Taking flight: Here’s what the Donna Louise Hospice Butterflies artwork will look like at Trentham Gardens this summer

An illustration of The Donna Louise Butterflies artwork has been unveiled.

Taking Flight, to be installed at Trentham Gardens, will feature 5,000 ceramic butterflies and each is on sale as part of an innovative campaign to raise funds for The Donna Louise Hospice for children and young people, in Staffordshire.

Each vibrant blue butterfly has been manufactured in the Stoke-on-Trent Potteries and offers a chance to support The Donna Louise and to own a little piece of the city’s history. Due to generous sponsorship from many businesses in Staffordshire and Cheshire, 100% of the money raised from sales will go directly to the hospice.

The butterflies are now on sale, please go on line to www.thebutterflies.org.uk, each purchase includes one free day admission pass to Trentham Gardens, to view “Taking Flight” from the 25 May to 3 November 2019.

They have been crafted by two major names in the ceramics industry, Wade Ceramics and Johnson Tiles.

Please see the artists’ notes, below. 


Taking Flight

Taking Flight encapsulates the story of butterflies breaking free from a cage – some taking flight and souring skywards, others pouring out in waves whilst some come to rest on the cage…catching their breath.

The butterfly symbolises not only the fragility, beauty and uniqueness of children with short lives, but also tells the story of resilience, endurance, transformation and hope that epitomises the progression of the hospice into services for young adults.

The symbol of the butterfly also encapsulates the heartbeat of Staffordshire’s industrial past and the re-emergence of industry in the region including the ceramics industry.

Taking Flight is about contrasts – contrasts of shape, form and material and how these interact with each other and with the surrounding environment. The installation takes a fragile, organic form – a butterfly – and moulds it out of clay from the earth, introduces the element of fire in the glazing process to create a ceramic butterfly with a sense of motion and fragility that contradicts the nature of the material from which it is formed.

The contrasts continue as the bright blue ceramic butterflies are cast against the hardness of the steel structure that forms the dome-shaped “cage”, and the introduction of further industrial materials such as polished metal and steel mesh is a nod to the region’s industrial heritage.

Taking Flight both embraces and contradicts the environment in which it is placed. The surrounding gardens seem the natural habitat for butterflies, and the polished metal butterflies welcome this environment into the installation by reflecting the colours of the gardens around it and the skies above it. So rather than being an assault on the environment, Taking Flight welcomes the surroundings to be a part of the piece making the ground, gardens, cage and sky all part of the story.


For media enquiries please contact Nigel Howle by telephone on 0776 2043436 or by email at [email protected].

Taking Flight artistic illustration rendered by Envisage Brand Experiences.

Photo credit: www.joewainwright.co.uk.

Notes to Editors:

Partners and sponsors for the project are giving their time, expertise, services and financing to bring the project to life. These include Tile Mountain, KMF Group, Gladman Developments,  Trentham Estate, PM Training, Patera Engineering, Johnson Tiles, Wade Ceramics, Valentine Clays, Advanced Packaging, Campbell Creative Consulting, Staffordshire University, Paul Williams, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, and Cultural Education Partnership, DPD, Red Industries, My Clever Group, QPS, Blakemans’, Rydale Roofing, Franklyn Financial Management, Holdcroft Heating, Mitten Clarke and Envisage. A marketing group, encompassing Inspired Film and Video, Miller and Co, Joanne Hine, Howle Communications, Strategi Solutions and Helen Cotton Photography, has come together to ensure the project is visible to as many people as possible, working closely with the marketing staff at The Donna Louise.