Muriel’s Butterfly: Celebrating Life and New ideas

‘What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly’.
Richard Bach

During the winter months of 2016 Helen Pheby, curator at The Yorkshire Sculpture Park paid a visit to my studio. When she saw the butterflies that are encapsulated into my wallpapers she put me in contact with Martin House Children’s Hospice who were looking to work with an artist to help celebrate their 30 years anniversary. The butterfly is an important symbol to them as it represents life that is delicate and short lived yet beautiful and equally important, like the children they support. I was overwhelmed by the peaceful space that Martin House has created and the focus the staff have on celebrating life in every way.

As a way to celebrate and raise awareness of this incredible facility that supports the families of the children I wanted to develop an artwork that would bring together the lives of many children to create one piece. Following several meetings with the Martin House marketing and fundraising staff and visits with the families and children I presented the idea to make a butterfly animation which would include to artworks of 300 children and adults across the North Yorkshire region. Children from primary schools, teachers and families from Martin House were involved in making the butterfly come to life.


‘Celebrating Life’

Created by children in North Yorkshire to Celebrate 30 years of Martin House Children’s Hospice.

New Ideas:

Following this project and purely by chance whilst visiting friends in Stratford-upon-Avon I came across a butterfly farm. I decided to go in as I’ve never been to a butterfly farm before and was completely amazed… It was incredible. I sat down first and just watched as hundreds of butterflies flew around me, landing on my hat, my arms and with my sketch book and water colours I began to draw.

‘The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough’.
Rabindranath Tagore

‘Change can be beautiful; butterflies are the greatest proof of this’.

Matshona Dhliwayo


Magic comes in moments like this when time stands still, everything is unplanned, you follow your instincts and you observe and melt into the moment. This was one of the most joyful moments I have ever had, just sitting and watching as these beautiful, delicate creatures surrounding me, fluttering around me as I bathed in the feeling of pure love. As I painted I created something that captured many different aspects of the butterflies around me to create a new species inspired by them all, similar to the way the children created their own butterfly species for the animation.

And… In the same way the children’s lives at the hospice are short, ‘the butterfly counts not months but moments’, I am reminded once more to live in the moment, to stop and look around me, to be present and learn to celebrate life in all its beauty.