Faux Butterfly Display / Behind the Scenes

ArtKait Mauro1 Comment

I have been wanting a butterfly display for our wall for a while but couldn’t bring myself to buy one because I feared the butterflies in it would have been murdered (that’s some pretty bad juju to have in your home, no?)… so I decided to make one with paper butterflies. As an artist, having a good photo printer is such a blessing & it came in handy for this little nesting project.

Here were the steps of the making:

  1. Carefully select my butterfly images

  2. Print them on glossy photo paper

  3. Trim off as much of the excess paper as possible

  4. Fold the wings of the paper butterflies a bit to make them look more lifelike

  5. Pin them to the wall of the shadowbox

  6. Close up shadowbox

  7. Talk Edward into hanging it on the wall for me

Materials: printer, glossy photo paper, pins, shadowbox, scissors


Homo Sapien

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I am an animal on display

in an old fashioned zoo -

trapped & violent,




going slowly insane.

I entertain the guests.

I try to please them.

This does not come naturally to me.

I don a sweater, purple pants. I reach

for this & that. I rattle

the bars but the bars don't budge,

they tell me the bars won't budge,

so I decide to play dead.

Curiosity Says

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Pettiness says, “I’m jealous.”

Jealousy says “I’ve been made to feel other, unwanted, unwelcomed.”

Otherness says, “They wouldn’t have done this for you. They didn’t want you. They only tolerate you.”

Self-loathing says, “You really must be tolerated. You’re difficult to like.”

Broken trust says, “He broke the agreement.”

Love says, “He’s conflicted. Don’t make him choose.”

Fear says, “It’ll be just the same as it was.”

Fear says, “You’ll always be other.”

Wisdom says, “Maybe you can live with that - maybe it’s just a few you need to love.”

Fear says, “We’re coming up on next summer.”

Fear says, “There isn’t enough money left.”

Fear says, “We won’t be able to find a house as good as this one - you’ll lose your studio.”

The little girl says, “He’ll neglect you, abandon you, choose everything over you.”

Grief says, “You will always be lonely - there is no other path for you”

Curiosity says, “We’ll just see how things turn out.”

First Collage I've Made In Ages!

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Background image is one I took at Castlewood, one of my favorite places to go when I lived in Saint Louis, & is one of the original prints that hung in my first solo exhibition, “Eleven Images,” at La Mancha Coffeehouse in 2012. The cut outs applied over it are from a photograph I took when my aunt & uncle took me to Thanksgiving dinner with them when I was in college. I’m pleased with how it turned out. Can anyone think of a good title for it?

This Weekend

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This weekend was a bit rough emotionally. On Friday night we were driving home from dinner on Atlanta Highway & we saw a dog that had been hit by a car limping frantically on the side of the road. We pulled over & drove to an emergency vet but the dog passed away in the backseat of Edward’s car en route to the veterinarian. I don’t know if I’ve seen an animal die before, my memory is too lost to remember various childhood pets deaths & if I witnessed the moment the soul left the body or not. I felt strangely numb afterwards. I experienced some thoughts about how I probably deserved to die more than that poor dog, whose name tag said he was called Tuscan, did. I didn’t cry much - which made me feel uncomfortable about myself, wondering if I was heartless. I held Lena very close to my body under a blanket for a long time when we got home that evening.

A lot of the weekend was spent discussing some problems with Edward. Not a lot of progress was made, but it could have gone much worse than it did. Still, it feels shitty to spend so much time discussing an issue & reach no sense of resolution about it. We’ll get there though.

I finished a scarf I’d been knitting for Edward & he wore it when we went to the Montgomery Zoo on Sunday morning. I love the zoo, it’s so much fun. We had a great time. All couples have problem areas & we are still crazy about each other & going strong, just trying to figure out some of the acrobatics of being married still, even though our 2 year anniversary is coming up in December. I don’t think a person ever finishing learning & growing in a marriage though, learning new things about themselves & their partner & love & how to share a life with another person - new acrobatics.

Now it’s Tuesday morning and I am a zombie from getting too much sleep. Monday was a good day & I am optimistic that today will be too. I got a lot of creative work done with photographs (selects, edits, backing up & sharing) & my new camera bag arrived in the post! I shared a photo of my camera gear with my new bag on Instagram. I got a lot of life stuff done too - finalized my gear’s insurance policy, paid bills, made appointments. Adult-ing still feels strange to me somedays, but yesterday wasn’t one of those days. I’m still doing this 365 project - I’m on day 140-something (need to check that) and I am proud that I’m still going even if I occasionally miss a day or need to play catch-up - c’est la vie.

