Hello and welcome to Heliconius - I thought I’d write a little introductory post as our new blog was looking a little bare! Although hopefully i’ll soon find time to transfer some content from my previous long-running blog. My name is Apithanny and I’m a scientist and artist living in Scotland. Heliconius brings together my two passions in life – natural history and art. Two disciplines which were once far more intertwined than they are today. I think this is a shame, not only because drawing enhances scientific observation skills, but because art can be a powerful tool in communicating the plight of our environment.
I wanted to create a company which would put to good use the illustrations I am constantly creating. Consequently, Heliconius donates 10% of all profits to the British organisation Butterfly Conservation – A charity very close to my heart. We operate in an environmentally friendly manner, so you won’t be finding any plastic in our packaging or any palm oil in our handmade soap. Lastly, as a further declaration of our love for pollinators, wildflower seeds are included with every order.
I’ve been beguiled by insects my entire life, which I contribute in part to my mother, who immersed me in the beauty of the natural world. She is a botanical artist - so whilst she prefers pretty flowers, I love anything that creeps, crawls, slimes or flies! In later life this developed into a refined obsession for one group of insects in particular – the butterflies.
Balkan Marbled White
The heliconius butterflies from which we derive our name are a genus of patterned tropical beauties. But you needn’t always look as far as the tropics for beautiful species; we have some of our very own here in Britain. Beginning with the first fresh orange tips emerging in early spring and ending with glorious autumnal commas and red admirals – the butterfly calander is one to live your life to. Everytime I see them my heart skips with joy, it’s little wonder that Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul, was depicted as a butterfly.
Unfortunately though, our butterflies and insects in general are in a dire state of affairs. It’s an accumulation of a whole lot of issues – climate change, habitat loss, pesticide use… and something that requires our immediate attention and effort. Which is why I spend all of my time studying, talking about and drawing insects. I hope that you too will enjoy seeing and learning about the many wonderful and weird insects which are likely to feature on the Heliconius website in future.
In the meantime, go and enjoy some September red admirals – coming to an ivy near you soon!