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Large Blue

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A large blue butterfly sculpted from needle felt into a curved vintage box, with wild thyme background 

The Reintroduction of the Large Blue – to truly understand the complexity of ecology

The Large Blue Butterfly was extinct in Britain for 30 years until its reintroduced in 2000 from Sweden.

The large blue caterpillar drops to the ground after hatching and tricks ants into taking it into their nest by secreting a seductive fluid and even "singing" to the ants so they believe it is a queen ant grub. In the comfort of the nest, the parasitic caterpillar devours ant grubs all winter, pupating and emerging from the ground as a butterfly in June.   The butterfly is only able to trick one species of ant, Myrmica sabuleti. If it entered the nests of other ant species, the caterpillar was likely to be attacked and killed.

The Myrmica sabuleti ant requires warm ground, only created by short, well-grazed grass, to survive. A near-imperceptible difference of just a centimetre in grass length could change the soil temperature by 2C-3C, causing the ant — and the large blue with it — to perish. The widespread decline in grazing sheep and cattle and myxomatosis, which decimated wild rabbits after the 1950s, caused traditional grassland to grow too tall and cool for ant and butterfly.


Now reintroduced to six other sites, the large blue has spread to a total of 28 colonies including the Polden Hills, Somerset; it can even be spotted from the train: some of its largest populations fly on railway embankments close to Castle Cary, Somerset, which are managed by Network Rail to encourage the butterfly.

I am a fibre artist working in rural Somerset and basically, I’m obsessed with beautiful British wool, it is my inspiration - it is at the heart of everything I do. Because of its fabulous eco-credentials and it’s diverse properties, I am able to sculpt with it or make it gossamer thin in order to make studies of the sea and passing moments, sketches in wool.

All of my work has an emphasis on the environment and sustainability.

In my small pieces, I needle felt into vintage containers; with these, I aim to create vignettes of the more elusive creatures of our countryside as seen in my recent exhibition, FIFTY BEES.

My larger pieces are concerned with the British coast. Using reclaimed materials, beach combed finds and combining them the wool, I aim to emphasise the legacy of man’s interaction upon the sea.

If you do fancy coming to say hello, this is where you’ll find me.

MARKETS Where you can find me over the next few months

Bath Artisan - October 8th, November 12th.



Salisbury Contemporary Craft - Friday 8 - Saturday 9 September 2017


Needlefelt Classes……

1) Needlefelt Reindeer sculpture on Saturday 4th November - suitable for beginners.  10am to 4pm - £60 per person.

Venue: For Every Cloud, Langport.

Contact Donna on 01458 251475 or email  foreverycloud@icloud.com

Bow Street, Langport, Somerset, TA10 9PR

2) Needlefelt Reindeer sculpture on Saturday 2nd December - suitable for beginners.  10am to 4pm - £60 per person.

Venue: For Every Cloud, Langport.

Contact Donna on 01458 251475 or email  foreverycloud@icloud.com

Bow Street, Langport, Somerset, TA10 9PR.


In the meantime, if you'd like to see the other work that I produce, you can find that at http://lydianeedle.com/ or you can contact me use the 'Email us' link below: