Installation Day for Contact 2016

Michelle and I have spent the last two days installing our fiber and metal installation piece  called, Invasives, at the Honolulu Museum of Art School.

Between the jurors, Michelle and I, we decided the center stairwell in the historic building would be the best area to showcase our abstract knitted kahuli (Hawaiian tree snails) and wire crocheted Philodendron.

What a great location! Front and center! Opening night is Thursday starting at 5:00, stop by to see our finished installation.

Follow our daily art adventures on Instagram: StudioDeanna and spamKNITsubi

Calabao Construction

The Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants website has been extremely helpful for obtaining scientific accuracy in my creation of the crocheted Calabao. The Calabao is a preferred food plant for the larvae of the Green Spotted Triangle Butterfly.


Prototypes, mistakes, and final designs for the Calabao flower emerging from the ends.


Each flower is approximately 40 – 50mm when in full bloom.

Leaves and Flowers. Copyright CSIRO
 Photo from the Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants website.


Leaves grow to a length of 7 – 25 cm, width of 3.5 – 9cm with ruffled edges.

Follow my day to day design work and building of the Butterfly Flight Prep art installation on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Flight Testing Butterflies

Everyday now I put in more and more time towards my Butterfly Flight Prep art installation project and today was no exception. Used more destash to continue my prototype design work and realized there are no real life pink butterflies!

Deep thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.


Each new design, along with the materials used, date and future recommendations is recorded in my Moleskine Sketchbook.


The grid pattern in Evernote’s Moleskine Sketchbook makes it super easy to record the charted crochet patterns.


Each butterfly is struggling through several iterations and a few wing clippings before I get it to the preferred look and size.


Catch my day to day design progress by following me on Instagram: Studio Deanna

Lepidoptera and the limits of Google

Seeking the scientific details needed to properly build my Tropical Butterfly Garden installation I have found big gaps and a lot of inconsistent information out on the internet.

Taking photographs of the signs at the Cairns Botanical Gardens has been immensely helpful in my research.
Taking photographs of the signs at the Cairns Botanic Gardens has been immensely helpful in my research.

Butterflies are in the scientific order Lepidoptera and to my untrained eye, seem so very distinctive from one another. Yet my in depth studies are showing there are many that simply look alike yet prefer to live near and consume completely different flora!

All those gorgeous tropical plants and flowers have several common names, similar looks to others; so much alike that sometimes the butterflies make deadly mistakes, too! I now know the difference between the Aristolochia elegant and the Aristolochia Indica.

There is a lot of amazing photography on the internet but the identification of the rainforest subjects does need a lot of work. Google can only show me what I request and many of the photos are mislabeled as one kind of plant when it isn’t  and much of my research needs to be exactly by genus and species. Understandably, not many photographers tag their work that way. So I have chosen to purchase the Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael Braby

Flora of Far North Queensland has been generously posted by ecologist, David Tng who spent a year in the Daintree creating a reference collection which includes excellent photographs from which to create my crochet designs. The plants are conveniently organized by scientific name. Thanks, David!

Papilio aegeus Orchard or Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly

This was never meant to be a scientific project, nor will it be but in the most general sense. However, I do feel a responsibility to ensure I do not put forth misinformation regarding the gorgeous butterflies and their lush rainforest home.

Cairns Botanic Garden

On this rainy, typhoon-y, Sunday, I will be an entomologist, studying the Yoma Sabina, the Papilio Aegeus, and consider possible crochet designs for the Adenia heterophylla and the Aristolochia Indica.

You are welcome to follow my progress via Instagram at Studio Deanna

FOUND! – No Longer Seeking Australian Yarn Dyer :)

Are you a reliable, indy yarn dyer in Australia?

I am creating a large scale wire & yarn hand-crocheted Tropical Butterfly Garden art installation in Queensland, Australia to be completed in March/April of 2015. To construct this large piece I am seeking a reliable yarn source for specially dyed yarns the colors of various butterflies, caterpillars, flowers & plants native to north Queensland.

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Art Decisions and more Residency Adventures

Photos from my second week of Artist Residency at Shiro Oni Studio:

I absolutely love the blue wire & yarn crocheted butterfly I created as a centerpiece for my Electric Butterfly Art Installation however the installation said it wasn’t right. IMG_0079 IMG_0080 I changed it to one of the bright neon yellow butterflies I created and the centerpiece butterfly is now much easier to see. Sometimes the artist decides the direction, sometimes the art decides for itself.

IMG_0117 Always need more table space, for the moment this stool will do. My favorite project bags, zip bags! They always keep my yarns clean and dry despite my rough & tumble treatment of them.

Everyday, except Wed, we have been enjoying the breakfast set menu of toast, scrambled egg, small salad and a drink at Oni Cafe. This morning we had the opportunity to eat fresh, local blackberries on our salad: IMG_0083_2


On our bike ride out to the local riding club here in rural Gunma: IMG_0091

Kanna Uma no Kai. (the local equestrian club) has Japanese breeds such as Dosanko from Hokkaido and Kiso from Nagano – IMG_0088  We brushed the horses down, fed them, and watched a few members of the riding club. IMG_0086  The mosquitos were thick out there and I had to return to my studio to douse myself in Tropical Strength bug spray.

Hotaru or Firefly! They are quite rare here in Japan and behave differently than the ones I would catch at my grandparent’s place. These slower moving fireflies hover over the nearby Sanba River yet under the overhanging branches of trees. I went with a friend who was doing great capturing photos of them using time-lapse photos. As a non-photographer, I am so very proud of being able to capture this one as he landed on a leaf nearby: IMG_0094_2

Despite all of my great residency adventures I did get some work done, really I did! Preparing to hang the piece…IMG_0097

IMG_0116 Hanging the butterflies to the piece –  Realized on Tuesday afternoon that by making the change to the larger frame, I will not have enough yarn or the right sized wire to complete the project by my last day on Saturday. If I was required to have a completed project at the end of this residency with an Open Studio I would have stuck with my original idea but sometimes a better one comes along and you have go with it. Thankfully, I have the ability to obtain more yarn and return to Onishi with my completed piece for display at the town’s Summer Music Festival.

My Open Studio for Electric Butterflies will be at the Natsu Matsuri, July 12 & 13 in Onishi, Gunma, Japan.

Despite this miscalculation I’ve made great progress and definitely feel it has been worth it to have obtained the aluminum frame pieces.

Perfect topping to my hot, busy day on Friday was locally made sorbets using locally grown fruits: Peach, Apple and Yayoihime, a specific type of strawberry: IMG_0120