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Like spun glass the tracery of dragonfly wings enchants us as they dance among leaves and over water.

Artist | Martha Ellis

Martha Ellis designed and made the Dragonflies for The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Inspired by the work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein and contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, the giant dragonflies are designed to put a smile on your face and transport you to a magical world.

How do you feel about some of your art being included in the Christmas at the Botanics trail? I am super excited to have my work displayed in Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. My last set of Dragonflies which I made with my friend Luke Oldale have been displayed down in England and I haven’t gotten to see them yet. It will be lovely to be able to see them in the beautiful grounds of the Botanics and share it with friends and family. Since moving to Scotland in 2017, I often visit the Botanical Gardens so it’s a real honour to have some of my work there.

Do you have a brief potted history of your career to date? I have two parallel creative ways of working which don’t often overlap. My ‘everyday’ art practice involves using laser technology and traditional methods to create distinctive and bold ‘cut-out’ drawings which are either wall mounted or freestanding sculptures. My other (more hidden) talent is making willow light sculptures. Working with willow feels more like my ‘family trade’ as all my family have grown up making willow lanterns and my mum was a basket weaver. So, I was constantly surrounded by willow soaking and being used!

I grew up in a village called Marsden in West Yorkshire. The next village along, called Slaithwaite, has a large community arts festival where people made willow lanterns during the half term holiday then at the end of the week have a huge parade and celebration! I worked as a junior artist making light sculpture for Manchester Commonwealth Games closing Ceremony and have worked in theatres making willow and bamboo puppets and light sculptures.


Dragonflies by Martha Ellis 

Christmas at the Botanics

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