Flight of fancy

Two Otago Polytechnic lecturers have reproduced a design icon.

A pair of Otago Polytechnic lecturers have given wings to a project that mixes cultural history, artistic flourishes, design and pragmatic production nous.

Inspired by a series of iconic New Zealand postage stamps depicting New Zealand moths, Design lecturer Gavin O’Brien embarked on an applied design research project that has culminated in reproducing Enid Hunter’s 1970 design of a Tussock Butterfly.

He and Hannah Joynt, Lecturer in Art, Digital Media and Design at Otago Polytechnic, have produced a limited run of laser-cut wooden butterflies utilising a palette of Resene colours.

Supported by the copyright owners of the image, New Zealand Post, the project also aims to raise funds for Landcare Research’s Ahi Pepe/MothNet project. Ahi Pepe | MothNet is a citizen science project run by Landcare Research that aims to engage teachers, students and whānau with moths, and through moths with nature and science. MothNet and all project partners and participating schools and champions are working to find out how New Zealand's native moths are getting on, where they are, and how their distributions relate to the natural and changing environment across New Zealand.

Gavin reflects:

“As a young stamp collector in the 1960s and early ‘70s, I was always taken by the highly stylised design. We have produced a limited run of wooden moths to test the market. If successful, we might follow this up with a larger run, although that would depend on permission from NZ Post.”

March 2019