As some of you may be aware I am just a tiny bit obsessed with nature. Loving nature gives me so much, it inspires me to create, educates my growing need to learn and there is no other remedy for mental health that works like being out in the open air witnessing her in all her forms. However being close to nature can have it's jagged edges, once you start to notice and adore it you begin to learn that a lot of it is in danger and heartbreakingly it is usually down to human hands. Instead of wallowing in its obvious decline I have decided to try and help. Over time I have litter picked, turned my small garden into a wildlife haven and taken part in local wildlife groups. You see without nature I wouldn't have my business, she is my muse. That thought right there was my lightbulb moment. I can show my thanks with art.
So I won't start with the cold hard facts like I so often see, there is nothing wrong with this but life is pretty difficult for me at the minute so to write a success story to start is selfishly a little freeing for me...
In 1979 the Large Blue butterfly took its final flight in Dartmoor, Devon. This big beautiful species just couldn't cope with the continued loss of habitat to support it's incredible lifecycle. At a very early stage in it's caterpillar form it tricks a very specific ant into believing it is one of their grubs. The ants instinct means it carries the grub below ground to the colony where the caterpillar feeds on the ant grubs for ten months. The following year it pupates and emerges as the Large Blue butterfly.
Since then this breath taking insect has been shown so much support from wildlife charities and hardworking individuals. It was reintroduced a few years ago and through sheer determination of caring humans my home county of Somerset now is believed to have the largest population in the world. The story is not complete for this sky blue beauty as they are classed as globally endangered. It makes you realise though what a helping human hand can do as apposed the ones I first spoke of.
So here is the second exciting part of this blog post. Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to admire and get to know some highly talented fellow nature loving artists. I felt a little nervous when I first contacted them to ask if they would be interested in my idea but with the plight of our winged creatures behind me I took the plunge. The response I have received has been nothing short of amazing! Now I ask for your help...
I will be running a butterfly, bee and moth inspired auction over on Instagram. I currently have 15 artists from across the world involved, Each of them will be donating a piece of art to be auctioned off with all proceeds being split between The Somerset Wildlife Trusts Magnificent Meadows project and The Butterfly Conservation Trust. Many of the artists have queues of people waiting to purchase one of their creations so to have it gifted from the kindness of their hearts has touched me deeply. After brainstorming we have decided to start a new Instagram page called gift them wings. So on Sunday 6th August 2017 the auction will go live and you will be able to bid for your favourite (although it will be hard to choose).
For the next few weeks I am hoping to be talking about this a lot. There is no way I would be able to promote myself like this as my confidence just isn't there but it's amazing what you can do for a cause close to your heart. I will be sharing a little something about each of the artists and maybe a clue to what they will donate. There will be stories of our winged beings, so if you have any touching tales involving butterflies, bees and moths send me an email via my contact form or social media and I will do my best to share it. I am also planning on visiting some of the reserves to share images of these winged works of art and maybe even go and visit the large blue herself :)
So just to be clear where you can help...
1. spread the word! social media is amazing for this and I am sure we can get this seen.
2. Send me your stories of bees, butterflies and moths. What do they mean to you? Have you had any memorable close encounters?
3. Do you have any ideas of how to get the word spread? do you write for a magazine or blog?
4. Finally please stop by on the 6th August to bid. Your money will help to replant the wildflower meadows of this land. We have lost 97% since WW2, wouldn't it be magical to return one day with a success story saying we had helped to turn that figure into history?
In the meantime please take a minute to hop over to Instagram and give the page a like, www.instagram.com/giftthemwings I will be updating you with the way the auction works and everything you need to know to be involved very soon. If you have five minutes take a look at
www.somersetwildlife.org and also www.butterfly-conservation.org there are some amazing facts on these websites and you may even learn something new.
Thankyou guys from the bottom of my heart, I really hope this goes a little way to giving life to the creatures that keep me living.