Seeking love letters

Love lettersWould you be willing to lend me your love letters for a new piece of art?

Much of my work has been inspired by communication. In particular, I’ve been working with two sets of love letters written during World War II – one written by an English aircraft engineer, and the other by an American GI. These beautifully crafted letters written by two ordinary men have inspired me to create several collections of work over the last few years.

Now, I’m looking for love letters written by other people, during times of separation due to war and conflict. I’m planning to use them to create a new piece of work which will be exhibited at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter in the autumn.

Unlike most of my work, I’ll be using copies of the letters, so I don’t need your originals. The letters won’t appear in their entirety, and only snippets of text will be seen.

Letters must be written during times of war or conflict, and I’d like to know something about when the letters were written.

You can send scans of your letters to me at butterflyenvelopes-loveletters(at)

Alternatively, you can bring them along to the exhibition I’m taking part in during Devon Open Studios on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.

Theatre programmes

I was commissioned to make a collection of envelopes using these wonderful old theatre programmes. It was an enjoyable challenge selecting the most significant pieces of text from the programmes and then making sure that they were still visible when the envelopes were put together. It takes a surprising amount of paper to make one small envelope.

There were some wonderful details on the programmes, including the lovely corner decorations and illustrations.

I worked closely with the framer to select the mount board which reflects the colour and feel of traditional theatre decor.


poppiesAs November 11th approaches, I’ve been thinking about Eric, an aircraft engineer based in Southampton during World War II. I’m fortunate enough to have Eric’s love letters, which is a great privilege.

Eric wrote to his love two or three times a week for five years with messages of love interspersed with news of everyday life during wartime. The anxiety and uncertainty of the separation make the letters all the more poignant.

I feel very privileged to own the letters which I have now used to make the poppies you see here.

Devon Open Studios

paper poppiesOn Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 September 2012, I’m exhibiting with two other artists during Devon Open Studios. We’ll be at Cockwood Village Hall EX6 8NU from 11am to 6pm on both days.

I’m showing some new work continuing on the theme of communication. Using a combination of hand cutting and laser cutting, I’ve made these poppies from original airmail letters written by an American GI during and after World War II. I’ve been trying to trace the family of the GI who wrote the letters and thanks to some supportive people in America, some interesting bits of information are emerging.


Seeking Sgt Schulist

I’m searching for Sgt Joseph F Schulist 16005837 who was an American GI in World War II. He wrote to a WREN based in England and I’ve been using the love letters in my work. It’s a romantic story and I’d love to find him or his family to find out how the story ended.

Joseph Schulist's letters

Joe Schulist was from Milwaukee and moved around America after the war, so his family could be anywhere.

You can read about the story and watch the video. If you think you know someone who might be able to help, do send them the link to this post.

Lasers or scissors?

red paper flowersI’ve just attended an amazing three day course at the University of the West of England, exploring printing and laser cutting paper. Laser cutting involves careful preparation of computer files and is more time consuming than just the process of cutting on the machine. You can, however, cut huge quantities of paper shapes relatively quickly. I will still be using scissors to make envelopes and other work by hand, but the course inspired me to explore different ideas.


LOVE, and exhibition with a romantic theme, runs from 1 to 26 February at Atelier Gallery, Barnstaple.

My work includes collections of small envelopes created from original love letters written during World War II. The acrylic valentines shown here use fragments of the letters and hang from coloured ribbons, inspired by the way the original letters were stored.

More information about Atelier

Luggage labels

luggage labelsI’m working with luggage labels at the moment. I have an old battered suitcase which must have travelled all over the place, each time with a different luggage label attached.

I’m using postcards too – the messages which travellers send home from their holidays.

The new work will be shown during Exeter Open Studios from 5 to 7 November at Mathew’s Hall in Topsham.