Sunday, 15 August 2010

You will love or hate this post.....

A few years ago I acquired this very old collection of butterflies and insects. Dating back to 1922. It has the most incredible, tiny little labels, written in weeny script, describing the insect and where it was found. (The family hate this).....As you can see it is decaying and I know that the butterflies wings will all go before much longer...I tried to clear a little of the dust and decay today, but only succeeded in destroying everything I touched, so I left well alone...



A couple of weeks ago, the present husband and I, visited Ardingley Antiques Fair, near Brighton and look what I found there. A collection of moths, housed in a purpose built case, just like the older one. The moths of very beautiful. (The family hate this even more!).
Unfortunately, this collection has no descriptive teeny tiny papers, but I appreciate the beauty all the same. Although I could never bring myself to actually make a collection of my own....I prefer the living variety.



I find them inspiring...
Thanks for stopping by. x

34 comments:

meplusmolly said...

Oh Viv! I am LOVING it all! I would much rather see the live ones too, but such inspiration indeed. Loved seeing what 'bits and pieces' you were creating ;0 x

jenny mccabe said...

loving your work with the butterflies and moths very beautiful drawings, Im doing a load of work with moths at the moment! your images are inspirational!I also own a few cases of old butterflies such a fascinating source for ideas.

check out my post on the Deyrolle fire! found over at Kate's blog - bluesky butterfly studio! fascinating story - http://jenny-yarn-soup.blogspot.com/2010/08/tragic-beauty.htmlxxxx

Linda said...

Well, I love it! What's to hate? But then I love just about any kind of collection!!!!!! And the addition of tiny paper with tiny writing and tiny pins.....oh mama!

Zuzu said...

I love these. I have saved photos in my 'Inspiration' folder of old butterfly & moth collections. So although your family may hate these, there are a few of us who think they are absolutely gorgeous! :)

Because I love these collections, I have tried several times to create a delicate paper butterfly - and my technique is improving!

Love your collage - well, I love all your creations as a matter of fact.

Happy day to you,
Zuzu

Gigibird said...

As it happens my uncle was a very influential butterfly collector (entomologist) and I can remember rows of mahogany cabinets and the smell of camphor –used to euthanatize and preserve
I had some…..but I’m not sure I didn’t ‘let them go’ when I moved.
I think it’s inevitable they will deteriorate if not kept in optimal conditions….

julie Haymaker thompson said...

Thou shalt not covet- yet I can not help myself!!!!!

A Blessed Life said...

Hi Viv,I really enjoyed your collection,I remember watching an old movie once and the study had drawers and drawers of butterfilies moths and beetles,to have the little labels etc is just lovely and although everyone prefers live ones we can still see the beauty in the life that was.It is going to be exciting watching your creativity come through thses.Carolexx

Tracy Evans said...

I love the beauty in the flesh but I can appreciate this collection and you can see so much detail. How they have inspired you too, your pieces are gorgeous. Tracy Evans x

Pom Pom said...

I had one of those huge moths visit my front door earlier this summer. Fascinating!

Cowboys and Custard said...

It is wonderful to see the creative processes you go through Viv..and your attention to detail.. which is always evident in your work.
My father was very fond of Entomology and collected cases of butterflies, rather like your own. I always found them things of great beauty though with a tinge of sadness.

Michele xx

*°* Milvi *°* said...

Hallo, I'm a your's frequent reader, congratulations for your beautiful blog!!!!
This that you show in the post is realy particular and interesting ...
As you say, also I prefer the living variety!!!!
Milvi

a mermaids purse said...

reminds me so much of being very little girl at one of my parents friends houses and reaching the end of their hall to find the most amazingly huge cabinet filled with massive moths and butterflies!- i was spell bound and stood there gazing at these precious creatures!.
i too prefer the flying ones than pinned to boards but saying that its amazing to see them so close and to get a real good look especially if your an artist...i remember loving those kind of displays at the natural history museum in london. Thanks for sharing!...;0)x

cardinal arts said...

everyone is going butterfly mad! I was going to tell you about jenny mccabe's blog about butterflies and moths, but see she herself beat me to it

your photos are really lovely - they are so beautiful and delicate

I recently bought a little illustrated book of butterflies to try and incorporate into my work....altho haven't started that process yet

something in the air?

x vInTaGe VioLeT x said...

argh just wrote a long reply and blogger ate it!
i love this kind of thing - when i was a little girl my favourite thing was to go to Haslemere museum because they had a huge display of moths butterflies and insects i seem to remember the cases had random stuffed hummingbirds in too - the grown ups would beg me to hurry up and finish looking!
i also have a fascination for taxidermy but maybe that's going a bit too far?!

