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Archive for the ‘True Stories brief’ Category

I produced some monoprint butterflies during my initial research for the Cheltenham Illustration award. I repeatedly traced my pencil illustrations to produce a number of unique images.  I then arranged the pages and bound them into simple books. These I will possibly sell at this years Liverpool book fair.

monoprint butterflies

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The Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2009 brief is True Stories.  The beginning inspiration for my  entry was the theme of cabinets of curiosities and scientific display frames. I began exploring the idea of how if objects and stories are presented to you as evidence, at what point are they questioned.    The use of postcards for the wings of the butterflies has been inspired by how each post card tells a story in the content they contain and the journey they have travelled.   Other butterflies in this collection have been made from the pages of true stories and combined with old mathematical and scientific papers also relating to true fact.  The complete butterfly display is based on the original frames used by museums and those of curiosity collectors and is closely grouped together like curiosity rooms.  Each butterfly is arranged in taxonomy and labelled similarly to real butterflies using a traditional typewriter.  The piece is deliberately three dimensional to make the butterflies as true to life as possible when using paper as the main medium to illustrate with. The final image that I submitted was a softly lit photograph of the butterfly frames together.  Individual frames containing different butterflies are now for sale on my etsy account.

Paper Butterflies

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I decided that I wanted to create 3d butterflies that I would display in specimen cabinets, the same as those in the museums I have visited.  Along with these will be a label with the name of each butterfly. The idea is if something is presented as evidence is it questioned? How the cabinet contains true stories of found species but what if the stories aren’t true?  I started off designing realistic butterflies that are not quite ‘true’ in design, having unusual wing patterns and extended it further to the materials they are made from included in the design.  I made the bodies out of wire and cotton thread and attached them to the different paper wings.  I have used paper because of how delicate it can be and scoured charity shops and my house for materials. I have used aged lined and square paper, maps, music sheets and book pages. I have also used old post cards and this has led me to add a journey theme to my design.

I plan to use a typewriter to add labels to my butterflies that will emphasis my ‘true?’ stories theme and will display them in cabinets and specimen trays. paper butterfliespaper butterflies

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Simple monoprint line drawings of butterflies and photographs of the resulting lines that appeared on the inked glass.monoprintinked glass imageinked glass image

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I visited the Liverpool World museum to photograph the butterfly collection so I would have a large numberof images to work from. butterfly trayspecimen jars

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I began to explore the idea of how evidence is presented and how if something that isn’t true is presented in a scientific way does it make it believable?  I photographed butterfly collections in the Grovenor Museum in Chester and researched on the internet about cabinets of curiosities. I plan to find more images of scientific cabinets with specimen jars.  I came across the photographer James G Mundie who has taken images of anatomical curiosities in a variety of  museums.  I found the images of the deformed babies hard to look at but the idea of preserving true events in jars is an interesting way to show visual information.butterfly cabinetdscf8209musei_wormiani_historiamv-401

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When I started this brief I got it into my head that I wanted to produce a piece of work that strongly represents my style.  This caused me to struggle as I began to over think the media processes rather than the design ideas.  I began to design a 3D paper character that I would photograph with autobiographies but I just wasn’t feeling it. I couldn’t get into the work so knew it wasn’t an idea I should follow further allowing me to take a step back and re look at my initial ideas.

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