Vikki Lafford is a textile artist based in Oxfordshire. Drawing inspiration from nature, she creates colourful and meticulously detailed butterflies and dragonflies that have been brightening up our gallery for several years. The butterflies are made from layers of fabric including cotton, faux suede and polyester organza. They are all embroidered and hand painted.
Vikki has always had a love of butterflies and an appreciation of the natural world. For the last few years she has been making a collection of embroidered British butterflies. After a customer from the USA commissioned her to make some Monarch butterflies, Vikki was surprised to learn how the once common and abundant Monarch butterfly is in severe decline in the USA due to various factors such as climate change and the loss of habitat. The facts and figures were quite startling and Vikki realised there must be many more different butterflies around the world that are fighting for survival. Her collection of endangered and threatened butterflies is an attempt to represent the beauty and fragility of vulnerable butterfly species from around the world.
Below we are zooming in on some of the endangered butterflies from Vikki's new collection. Come to the gallery soon to see them!
The Wallace’s Golden Birdwing is a beautiful butterfly with a large wingspan reaching up to 19cm wide. It is native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, where extensive commercial deforestation has caused the butterfly to become endangered.
The Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the world’s largest butterfly. With beautiful iridescent wings spanning up to 28cm, the butterfly is highly prized by collectors. Trade in the endangered Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is now illegal but its future in Papua New Guinea continues to be threatened by the devastating loss of habitat following a volcanic eruption of Mount Lamington in 1951 and through deforestation for oil palm plantations.
The Ceylon Rose is a very rare butterfly from the swallowtail family, found mainly in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka. It is classified as critically endangered and the main threats facing the future of this exotic butterfly are thought to be deforestation due to timber extraction and agriculture.
The Morpho Helena is one of many different Blue Morphos native to the rainforests of Latin America. Blue Morphos are known for their stunning iridescent blue wings and so highly sought after by collectors. There is concern for the future of all Blue Morphos in the region due to the gradual destruction of their habitats to clear land for crop plantations and livestock pastures.
The Kaiser-i-Hind is often known as the Emperor of India. It is native to the high altitude forests of the Eastern Himalayas and as a rare butterfly, is protected by Indian and Nepalese law. However, it is still illegally hunted for supply to butterfly collectors and is also threatened by loss of habitat through the slash-and-burn techniques used in agriculture.
The Monarch butterfly is a native to North America. The Monarch is well known for its incredible annual mass migration to central Mexico, covering a distance up to 3,000 miles.