In a quiet studio overlooking her garden, Larysa Bernhardt is creating magic with a needle and thread. She is a textile artist from Blackwell, Missouri and is known for her moth sculptures. Each piece is meticulously hand sewn with fabrics sourced from all over the world. Larysa has a hand in every aspect of creation, going so far as dying some her velvet fabrics with flowers grown in her garden.
“Wanderlust of the Mind”
Her solo show at Haven Gallery, “Wanderlust of the Mind”, will feature these mystical moth creatures. The show opens on May 2nd and will run through May 31st, 2020.
“Wanderlust of the Mind” comes at the perfect time to lift all of our spirits. While we are all practicing social distancing and quarantining at home, Larysa’s new body of work encourages us to travel with our minds. Larysa has sewn fabrics from Pakistan, Belgium and England into their own narratives. Our minds will travel to a Flemish fishing market, the Egyptian dessert, an English foxhunt, and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The broad wings of each moth will be filled with unique scenes found on the tapestries. Larysa only utilizes the fabrics that she falls in love with and especially, “the ones with stories to tell”.
It’s a collection of memories of a wanderer, a globe trotter, more beautiful as they fade and become distant. Places as they were, not necessarily as they are. Traditions long gone. Metamorphosis of a culture. Memory as a butterfly.
Moths take center stage in Larysa Bernhardt’s world. However, she has created many other creatures in the past. Fish, seahorses and birds are just a few examples. However, she finds herself drawn to the moth time and time again. “Moths and butterflies offer the perfect combination of nostalgic fragility and mysterious transformation.” Larysa explains, the moth symbolizes change and metamorphosis, while offering “plenty of real estate on their wings to tell whatever crazy story is on my mind”.
They are last thing I see before I go to bed. As I am getting ready for bed, light from the bathroom attracts hundreds of moths to my window. They’re so delicate, and every one is different. I study them through the glass; they shed golden dust off their wings. And then I go to bed and I wake up slightly different than the night before. Metamorphosis.
Night Dwellers and Storytellers
In addition to offering symbolic meaning, moths offer an expansive wing span. Consequently, they are adorned with hand painted imagery, embroidery, appliqué and beading. These details add to the overall narrative, and provide their own unique symbolism.
My creations are night dwellers and storytellers. I imagine them flying through the night looking for open windows. When they find one, they fly in and perch themselves on the headboard of a sleeping person and tell them stories. Love stories, sad stories of loss, stories of wisdom gained through experience. Memories of distant places, traditions long gone. Childhood memories. Memories of long life well lived.
One example of her most loved creations is titled, “The Story of Sun and Moon”. “This theme is recurring in my work. The story of two lovers that couldn’t be together – and couldn’t be apart.” The tales Larysa crafts have equal importance to the aesthetic of each sculpture.
Larysa Bernhardt’s creations are meant to be apart of your world and your home. Let them live on your bookshelves and dance on your walls. Their transcendent powers will soon take hold of your imagination as you travel to new places!
Art is a thought materialized. Whatever you need, whatever is missing from your life… you can create it. Want a little magic in your life? Nothing to it, as Willy Wonka would say.