Maggie Ayres

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(For previous newsletters click here)

Newsletter - June 2007

Welcome to the June edition of my newsletter.

Coming up this month:

  • Cocoons - why are they so fascinating?
  • See the creation of a cocoon on video using time-lapse photography
  • Download a free high-resolution print for your own wall


What's inside the Cocoon?

Cocoons have appeared several times in my work, both individually and embedded in artworks such as "Rushing" and "Hidden". In fact, for the Beginnings exhibition I created many for a single piece called "Forest" where they were placed in a box with driftwood and sea glass.


I have been asked many times what's the thing with these cocoons - what do they mean, why are they there and, sometimes, how do you make them?

For me, these textured forms, which I call cocoons, seem to be at the heart of what drives me to be creative. I think about the long life-journey that's led me to be an artist today and all those experiences, frustrations, dreams, fears and numerous detours seem to be encapsulated in the cocoon itself.

Sometimes I see them like little emotional storage vessels; each hurt embedded in winding layers of protection. We lay them away in our heads until, if possible, they can be sorted, unwrapped and dealt with.

I wind and wrap threads and cloth round and round to form the structure of the cocoon, using different textures and colours to make up several layers. I then melt them with a heat gun to produce a highly distressed effect and reveal the layers underneath. My cocoons may contain a single moment of painful memory or represent the amalgamation of a whole section of life that shapes behaviour for ever after.

Perhaps more powerful than the idea of emotional storage and protection within cocoons is the notion of dormant potential, new life waiting to burst forth, the emergence of revitalised energy. Sometimes this change comes slowly as we work away at unpeeling the layers that may have taken a lifetime to build up. Sometimes there is an unstoppable rushing force, tearing open, inevitably effecting even more change all around.

Detail from "Rushing"
Detail from "Rushing"

At the moment these are core ideas within my artwork. It is a very personal journey for me but one I hope you can identify with in your own way.


Creating a Cocoon

Especially for this newsletter I created a cocoon and took photos of it at every stage - from the wrapping of the layers to the distressing of the material by the heat gun. By overlaying the photos I've been able to create a time-lapse style video of the process.

The voice-over on this video is pretty much the same as the writing above, so if you don't have sound, don't worry.

Sit back, press play and enjoy.


Download a free high-resolution print for your own wall

Now you know a bit more about the process of creating a cocoon, if you would like a high-resolution image of a detail of this work for your own non-commercial use, then right-click on the image below and select Save Target As… You can then save the image on your computer and print it off on photographic paper at up to A4 size without losing any quality.

Be advised that the image is approximately 2.4MB big, so might take a little while to download
Right Click and select "Save Target As
				..." to download a high-resolution version of this image
If you run into any difficulties then please let me know.


Questions and Comments:

I would very much like to hear from you. Please email me with any questions about my artwork, or with ideas of things you'd like to see and read in future editions of this newsletter.

And finally, if you know of anyone who you think might be interested in receiving this newsletter, please point them to to sign up.

Wishing you all the best until next time,


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