Kathleen Griffin’s Butterflies of Memory

Favorites / News


When my friend Mary* told me about her sister’s latest sculpture project I couldn’t believe my ears.  Giant golden butterflies flying away with an abandoned hospital? On an Island?!  It sounds like it’s straight out of a fairytale, creepy and imaginative mixed with a pinch of Roald Dahl.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing about Kathleen Griffin‘s art which is often about candy, horses, butterflies and grasshoppers. There is something fantastical and childlike about her work. It amazes me that someone from our small town has figured out to way to actually do things! Often I find that sculpture is beyond my brain power. I can understand a piece of paper and putting something on it, but how does she make these things become real, 3D objects? How is she going to make enormous gold leaf butterflies that will appear to fly away with the Smallpox Hospital on Roosevelt Island? This project is a massive undertaking, already three years in the making. It requires science, teams of people, a decrepit hospital, an island, people doing yoga (Mary is offering Bikrim yoga classes at the site to help raise money), the City of New York,  and most importantly, the creative mind and gumption of Kathleen Griffin. I absolutely cannot wait to see this thing happen. Please check it out here:

full kickstarter page here:


To give you a sense of her work in general, I’m sharing some of my favorite pieces she created below. Clearly the idea of butterflies stealing away with things has long been in Kathleen’s mind.

RED BUTTERFLY - pencil and marker

RED BUTTERFLY – pencil and marker

Bathing in a whole new light:

They Carry the River on Their Backs - cast iron horse tubs

They Carry the River on Their Backs – cast iron horse tubs

This makes me think of a giant candy bar. I never thought I would actually want to eat a dresser.

You fill me with meaning-Dresser filled with 300 pounds of caramel and broken in half.

You fill me with meaning
Dresser filled with 300 pounds of caramel and broken in half.

You can find Kathleen here and @Memoryflies. And the Kickstarter!

*Mary fun fact: we were born one day apart in the same hospital! Here is a painting of Mary (when she used to look like Shirley Temple) by Kathleen:

Ride of the Blue Marys - oil on board

Ride of the Blue Marys – oil on board

The Author