Broken Butterflies

Since it’s so gloomy outside (god bless English summers) I thought I’d bring a bit of summery joy to the blog and look at the incredibly delicate work of Anne Ten Donkelaar.
As an artist she collects items from nature and displays them in unusual ways in order to show each one to its best advantage and create a new story about them.

Here she has taken her collection of damaged butterflies and set out to repair them so that they might live and fly again. Reborn with new wings, limbs and bodies.

I also couldn’t resist including some butterfly facts to amaze and astound you. Enjoy!


De draadspanner (The treadtensioner)
“Missing two wings. With thread and pins I have recreated the construction of the veins of his wings.”


Butterfly Fact: Butterflies feed primarily on nectar from flowers but some also derive nutrients from decaying flesh.

the 'medusozoa'

The Medusozoa
“She had lost her body and antennae and could no longer fly. She was given a new set of flying tools and a propeller. The movement of the Medusuzoa inspired the name.”


Butterfly Fact: Many cultures believe that a butterfly is the personification of a person’s soul (whether alive, dying or deceased). In Japanese superstition it is said that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you love the most is coming to see you.

blauw spinner (blue spinner)

The Blauw spinner (Blue spinner)
“It looked like it died the moment it hatched from the cocoon. This lead me to recreate the body from a twig wrapped with blue thread. A few threads are still hanging loose almost as though the butterfly is slowly unwinding and breaking free from its cocoon.”


landkaart (map butterfly)

Landkaart (Map Butterfly)
“The original name of this butterfly is “Atlas moth” and lives in Asia. I used the maps of Asia to repair its wings.”


Butterfly Fact: Large numbers of butterflies appearing at once are considered bad luck and sign that evil may be coming. Also, in the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly in the house is taken to mean that someone in the family has died or will die soon.

goudswortel vlinder - golden root butterfly

Goudswortel vlinder (Golden root butterfly)
“This butterfly was missing its body and I added the plant root to recreate the butterfly’s torso. The root symbolizes an umbilical cord to the earth.”


Butterfly Fact: Butterflies have been and continue to be inspiration for developments in our modern lives. From aircraft design and light-emitting diodes to non-toxic paint and air quality, the humble butterfly is constantly aiding important research.

zwart vlek vlinder (black spot buttefly)

Zwart vlek vlinder (Black spot butterfly)
“Was missing two top wings, so I made the new wings by embroidering the black spots patterns on fabric.”


goudrafeltje (gold fray)

Goudrafeltje (Gold fray)
“The wings of this butterfly seemed to be frayed, like a dress which has its seam missing and the fabric has frayed. I fixed the wings with gold leaf to stop further fraying.”


You can visit her website here.
All artwork ©Anne Ten Donkelaar

PS.Here is a butterfly wing maginfied from X50 to X5000. Quite magical.

SEM_image_of_a_Peacock_wing, x50750px-SEM_image_of_a_Peacockx200ew_2750px-SEM_image_of_a_Peacock_wing,_x1000ew_3750px-SEM_image_of_a_Peacock_wing,_x5000
Twitter: @Death_n_Glory
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