Preparations for The Butterfly Ball

I’m already feeling excited about going to John Caudwell’s Butterfly Ball event this coming Friday 26th November. The project I created on 20 individual canvases is something I started back in early summer 2020 and I wanted to donate it to the Caudwell Children’s Charity that helps disabled children across the UK.  With the addition of this set of recycled mobile phone art, the 20 pieces has become a project of 21 to help celebrate the 21st anniversary of the charity this year! 

I produce textured surfaces from foil, gold strands and cut out pieces of magazines from the Caudwell Children’s Charity.
I have strong environmental views and am a COP26 One Step Greener ambassador.
The first eleven canvases forming the Cherry Tree In Blossom.
Working in a Surrealist style.
Cutting pieces from previous Caudwell catalogues.
Making Trudi into striking images of butterflies!

This collage I created of Butterflies also captures people’s attention.
Side branches showing foil squirrel.
Natural encaustic wax adds a shine to the woodpecker collage.
A huge canvas full of fabric branches and blossom.
My work on each canvas has taken me through the seasons.
The detailed collage for John Caudwell’s profiles was very time consuming. They are made from recycled magazine cuttings about him and transparent fabric.

Here is a recent report from The Bradford T & A showing a photograph of me below with Mark Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Caudwell International Children’s Centre, Keele Science & Innovation Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire. I delivered all the artwork to the Centre in August and I’m delighted that some of the pieces are being taken to London for display at the Butterfly Ball event. My artwork will be sold at auction to raise funds for the charity and all 20 pieces will be shown on a huge screen in the auction room.

Artist James Owen Thomas donates works to Caudwell Children

By Helen Mead HelenMead TandA Features Writer 23rd November 2021

Handing over my artwork to Mark Smith of Caudwell Children.

UNUSUAL works of art by a Bradford student are to be auctioned at a star-studded event in London for a charity close to his heart.

Collages by James Owen Thomas – who has made a name for himself through creating artwork from discarded scratchcards – are to come under the hammer at the Butterfly Ball on November 26, an annual event held by Caudwell Children, a charity which transforms the lives of disabled children across the UK.  When James, who has autism, was five he attended one of the charity’s events in Brighton, partly inspiring him to pursue his passion for nature and art.

The former student of Bradford School of Art is donating a major project he worked on in collaboration with the Staffordshire-based charity, to mark its 20-year history.

To create the mosaic canvases – which together make up a giant measuring 2.5m by 1.6m – he used items connected with the charity, which they no longer use – old brochures, baseball caps, T-shirts and fabric bags. The Charity’s butterfly theme also features in one of his collages, which each contain a penny coin bearing the year of issue to represent fundraising.

The works will be auctioned, and, hopefully, donated back by the buyer to enable to piece to hang in the Caudwell Children base in Newcastle-under Lyme.

“It is an ambitious work-of-art made up of 20 individual canvases that form an overall picture when displayed together. It reflects the 20-year history of the charity,” said James. “The whole piece took hundreds of hours to create and involved cutting up materials provided by the charity and turning them into mosaic pieces. Some pieces also include recycled scratch cards as this is one of the materials that I have regularly used in all my artworks over the years.

“We hope it will raise funds for the charity at their prestigious Butterfly Ball event in London. I first became involved with the charity back in 2006 and so wanted to give something back to one of the charity’s that has supported me in my life.”

James’s interest in the use of recycled materials began after he noticing how people would discarding their unsuccessful scratch-cards without a care for the environment.

He found a creative way to re-use them by sorting, tearing, cutting and separating patterns and symbols to develop his unique artwork.

Since 2000, Caudwell Children – founded by British businessman John Caudwell – has supported more than 50,000 children with 653 different conditions. The Butterfly Ball – which is attended by VIPs including celebrities and top business people – has over the years raised more than £15million to help disabled children and their families.

Mark Smith, director of marketing and communications at Caudwell Children, said: “The standard and quality of James’ work has surpassed all our expectations. When you see the textures it really is incredible. We sent James a box full of materials from our history. He hole-punched our brochures and every bit is individually glued to form a mosaic. We are thrilled and amazed by what he has achieved.”

Leading artists from across the world are also donating work, and it is hoped that James will meet some of them on the night.

This year James has also collaged two views of a tree onto broken mobile phones. “These images were enlarged to cover two more canvases and I would like to be able to give John Caudwell and Trudi Beswick the two original mobile phones. The mobiles are completely broken and all the recyclable components have been removed.”

Further information about this project is given on this video clip:

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