spotlight

Marion McConaghie’s vintage dictionary butterflies

Marion McConaghie’s ‘dictionary prints’ give new life to otherwise old and forgotten ephemera. And now, in an exclusive collaboration, she has produced a set of arresting limited edition butterfly prints.

Visiting Marion’s home in Lewes (just a stone’s throw from our Sussex workshop) where she lives with her husband Andrew, an artworker, and their four year old son Alfred, you can see how her environment influences her work.

Once part of an old girls’ school, the family home is wonderfully characterful, a testament to time spent browsing antique shops and car boot sales in her spare time.

The sunny studio where Marion works overlooks a flint-walled courtyard garden and abounds with a collection of vintage books and found treasures that form the basis of her work.

Marion describes her art as ‘historical, vintage, inspired by nature, British, quirky, realistic, with a dark humour.’

Growing up in Northern Ireland, Marion cites her art teacher as her greatest inspiration, ‘she encouraged me to follow my dream of becoming an artist at a time when I was being actively discouraged from pursuing it.’

Her subsequent studies in Fine Art, then working in web and print design have led her to an artistic process that combines traditional artistic techniques with modern technology.

She uses pages from old encyclopaedias, maps and books and combines them with collages of historical images and painterly touches using Photoshop. The result is something that feels both nostalgic and contemporary.

Inspired by historical images of butterflies and continuing the theme from her dictionary prints, Marion has produced a series of limited edition butterfly prints using acrylics, watercolours, charcoal and pencils, with sections layered with collage. She describes the appeal of butterflies:

‘Butterflies are such a unique insect, I’m drawn to their fragility, their beauty, and their colour of course. Their lifespans are so short, I love capturing their fleeting energy alongside the stillness when they land.’

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