Barbara Levine
“Heliconius”, 2016
63″ x 48″
Linen, wool, silk, French polished cotton and metallic thread.
Photo: Michele Lorenzo

The South American Heliconius is one of a suite of five butterfly tapestries that I am presently working on. These woven impressions are based on the microcosmic patterns found on various species. My inlay technique is a three-form alignment of Russian Weave, Tabby and Picking Weave. The warp is linen and the materials are wool, linen, polished French cotton, metallic thread and silk. All butterflies are endangered, threatened by the impact of habitat loss due to deforestation and climate change.

Barbara Levine say of her work ‘I have always been fascinated by the challenge of looking closely at natural objects to illuminate what their deeper structures reveal and inspire in the creative consciousness.

For me, the real drama within nature is perceived in the intimate relationship between the subject and the beholder. The phenomena of nature, such as flowers and butterflies, and their manifestations of tremendous natural energy–creatively transformed through the act of painting and weaving–exert a special psychic force on my being.

I am always experiencing the intense spiritual effect of color and minute structures: these provide the mainspring of my creative impulse.

I have always enjoyed working in the media and art form that feels most appropriate to the subject matter—therefore, you will see oil, gouache, egg tempera, watercolor, pastel and tapestry. There are abstracts, portraits and representational pieces—occasionally manifested simultaneously in the same oeuvre’.