moths

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Design

Piece Together Nature’s Tiny Wonders with Miniature Jigsaw Puzzles from Nervous System

April 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nervous System, shared with permission

The innovative team over at the Catskills-based studio Nervous System (previously) released a new line of miniature jigsaws that match organic shapes with similarly natural subject matter. All spanning less than eight inches, a spotted mushroom, mottled moth, fern, succulent, and blooming begonia comprise the collection that’s a small but challenging display of the planet’s tiny wonders. Each puzzle is encased in a plywood frame and has approximately 40-45 pieces with one whimsy cut in the shape of the larger form. Nervous System plans to add to the series in the coming months, and you can shop the puzzles shown here on its site.

 

 

 

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Art Craft

Vintage Tapestries Cloak the Wings of Larysa Bernhardt’s Plush Moths

January 23, 2022

Anna Marks

A photograph of a plush moth with a lady embroidered upon its wings

All images © Larysa Bernhardt, shared with permission

In a cozy studio overlooking a garden in Blackwell, Missouri, artist Larysa Bernhardt creates colorful moth sculptures with a needle and thread. Her fabric creatures are embroidered with old tapestries, often portraying historical people, animals, and delicate botanical forms on their wings: one specimen with a rusty orange abdomen depicts a little bird taking flight, while another is blue with a Medieval woman looking at a flower.

Able to stand on their own or hang from the wall, the handmade moths feature eyes made from Czech glass beads and bodies of cotton velvet and Belgian linen. Bernhardt also wires their wings, enabling people to shape them into their desired position.

The artist initially began by collecting vintage textiles, including silk tapestries and wool, and was interesting in analyzing and unraveling their histories, taking an interest in how creatures, such as moths, often inhabit such materials. “I have some very old wool and silk tapestries, and I’m still trying to unravel the stories behind them,” she tells Colossal. “Those will never be cut, they’re treasures, and I’m constantly checking for moth larvae…and just like that, moths entered the chat! What I love and what I fear melded into my work, in what I believe is a magical, albeit slightly menacing way.”

In addition to the material components, the moths are inspired by travel, television shows, books, and “even phrases someone drops in the grocery line to checkout,” Bernhardt says. “I will never tire of seeing how magically creative humans are,” Bernhardt explains.

Some of her works are on view now at New Orleans’ Mortal Machine Gallery, and you can view more of her work on Instagram and shop available pieces on Etsy. (via Supersonic Art)

 

Plush moth sculptures embroidered with tapestry wings by Larysa Bernhardt

Two lush moths with animals sewn upon their wings

A grey plush moth sculpture with embroidered moth wings

A photograph of two moth sculptures with people embroidered on their wings

A photograph of black moth sculpture with an eye-like shape sewn upon its wings

 

 



Art

Butterflies and Moths Flutter Through J.C. Fontanive’s Automated Flipbooks

December 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

Illustrations of the elegant atlas moth and paper kite and orange-barred sulphur butterflies fly through a new trio of analog animations by J.C. Fontanive. The Cleveland-born artist created a sleek flipbook machine while he was a student at the Royal College of Art back in 2004 and has since crafted myriad designs featuring birds and insects that fly around the small, metallic frame. His most recent works bring the 2D Lepidoptera to life as they burst into a flurry of quick movements, and the individual paper cards emit a subtle whirring, similar to that of fluttering wings. “Flipping pages make these handmade sculptures live in real sound and space. Creatures flit and flicker by to awaken the poetry of movement and inspire through nature and invention,” Fontanive says in a statement.

You can see the trio in action on Vimeo and shop available sculptures on the Flipbook Machine site. Follow the artist’s projects on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Spectacular Footage Records Seven Moths as They Take Flight in Stunningly Slow Motion

August 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

Almost a year after releasing his wildly popular footage of muppet-like insects, Dr. Adrian Smith is back with another montage in incredibly slow motion. This similarly spectacular follow-up—which is shot at 6,000 frames per second with a macro lens—documents the unique flight maneuvers of seven moth species as they slowly lift into the air. Capturing both graceful wing movements and ungainly leg flailing, Smith records rare glimpses of the yellow underbelly of the Virginian tiger moth, the spiky mohawk of the white-dotted prominent, and the beautiful wood-nymph’s habit of scattering microscopic scales all with extraordinary detail. For more close-ups of moths, beetles, and other insects, head to Smith’s YouTube. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Documentary Science

Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid

April 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

What insect has the ability to extend down into the nearly foot-long nectar tube of the ghost orchid? For generations, that question has interested researchers who’ve speculated that the giant sphinx moth, which has a proboscis that often exceeds 10 inches, was one of few species with a tubular tongue that could reach the sticky pollen nestled inside the endangered flower.

Shot during the course of three years, a short documentary by Grizzly Creek Films follows researchers committed to proving this hypothesis. It draws on Charles Darwin’s 160-year-old studies about orchids’ evolution, particularly in relation to one species in Madagascar about which he famously said, “Good heavens. What insect could suck it?” In  “Chasing Ghosts,” the team wades into the buggy swamplands of south Florida alongside snakes and alligators to reach a grove of cypress trees, where the white flowers wrap themselves high among the boughs. There they installed cameras to capture the first-ever photograph of the giant sphinx moth probing the ghost orchid.

In total, the mission logged 6,800 camera hours and 52,173 images taken in both Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and Fakahatchee Strand and recorded five species capable of pollinating the delicate plant. Surprisingly, the same event that they sought to capture—the giant sphinx moth with its proboscis reaching into the elusive flower—actually debunked researchers’ long-held hypothesis and set them on a new course of study to determine how this plant continues to reproduce.

Watch the full documentary above, and find more of the Montana-based studio’s adventures into Yellowstone and the rugged landscapes of the southern United States on the Grizzly Creek Films’ site and Vimeo. You also can follow its discoveries on Instagram.

 

A giant sphinx moth near a ghost orchid

Peter Houlihan holding the giant sphinx moth

 

 



Animation Illustration

Fluttering Moths Radiate Whimsy in Twinkling Gifs by Vlad Stankovic

January 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All gifs © Vlad Stankovic

Sydney-based illustrator and graphic designer Vlad Stankovic (previously) has a gift for crafting playful animated scenes. His recent “Piccalilli Moths” project—which was commissioned by Preen, a Los Angeles-based design and architecture firm, for a Culver City restaurant—features sparkly moths that are surrounded by insects and beetles with fluttering wings, twinkling mushrooms, and muted plants that sprout in the background. Created with watercolors and colored pencil before being transferred to Photoshop, the whimsical gifs “were printed using lenticular printing, a technique where the image gives an illusion of depth and movement when viewed from different angles,” the artist said in a statement about the project. Check out Etsy or Society6 to purchase some of Stankovic’s similarly charming illustrations and prints.

 

 

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