‘Momigami Map Brooch’ 2


Emma Whitehead’s body of work was inspired by the Map-winged Swift moth, Irish mythology/superstition and the Japanese technique Momigami. Within folklore, moths are viewed as messengers from the dead or symbols of death. Moths evolved before butterflies, and fossils suggest they might be 200 million years old. They also symbolise the soul. So, if you see one, it could be a soul returning with a message for you or simply a final farewell. Emma  invites you to contemplate these map moths of Ireland and should you be tempted to adopt one be kind to it; don’t over exercise it, allow it to enjoy the light now and again but don’t feed it as it doesn’t eat. Don’t forget to retrieve your message from the dead – your moth went to a lot of trouble bringing it.


The adult Map-winged Swift (Korscheltellus fusconebulosa) has short antennae, and no functioning mouthparts so cannot feed. The caterpillars can be found from July to the following May, overwintering twice underground as larvae so the life cycle takes two years to complete. They are locally distributed in most parts of mainland Britain, the Isle of Man and in Ireland. 


Mediums:  geological Map of Ireland, thread, repurposed beads and wire; mounted in a glass dome.


Artist Bio

Emma Whitehead is a self-taught textile artist specialising in traditional and innovative embroidery techniques. She is co-director of the artist led gallery Top Floor Art Gallery & Open Studios and runs the TFA Studio Group. In 2019 she received the IDA Award from the University of Atypical to research & develop new ways of working adapted to disability.

Her practice explores our journeys through the natural world. Emma is inspired by cartography, taxonomy and the transformation of the used, discarded and broken. Using found and recycled objects she reanimates them by constructing textiles that invite the viewer to imagine the journey we and our material possessions take.

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