Monarch Butterfly Super Shawl

The annual Zoo-Islander Fashion Show was an online affair for 2021, titled Inside-Out. Fashion designers were encouraged to make a video of their creative wearables, which were then put together and released for audiences to watch from their own homes.

My creation this year was a simple piece- a singular piece in a way, but also five pieces that, by the magic of video, become unified. I decided to create a design based on the patterns and colours of the Monarch Butterfly, and as I developed the concept by learning more about the multi-generational cycle that completes the migratory route from Mexico to Canada, I was amazed at the delicacy and the resiliency of this very special butterfly.

There are many sites that describe the science of their cycle, and also conservation efforts towards creating Monarch corridors rich with milkweed, the only plant that can feed and sustain the caterpillar stage. I also found beautiful cultural signifigance with these butterflies, especially from the forests of Mexico where their presence has an even deeper meaning. Millions return to Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2, el Día de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead — when tradition holds the monarchs are the returning spirits of loved ones who have died.

This passage from Women Who Run With The Wolves summarized the main theme I wished to express with this woven piece.

“Butterfly Maiden is the female fertilizing force. Carrying the pollen from one place to another, she cross-fertilizes, just as the soul fertilizes mind with nightdreams, just as archtypes fertilize the mundane world. She is the center. She brings the opposites together by taking a little from here and putting it there. Transformation is no more complicated than that. This is what she teaches. This is how the butterfly does it. This is how the soul does it.

Butterfly Woman mends the erroneous idea that transformation is only for the tortured, the saintly, or only for the fabulously strong. The Self need not carry mountains to transform. A little is enough. A little goes a long way. A little changes much. The fertilizing force replaces the moving of mountains.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.

I hope you enjoy the video!

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