Five years ago, Cassandra Bohne-Linnard, who worked in finance but painted as a hobby, composed an oil painting for her home of a large blue butterfly. Soon after, impressed friends and family members asked where they could buy one. The native Houstonian painted more butterflies, and soon, she became fascinated with the flying creatures. She bought butterfly books and planted a butterfly garden.
Now, through her business, Blue Butterfly Designs, Bohne-Linnard creates butterfly art full-time. Her custom art pieces, home decor, centerpieces, and clocks are crafted from real, rare preserved butterflies that died of natural causes, and they’re delighting homeowners across Houston. Bohne-Linnard works with clients on custom designs that complement their living spaces and stand out as unique art pieces.
“It was a hobby at first, but it became a passion,” she says. “I was drawn to butterflies for their pure beauty. I love the rare, exotic butterflies that bring beauty and awe to people.”
Bohne-Linnard’s early pieces were centerpieces of clusters of butterflies affixed to a base and topped with a glass dome. Customers buy her art as wedding gifts or to use as centerpieces at special events. She sources butterflies from across the world and preserves them in her home studio through a delicate, multi-step process.
Last year, Bohne-Linnard debuted her original butterfly clocks, and instantly they became a best seller. “The clocks are both functional and a work of art,” she says. “They took off.” She sells the pieces, which are patent-pending, to private clients and at Houston’s Chappell Jordan Clock Gallery.
Bohne-Linnard enjoys working with clients to design the perfect piece for their home. Clients send her photos of rooms and note pieces of furniture they want to coordinate with. She gets a feel for colors, then suggests hues and butterfly species. She also has plenty of butterfly books on hand clients can flip through for ideas.
“That’s part of what I love,” she says, “coming up with something that will wow customers.” She’s fascinated with why clients are drawn to butterflies. For some, she says, butterflies represent love, harmony, and peace. She’s made plenty of custom pieces representing a bride and a groom. For others, butterflies mean life after death and hope. “With each person, it’s deep, and it’s heartfelt,” Bohne-Linnard says.
Bohne-Linnard has learned that rare butterflies don’t come cheap. The most extraordinary can cost thousands of dollars for a single butterfly. Her favorite butterfly changes by the day, but currently, she’s captivated by a type of Morpho butterfly from South America that changes its color from blue to purple. “It’s just incredible,” she says.
At home in her studio, Bohne-Linnard keeps drawers full of butterflies that inspire new design ideas every day. “I always want to do something different, better, and more beautiful,” she says. “I just can’t stop creating.”