caterpillars become butterflies (9/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Kelchitsu’/Insects awaken 6th March until 20th March .
Micro climate ‘caterpillars become butterflies’ 16th – 20th March.

Scrabbling to catch up again. Halfway through the next season already!

No sign of any caterpillars, let alone butterflies. Not enough green here yet in Argyll.
I learned a few years ago though, that some of our native butterflies winter as butterflies, here in the UK!
They hide in dry pockets, in the heather and undergrowth, and slow down their tiny bodies until they are virtually dead, waiting for the warmth of spring. I always think of those butterflies when the snow lies on the ground and the winter storms batter our coast. Such resilience in such a tiny, seemingly fragile, creature.

The weather has been very wild and extremely changeable, so I have been occupying myself with my plans for my tiny gallery, sourcing bits, buying tools (we lost all ours in the garage fire) and also doing a fair bit of D.I.Y. around our home. Fixing things that sorely needed a bit of love and attention. Putting things right. Flitting from one project to the next….keeping busy.

Butterflies, though, have always held a fascination for me and I found myself recalling how, as a child, my father once wrote me, what I thought at the time, was a beautiful letter… I wrote a poem about that.

His little butterfly.

I’ve kept the letter

All these years.

It is a treasure of mine, precious and yellowed.

‘My little butterfly’ he called me.

My father.

I glowed with pride.

All I understood was irredescant wings and miraculous beauty,

I was no longer larval, or pupating,

I felt that he could see me,

That he understood.

Only years later I read his words and understand

His ‘little butterfly’ held no real beauty for him.

That flying from flower to flower was, in his eyes, a frivolous activity.

The letter written as a warning, a complaint even,

That I would never stick to one thing and complete.

Only full of fear for me and paternal concern.

Well….all these years later I have drawn nectar from so many flowers,

A life so sweet and transient, on fragile wings.

Defying wind and gravity with a lightness of touch.

Dazzling all in ethereal improbability.

To me a butterfly is a magician of transformation.

Miraculous metamorphosis.

So I treasure this letter still.

And I have never changed.

For no butterfly can ever become again a caterpillar…..

Kat Robertson 18th March 2019

And that led me to think about a flyer for an intense psychedelic trance dance party I went to near Frankfurt in 1996 (?) that I still have on display in a framed ‘collage of memories’ collection. It was some party!
The flyer itself intrigued me and I learned it was a mock up from another more famous work of art. So I searched about and found it was by Mati Klarwein 1932-2002 and I have remained a life-long fan of his visionary work.
Interestingly this painting is not on this website and I cannot find it online! It has taken a trip to the loft and an hour of searching to no avail to find its title…..but I call it ‘Metamorphosis’, like the party and the act of becoming a butterfly.

And now the sun has come out again, time to get back out into the garden, perhaps I will see a caterpillar!

the party flyer
photo of old photocopy of original painting by Mati Klarwein

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s