Dragonfly (Linocut Print, 2021)
The Dragonfly had long been on my ‘To Do’ list because it holds a certain childhood significance within my family group. My Dad used to run the RAF cadets at my school, and the Dragonfly was a symbol on the crest. But at 4.30am on 20th June 2020, as I was walking off a sleepless night, the dragonfly took on a whole new significance for me.
I was sleepless because only 14 hours earlier I’d been giving my husband CPR on our kitchen floor after he suffered a sudden and severe cardiac arrest. Sleepless, because his heart stopped for 25-30 minutes until the paramedics were about to give up, so it seemed unconscionable to me that, even if he regained consciousness, he would be anything but severely brain damaged for the remainder of our lives. Sleepless, as I replayed on permanent loop the various conversations I’d have to have, to break it to our three boys that their Dad had died.
So sleep eluded me, and at about 4am, as dawn started to break, I walked. I walked and I walked the empty streets, too exhausted to move my legs yet too wired to sit still.
Then, from nowhere, a dragonfly fell from the sky, right in front of my feet. At that moment, it was so unexpected and unusual, that it felt like a sign, somehow. So I took a photo and decided I’d look into it one day. It took me over six months to heal enough from the trauma of the events of June 19th to make my Dragonfly, but our story - miraculously - had a happy ending. So perhaps the myths surrounding dragonflies have some truth?
The Dragonfly has many meanings, but it has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolises transformation, adaptability, and self-realisation. Apparently “the change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life”. Some Native Americans believe that the dragonfly embodies the stripping away of all the negativity that holds us back, helping us to achieve our goals and dreams - that anything is possible. As such, the dragonfly ultimately represents hope and infinite possibilities.
There are three iterations of my Dragonfly print.
The first two coloured prints are printed on Sunome Senaka, a fine 52gsm Japanese printmaking paper, and the final B&W one is on Khadi, an Indian handmade paper made from recycled cotton rags.
Both coloured ones are printed with the same turquoise ink, but with the first one I added some green around the edges as well.
As always, it’s hard to get an accurate photographic representation of the actual colours, but this is as close as I could manage.