Etsy artist Katie VanBlaricum’s pieces she sells to clients combine nature, realism and whimsical beauty. She takes real, rehydrated insects and crafts an assortment of jewelry from them.
Katie calls her business Insect Art and works out of her home workshop in Topeka, Kan. Bugs have always piqued her interest and she tapped into that, along with her creative side, to craft the jewelry that has drawn a solid following of customers and fans.
“I have always been interested in insects and wildlife. My ‘Insect Art’ business has been around for nearly 14 years now, and I make my living buying and selling insect specimens for art and science. They always come from sustainably farmed sources.”
Each piece looks stunning and alive. One single item “takes several days, and each end result is unique.”
Katie said she took entomology classes in college as she worked her way toward an anthropology degree in the hopes of satisfying her draw toward insects. But her interest in what some consider to be pests has grown exponentially from then and converted into a full-fledged business.
“Any shape or color or behavior you can dream up, there’s an insect for that! I am very much inspired by people like Steve Irwin whose passion it was to make the world love the underappreciated animals. Lots of people think they don’t like bugs, but once they come to know and understand them, most people can find something to love about insects. I have volunteered for wildlife rehab for over 10 years, and I’m a docent at our local zoo, so helping animals and helping people understand animals is a long term passion of mine.”
While perfecting her jewelry-making talent, Katie gradually learned how to help monarch butterflies along the way. Her hidden skill wasn’t well known, but eventually, word spread and the local zoo asked for her help one day.
A poor butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis deformed needed Katie’s steady hand to help it fly again. So she tried a wing transplant.
It’s a meticulous process that requires patience, a keen eye and extreme dexterity. Thankfully, Katie has been successful with each live butterfly case she’s received so far.
“It is not difficult for me to repair the wings since I work with dead insects for a living. It takes me less than five minutes to do the repair. You have to work fast, to avoid stressing the butterfly out any more than necessary.”
On her Facebook page, Katie shared with followers that post-surgery, the butterfly floundered a bit but was beginning to enjoy nectar and build up its much-needed strength. She hoped to set it free very soon.
“He can fly a bit, but not as much as I’d like to see. Perhaps he just needs to get his strength up. Here he is, eating. You can see the proboscis collecting nectar from this sponge. His proboscis is like a straw. Fun fact: Monarchs taste with their feet!”
After some storms passed and the butterfly grew even stronger, Katie escorted it outside and waited to see if the glorious butterfly was strong enough to take flight.
“Butterfly update: the repaired Monarch got away from me today! Flew up high in an oak tree, so he’s off. Godspeed! I had been taking him to some flower gardens outside, to see what he could do. Until now, I had always re-captured him and brought him back home.”
It’s amazing to see how this poor butterfly that had no healthy future suddenly is fitted with an artificial wing and take flight. See for yourself in the video below. It’s incredible!
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Butterfly update: the repaired Monarch got away from me today! Flew up high in an oak tree, so he’s off. Godspeed! (I had been taking him to some flower gardens outside, to see what he could do. Until now, I had always re-captured him and brought him back home.)
Posted by Insect Art on Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Source: Bored Panda