Tracey Bush

Tracey Bush

For many years I made scrapbooks; collections of ephemera that I could not throw away. These books have now emerged as Lepidoptera, butterflies and moths; ancient symbols of transformation. Each moth or butterfly is sewn together from layers of paper using a bookbinders pamphlet stitch. They are then pinned out using entomological pins in Museum boxes.

Influenced by the conventions of collecting The Postman is cut from foreign postmarked envelopes and letters. The collection of map butterflies British Butterflies is cut from old maps and atlases. Each butterfly is an actual species and is life size. Each is made with an allusion to its name or habitat- hence the Scotch Argus butterfly shows a Scottish Loch on its wing, while the High Brown Fritillary is cut from the dun contours of the Cheviots. The poetic names of British butterflies, such as Meadow brown and Chalkhill blue are hand-written in brown ink on tiny scientific labels.

Butterflies are amongst the first indicators of environmental change; these works hopes to highlight their frailty and diversity, as an alternative to a collection of actual specimens.

Nine wild plants began with reading that: It has been estimated that the average Western adult can recognise a thousand brand names and logos, but less than ten wild plants.

Drawing on a culture of collecting, three-dimensional flowers: Field Poppy and Meadow Buttercup are presented in taxidermy cases. Recycled paper packaging used to make these playful constructions was picked up from London’s streets. Bright colours and anthropomorphic cartoon characters belie a barbed investigation of the deeply embedded brand-awareness within our culture. The plants used as specimen types were collected in the London area. Some might be considered weeds and are often overlooked. Nine wild plants combines the precision of carefully observed botanical constructions, with the overblown excesses of consumerism.


The Tate Gallery Library
The British Library (Handling Collection)
The Museum of London.
Department of Prints and Drawings, Winchester School of Art Library.
Little Magazines and Poetry Store Collection, University College London
The Camberwell College of Arts and Crafts Collection.
The River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames.
The Swansea Institute Library Wales.
The British Land Company
Manchester Metropolitan University Library
Ireland Wexford Arts Centre.
The Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry, Miami
The Yale Centre for British Art, Connecticut
The Jaffe Collection, Florida Atlantic University

Solo Exhibitions
Nine Wild Plants, an Arts Council funded exhibition at Pennybank Gallery, London