Moths on the Moon

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, before humans attempted to rule the earth, before a human was even born in fact, back in the time when the earth was made of blue butterflies, there was a very beautiful blue butterfly Queen, her name was Arion. Her particular skills were sky dancing, and she was admired by all the other butterflies for her grace and her ability to leave a  trail of beautiful patterns in the sky as she danced.  Now it came to pass that her best friend gave birth to another blue butterfly who grew up very strong and  beautiful , graceful and clever. Her name was Asthena. So clever was Asthena she was able to not only imitate Queen Arion and her wonderful dances in the sky, but she was able to turn the trail of patterns into little golden balls of dust. All the other butterflies admired her so much and asked her to dance for them every day. This made Queen Arion jealous and she began to turn green with envy, and one day in a fit of rage and mad fluttering she turned Asthena  white and banished her from the earth. Disagreeing with Queen Arion’s actions, many of the other blue butterflies on earth became agitated and began an uprising, but Queen Arion was having none of it and she turned them all white and banished them all from the earth.
Meanwhile Asthena flew in the dark away from the  blue earth below and became afraid, but when she turned to see her beautiful blue earth one more time she saw lots of white butterflies coming towards her. Together they flew on in the darkness until they became tired and there they formed a new world, we call it the moon.
Back on earth Queen Arion became sorry for what she had done, so she allowed the white butterflies to visit the earth at night, (in that way she wouldn’t have to see them and feel even worse for what she had done) she also gave them a new name – moths. However not being able to see very well the moths rarely visited earth at night, that was until humans invented artificial light …

Part 1 - Full Moon

Part 1 – Full Moon


Moths - Crescent Moon fb

Part 2 – Crescent Moon


Part 3 - New Moon

Part 3 – New Moon

Click the pictures for more details!

Story and art work © Kate Rattray



Flying through the Dark into the Light

In 2009 I was taken out of my comfort zone when making a mosaic for the Heavens above  exhibition at the Opus Gallery in Exeter. I am used to working with  warm bright  colours and golds, but I decided to make a night sky mosaic using a lot of black.

The swan wasn’t so bad – I chose an iridescent  black glass tile that was quite mesmerizing as blue and silver notes played off the surface. I used silver leaf glass mosaic tile for the stars and they added to the feeling of heavenliness.

But then came the background sky. As I cut the matt black ceramic squares into lengths and laid them in loose rhythmic lines, I began on a journey , a cheerless journey, one  I had get into to get out of.

As I built up the walls of darkness around my field of vision, I became engulfed in a claustrophobic chasm. Without light it seemed there was no space, I felt breathless, cutting the tile faster and faster, in a desperate bid to finish the piece and feel less of this uncomfortable place. Occasionally there was a little breath from this relentless condition, when I looked at the mosaic as a whole and saw the swan flying down in sparks of little lights. But when I returned to laying the black matt, I was back in the dark again.  My heart racing now, I stayed up late to finish, hunger forgotten, thirst no need to quench. I was beating my wings against the blackness, trying to fly through the a sky as if it were made of syrup.

At last, finished,  I could breathe again, I gulped down the air like water after a long flight.


I have just finished a piece called “Forest Light”. It is for the “Year of the Forest” exhibition at the Opus Gallery, Exeter which will be held from 2 May -30 July 2011

Although I started with the same black matt ceramic in the trees that I used in the sky of Cygnus, I made the mosaic a lot faster which gave me less time to feel that strange claustrophobia, although I think if there were more trees I would have started down the slippery slope! I also knew I would be making a light sky of silver and gold, so I had something to look forward to and it would counteract the  heavy presence of the trees. When I use  gold leaf I feel  elated and light. I use several different tones of gold, ranging from a silver gold which is more silver than gold but has a warmth to it to a deep rich copper gold. Throughout the range I use a bright gold that is more reflective than the others  and  a yellow brassy gold. I find that I feel different with each tone. The  silver golds appear to let in more light,  they are cool and fresh like pale spring morning skies, and I feel as if I am flying in the clear fresh air. As the tones become more orange I become warmer,  immersed in a golden light, flying becomes very comfortable, too comfortable, so I  run the risk of falling into a deep slumber …..

Just as well I finished in time!

Forest Light