this technique from another Heather Tracy creation.
Those gothic mini coffins are most certainly on my To Do list!
A finish of black gesso, dry brushed with metallic paint and I now have a beautiful butterfly lying in state in the OneandSeventy kitchen.
It’s quite the talking point!
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted it’s missing a handle, but the right one has yet to cross my path. Even without it, I adore this curious creation. Although my critical eye is now looking at those castings and wishing they were a little more refined. But hey! It’s all practice. I’ve only recently started working with air-dry clay, so it’ll get there.
Between the measuring and the moulding, I’m definitely going to have to try and make something like this again so I have a method to share with you. Until then, I hope you enjoy the journey so far.
As always, drop a comment below to let me know what you think.
A hui hou,
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