Currently on view at Wade Wilson Art in Houston, Texas is this spectacular collection of glass butterflies by artist Michael Crowder titled Mariposa Mori. The artist forms the brittle insects using a technique called pâte de verre that involves the fusion of tiny glass particles. The final pieces are then displayed in wood cases with felt lining similar in form to traditional entomology display boxes. For other artworks Crowder has been known to use similar particulate substances like sugar, chocolate, marble dust or cigarette ashes. Via Wade Wilson:
The butterflies are made in a method called pâte de verre, which translates to “paste of glass.” Itself a 19th century French creation, pâte de verre is at its simplest melting glass particles together. The variation on this technique that I have developed is to use very small particles of glass roughly the size of grains of sugar and to heat them to a precisely controlled point where I can melt and fuse the particles together, but still allow them to retain an open crystalline surface texture. The effect is almost impossibly delicate and fragile looking, as a butterfly wing should be.