Sunday, 12 June 2016


One of the best things about making a living as an artist is the random moments when something you've created resonates with another human, and there is this unexpected soul-to-soul connection with a complete stranger...
That happened to me again this past week, while I was hanging paintings at our wall display in the Sofitel Resort. A woman from New Zealand came over with her face wreathed in smiles. She had just bought one of our "Pacific Patchwork" silk art pieces which included this monarch butterfly. She told me she'd been following my art for years. When she saw this butterfly, she knew she had to finally buy a piece for her own home.
"Why the monarch?", I asked, explaining about my happy childhood memories in rural Pennsylvania, collecting tiny monarch caterpillars and watching the wondrous metamorphosis from squirming caterpillar to tightly-packed chrysalis, to delicate, air-bourne butterfly. Then later on as a teenager far from home, coming across a tree on a lonely hillside, covered from top to bottom with thousands of monarchs, taking a moment to rest during their annual migration across a huge swathe of North America. Their delicate wings were opening and closing rhythmically, creating the illusion of a breathing tree, turning from vibrant orange to brown to vibrant orange again in all it's borrowed glory.... When, many years later, a monarch butterfly fluttered past me as I was exploring the mountain slopes of my adopted Pacific Island home with my children, I was astounded! They're in Fiji too! How did they get here, across the vast, windswept waters of the Pacific? A question I'm still keen to find the answer to...

The stranger standing in front of me explained that back home in New Zealand, she worked in a hospice for terminally ill children. In accompanying their small patients through the last, fraught weeks of their short lives, the staff at the hospice use the life cycle of the butterfly to open up discussions about death. The children take great comfort in the visionary thought that their dying bodies too will go through unfamiliar changes, but that will not be the end, but an amazing, freeing beginning! Purple, my new friend told me, is a colour loved by many of the children in her care - perhaps because it is so vibrant, so full of life...

We hugged and she walked away, leaving me with a lump in my throat, and gratitude in my heart, reflecting on the power of art, and the chance it brings to touch the lives of others - and in turn be touched by them!

More of our hand-painted Pacific Patchwork silk art collection can be viewed on the Sigavou Studios ISSUU page here:

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