Anna said...

Very beautiful!!!

yes its hard isnt it, like you i could never do it myself and prefer them very much alive but you have to admire the beauty and the chance to appreciate them so closely.
Thank you :)
x

whitney-anne said...

How beautiful, how strange, how creepy. I have a strange prediliction for victorian taxidermy which my family really hate too! Luckily I've never bought any!

found and sewn said...

I have always been interested in old moth and butterfly collections. Very inspiring. I love their faded wings.Your sketches look great.

faunhaert said...

perhaps if you softly poof the dust might come off?

but i'd recommend tweezers and a spray preservative..
like that used on water colour
from very faraway to mist lightly...
both sides if loose

I remember someone made a full length cape of cicada wings dipped in resin on the back cover of Threads magazine years ago

butterflies die on their own, they are ephemeral,
just because they're dead doesn't mean one shouldn't honor the poor things -tell family its poor stewardship to not hold them precious..

A Time to Dance said...

I think they are lovely viv... I really liked your sketches we are home now so feel free to send my bag can't wait to use it .. Love H

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings to you,

I happen to discover you by chance and find this post most interesting, especially since I used to be a serious insect collector back in the sixties and seventies. So I greatly admire this collection, even though it has undergone some damage and decay.

I no longer collect these last twenty years because I see that there has been a serious decline of habitat, as well as species dramatic decline.

Now I would rather watch them in the garden and when ever possible, I help raise a variety of species myself when finding eggs.

Do enjoy your antique collection without guilt.

Wishing you all the very best,
Egmont

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

I love what the butterflies and moths have inspired you to do, Viv - lovely loose artwork and the continuous stitching is great! Lesley x

Jackie said...

Its sad but they are beautifully preserved for a hwile more and for longer than their lives would have been. I used to look at the cabinets in our local museum for hours. I remember the 'Orange tip' it was never seen this far north in my childhood .

La Dolce Vita said...

awesome inspiration and great work! love these!!

silverpebble said...

I adore those little rows of butterfly doodles. Gorgeous

Cathy said...

Fascinating collection. Very sad they are deteriorating so much. They must be almost composed of dust by now. When I go to the Tring Natural History Museum they have huge cases with drawers and drawers of butterlies and moths from all over the world. I agree about the inspiration potential.

PICCALILY & BLOSSOM said...

Wow the moths are erm......interesting. Your work however is fabulous. Hope yor enjoying the time away from work.

Not sure whether you fancy popping over to Pic&Bloss for my lil giveaway.

Enjoy your week Sam x

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Well, chalk me up as one of the people who loves these, BUT, I could NEVER ever hurt a butterfly, moth, etc. But I do appreciate them and I do pick up dead ones and have them preserved in boxes too. They are beautiful creations and deserve to be studied and admired.

Sorry they are disintegrating. Dust to dust.

All joys to you,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

LOVE STITCHING RED said...

Lovely photos Viv. Also loved all of Jenny McCabe's moths... both of you are on the same wavelength :o)

Valerie said...

These butterflies and moths are so beautiful. Of course it's awful that someone killed them in order to collect them, hopefully that doesn't occur any more. But it's good that they still provide inspiration for artists and crafters.

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

I stumbled upon your darling blog and I must say, I'm glad I did ;-D
The moths/butterflies are kinda creepy and beautiful all at the same time.

But in looking at your work..WOW. Love your birdies, love Billie Button Nose and I will be back when I can spend more time (shhh..I'm at work!)

Anyway, so very glad to meet you :-)

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Oh and PS - I came by way of Zuzu! Love her blog too!

Heidi said...

I have always been facinated by those little butterfly shadow boxes...your ideas are as inspired as ever!
:)Heidi

blue sky butterfly studio said...

love these, i am jealous of your collection! Your drawings are beautiful. I found a couple of old butterflies at an old antique market, I manages to peel them off and stick them in a jam jar! I am always on the look out for more beauties.

Nomada said...

Hi there, I love you're blog. You're work is so stunning, I've been stopping in every once and a while for almost two years.

I do just have to say that your remarkable collection could be incredibly important, those labels full of information could be incredibly important for conservation purposes. I used to work in a museum and we've used data from old collections like that to look at changes in distributions of insects. Could be worth letting a local museum have a look at the information (don't worry, they won't be interested in taking you're bugs off you, they'll be more interested in copying the data off the labels!).