This sculpture is like a nature study of a butterfly in its natural environment although carving it was a massive challenge for me. The realistic carvings of the broken birch twig and the rotting birch leaf were incredibly difficult to recreate. I had to try and make the piece of caribou antler look like a broken twig off a tree. I used a real piece of Labrador White Birch as the model to recreate the fractured end, the knots and bark texture. The leaf is made from a piece of fossilized Woolly Mammoth ivory so had the natural brown aging colour and the darker markings. I added the holes!
This little Labrador Sulphur butterfly is about its true size. It was also very also hard to carve and I needed a steady hand as the butterfly and its tiny legs are all carved out of one piece of whiter Woolly Mammoth ivory. This little butterfly sits nervous, wings slightly separated, ready to takeoff as the ice melts below. It is spring here in Labrador now and the base resembles the melting snow outside the studio. It is the wrong time of year to see butterflies as they are usually seen in July and August, although I have to say on the higher sheltered slopes patches of snow will survive through summer so could easily been seen with flowers and butterflies.
I liked the idea here of the beauty of the living butterfly in contrast to the broken piece of birch and a decaying leaf.
Billy was born on July 7, 1978, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador. In his early years he travelled eastern Canada residing and schooling in Ottawa, Yarmouth and Halifax in Nova Scotia, then at the age of thirteen returned to live in Goose Bay. He now lives in North West River in Labrador and enjoys fishing and hunting on the land with his family.
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