Posted on Oct 15, 2015 in All Blog Posts, Animals, Botanical

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.”

R. H. Heinlein


Fall is here and it’s migration time for the  magical Monarch butterfly to California’s Monterey Peninsula.  They swarm in drove to frolic and flutter in the eucalyptus groves.  This year’s count – 13,400. Yikes! It’s for Lepidopteras!  They sojourn from October through February.  You’re welcome to visit the grove and photograph all you like, but touching a butterfly carries a hefty $1,000 fine. Locals take their guardianship duties seriously, and children proudly parade in praise of these pumpkin colored wonders.


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image006 Here’s a bit of trivia for your next cocktail gathering

  • A group of butterflies is known as a lek, a flight, a kaleidoscope, a rabble or a swarm
  • Lekking is the practice of gathering
  • Swarming is collective behavior, as when the Monarchs aggregate together or migrate en mass



Needless to say, butterflies are the perfect image to adorn a lady’s handkerchief, so relax and enjoy the artist’s renderings of these ephemeral creatures.

To enhance your viewing, an instrumental of “Poor Butterfly” by Benny Goodman and his sextet.


From intricately embroidered butterflies in flight

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To a fragile wedding handkerchief


To giant butterflies

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To fanciful abstractions

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Some images are so orderly they resemble entomology pin boards.

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Other hankies even contain the proper Latin names.  Note how the ever so soft pink hankie gets added zips of lime and zaps of zebra stripes (Papilio Marcellus) to jazz up the scene.

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The poor pinned specimens portray a vastly different feel from the free spirits that normally elude our grasp


“But butterflies need to know, that it doesn’t matter at all if the whole world saw their colors or not! What matters is that they flew, they glided, they hovered, they saw, they felt, and they knew!   And they loved the ones whom they flew with!   And that is an existence worthwhile!”
C. JoyBell



Butterfly images run gamut, from realistic renderings

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to fanciful frolicking.   The hankie on the right reminds me of a day of kite flying at the park 🙂

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From ghostly moth-like images set against a midnight backdrop



To curlicues which echo chimerical, capricious creatures in flight.



Even children enjoyed butterflies on their handkerchiefs,  whether it be a charming utilitarian cotton school hankie  or a hand embroidered linen dress hankie  complete with  3-D nylon net!


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Thousands of artists have tried their hand at depicting this loveliest of creatures.  I’ll close here with a few of my favorites.  These by Marielle remind me of LeRoy Nieman’s work.  I love the coral and magenta set against a sophisticated gray backdrop.


“Oh my dear love is so fragile but also very beautiful … just like a butterfly . Promise me you’ll never put your heart in the hands of savage, but instead give it to another butterfly .”

Dagmar D.l.R


How about this brilliant flutterbug dangling from the most delicate of branches.( I’ve flipped it for easy viewing.  The artist actually depicts it dangling upside down. Terrific!)


Here’s a stunning and sophisticated Jim Thompson batik.  Superbly handsome and chocolately rich. Yum!


Emilio Pucci’s swirls, twirls and curls on both border and extravagant wings truly capture the feeling of flight.  Each of these images confirm the love affair the artist had with his subject.


I mentioned the following in our bridal handkerchief blog, but it bears repeating:

What other creature starts life crawling at the slowest pace and transforms into a winged wonder that can migrate up to 3000 miles?  Who among us hasn’t wished at least once in our lives to have the power to take flight?  Because of its gift of metamorphosis, the butterfly has accrued many legends across cultures and centuries.

The ancient Greek word for butterfly means “soul.”  In Japan, too, a butterfly was considered the personification of a person’s soul.  One superstition says if a butterfly enters your home and perches, the person you most love is coming to see you.   Butterfly Lovers is a famous Chinese folktale, and in their culture, two butterflies flying together symbolize love

Many cultures believe the butterfly to be a messenger from the spirit world, and some Native American tribes believe butterflies have the power to carry your wishes skyward to the gods.   If a white butterfly visits you at an important moment in your life, it may represent a guardian spirit helping you along life’s path.  What better talisman then, to carry in your pocket?  To remind you that perhaps a bit of good luck or help from a loved one may be closer than you think.



  1. 10-24-2019

    I need 40 butterfly handkerchiefs and if that many costs more than I can pay then I need 12. They can either be assorted since so many of yours are pretty or all the same one. I like best the one on the top on the right with a white background. #1020 I think. I would need a price. I hope to give them to Intl Women leaders that I convene at the National Prayer Breakfast each year.

    • 3-3-2020

      At this time I am a collector and do not sell handkerchiefs.

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