Butterflies in Blue: A Worldwide Adventure

Writer and photography / Nancy Breslin

Tasha Lewis, a New York artist, has plans to send swarms of cyanotype butterflies around the world.

For anyone familiar with yarnbombing (a non-destructive form of guerilla street art, in which artists decorate parking meters, statues and other items with knitted or crocheted yarn), there is a new project in a similar spirit that should be dear to our alt photo hearts.  Artist Tasha Lewis has created 6,000 unique cyanotype butterflies, printed on fabric from Linda Stemer (at blueprintsonfabric.com).  Tasha has sewn a small magnet to each butterfly so they can be attached to light poles, bridges and other metallic city structures, creating beautiful, temporary swarms of magic.  While based in New York City, she has been making these “ephemeral public installations” around the US.

Some of Tasha Lewis's cyanotype butterflies affixed to metal doorsTasha would like to see her butterflies travel around the world, and has engaged 185 collaborators in many different countries to help with her quest.  She plans to send packages of butterflies along 16 different routes, such as one involving (in part) New York, Pennsylvania, Istanbul, Moscow, Krakow and Berlin, and another that includes Johannesburg, Monrovia, Rabat, Gozo and Ramallah.  While some of the trips are free (a few volunteers are carrying butterflies with them as they travel), others involve packing, international shipping and insuring of the work, which gets expensive.  Tasha has a Kickstarter campaign going on, to help raise the funds to see her project fly (in several senses of that word).  You can see a video about her plan at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1400245775/swarm-the-world or visit her website http://www.tashalewis.info/.


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