Butterflies are inspirational. Their journey from egg to caterpillar, chrysalis to winged creature is a modern metaphor for personal growth, change, and transformation. Throughout history, numerous cultures have given the butterfly spiritual meanings. The Aztecs associated butterflies with brave warriors who were killed in battle. Celtic mythology regarded butterflies as a symbol of the soul, able to cross into other realms. Some Native American tribes believed that their ancestors communicated with the living through butterflies, and others took the presence of these creatures as a sign of joy or hope. Associated with transformation of any kind––personal or communal––butterfly symbols in sub-Saharan African culture are woven into songs, stories, and dance.
If you find yourself drawn to butterflies, if they touch your life in some special way, why not honor that extraordinary feeling with a piece of fine art jewelry from llyn strong. To celebrate her own professional growth and the move from downtown on Main to Midtown on Washington, she’s created a kaleidoscope of butterflies (yes, that is the collective noun!) in the form of earrings––studs and jackets––rings, clasps, and pendants for you to celebrate your own transformational journey. From simple yellow and rose gold creatures to butterflies with bejeweled wings, you might just find the butterfly of your dreams.
And speaking of journeys…butterflies have recently fluttered to llyn’s new Midtown store in the form of steel sculptures by noted artist Yuri Tsuzuki. Come for a visit and you’ll see them hanging out on the walls and ceiling beams. Others have escaped outside to cluster around the front door.
This installation is just one of numbers of butterfly-themed steel sculptures that Yuri has designed and fabricated for public spaces in our town. When I asked Yuri what her impetus for these sculptures was, she replied that in recent years she repeatedly heard so many visitors and residents alike comment, “Greenville has changed so much!” She wanted to create public art for the downtown area that would embody the themes of discovery, migration, and change: she decided on the butterfly motif. Between 2014 and 2018, clusters and kaleidoscopes of butterflies could be viewed at various areas downtown––a dynamic counterpoint to the “Mice on Main.” Soon butterflies “migrated” to the Cancer Survivors’ Park on Cleveland Street. Yuri calls these clusterings communities. And now in 2021, a small community of butterflies has made their home at llyn strong fine art jewelry in Midtown Greenville, SC.
Yuri explained that her process of creating each winged creature is akin to the creative process that happens in llyn’s store. Using stainless steel, Yuri fashions each butterfly shape and folds each set of wings with her own hands. She then torches the wings to give them color, a process she calls giving them “the heat of life.” In the same way, llyn’s new store is a creative space where raw precious metals and gemstones are transformed by llyn and her staff into items of inspiration.
Yuri’s business is called Chorus of Trees. You can view her work with butterflies, trees, and other themes and read her artist’s statement at yuritsuzuki.com.