Grid Project

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I created a grid of memories on our bedroom wall. It was a more involved project than I thought it would be. I sat for hours by the photo printer in my studio making sure the photographs came out as they appeared on my laptop’s screen. I spent the better part of a day arranging them and hanging them, trying to make the best use of the little space I’d created. It’s a reminder of, if not our roots, the adventures we’ve had together & all the adventures we have still to come.

Air Plants Project

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I made a display of air plants on my studio wall. It took over 40 air plants to create the finished (for now) piece. It was something I’d been imaging doing for a while. And a cool thing about it is that I’ll have to regularly take the plants out to bathe them - so it will continually be changing as the plants are put back in differently & grow.

Having a fellow photographer as a friend is a goldmine.

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My wonderful friend, Jessica Colyer, took these photos of Edward & I on my birthday a few weeks back. I’d been wanting to do a little couples shoot with Edward but the idea of doing it myself with my tripod & remote felt intimidating. We did this little shoot in a vacant plot of land I’d noticed when we’d driven by it a week or so earlier because of it’s beautiful yellow flowers. I didn’t exactly remember where it was, so it turned into a bit of an adventure trying to find it again, but we did & the light was pure magic that afternoon.

"To Keep / To Make"

Art, Life, HealingKait Mauro1 Comment

To keep my body strong / possibly snake oil

To make up for not getting enough sun / help the others / possibly snake oil

To keep the panic at bay / It does the best it can.

To keep the depression at bay / It does the best it can.

To keep the panic at bay / It does the best it can.

To keep me from getting too depressed or too manic / an old friend

To keep the panic further at bay / It does the best it can.

To keep the panic at bay / to make slipping off into nightmares again easier

To make slipping off into nightmares again easier / to keep me from rising at 2:30am

"Tentative Vow"

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I am beginning to remember

the purpose I claimed

as my own long ago. 

Yesterday: a reminder of how alive

I feel when I am creating things

& what that entails - aiming

for eyes wide open, being

witnessed, an outstretched hand.

Mary Oliver tells me what I need to do:

“Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

"Not This Way, Not Like It Has Been"

Art, Life, HealingKait Mauro1 Comment

I’m getting back into writing poetry. This is my first in far more than a year I believe. Maybe that’s why it’s so much longer than mine have been in the past. I’ve remembered the power it once had to help me understand & cope & make sense of things & how I feel about them. I wrote this poem this morning - the emotions were strong this morning - thank goodness for three therapy appointments this week even though that sounds daunting & ridiculous & exhausting to me right now. I did the first draft of this poem on my computer, printing it again & again & editing it with grey black pen until I was out of printer paper. Then, when it felt finished enough (poems never feel entirely finished), I recorded this video of myself reading it, tripping over my words a bit, nervous to be in front of a filming camera, even my own. I’ve included the text of the poem here because poems are different things when they are heard than when they are read. I feel much more at peace now that I’ve written this & shared it. I need to remember this about myself: creating brings me back to myself, whether I am proud of what I make or not it is the closest thing to meaning & purpose I have right now. I must create everyday. Edward has his career &, right now at least, this is mine.

It's Surreal To Feel Heartbroken Surrounded By Party Decorations

Life, ArtKait Mauro2 Comments

The day before my actual birthday was wonderful - decorations were put up, some old & new friends came over, Edward cooked us delicious food, we had afternoon tea, we managed to find a field of yellow flowers I’d seen a few days before near Wetumpka, AL but couldn’t quite remember where & did a little photoshoot with fancy clothes there. The atmosphere was festive.

My actual birthday was not wonderful or festive.

27 got off to a very rough start.

I woke up as a 27 year old on Monday and only now on Thursday morning, am I beginning to feel any amount of hope or peace again. I feel a slight vibration in my blood, a bluesy hum, as I listen to “Free Yourself Up” by Lake Street Dive that maybe things are not 100% fucked. Maybe there is room to grow & change, Maybe I’ll be able to come up with some dreams for myself. Maybe things are only 75% fucked. Maybe this nearly constant crushing loneliness that is being married to a 3rd year medical student won’t last forever. Maybe I’ll find some ounce of passion within myself to feel again soon that won’t be in the form of anger. Maybe things are only 50% fucked. Maybe the new therapist will help things. Maybe it’ll all work out okay. Maybe this is being human. Maybe I’m not as good at it, as graceful about it, as I could be - but maybe this will be a year of, I don’t know, something like improving & growing in that way. Maybe 27 will be the year of learning how to be.

Where I Create

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I’m lucky enough to have my first designated artist studio room in our current rented house. I spend a lot of my time in there. Lena has a little dog bed near my desk & I’ll often drag Sam’s giant bed in there so we can all hang out while I am doing things on the floor or at my desk. Sometimes when I’m not feeling motivated to do artist work I’ll lay on Sam’s bed with him.