I worked on a large farm that grew flowers for a few years and every Spring and Summer I noticed alot of butterflies would fly in and check out the wares and then take off, only to be trapped and perish quickly in the intense heat. I would marvel at their beauty and tuck them safely away, usually after being yelled at to get back to work and to stop playing with butterflies, always thinking that there was something I could do with these precious wings that would do them justice and not let them go to waste. I started to teach myself glass cutting how to solder and over time and trials I found a way to preserve the wings and allow them to be enjoyed and handled and inspected closely with my jewelry.
After the word was out, friends and family would give me what they had found at gas stations, parking lots and porch lights and my collection really grew. I read once that during an average week in summer there are more butterflies killed by cars on American roads than the total taken by all the collectors in history. People are often appalled that I would make lasting, heirloom jewelry from butterflies without even realizing what is happening to their radiators while they are zipping here and there on a beautiful Summers day.
Usually after a mind numbing shift at my day job and after the kids are all in bed I will head down to the basement and peacefully work on jewelry. With a beer and some music softly playing I will carefully examine the wing I am working on, noting the slight fraying on the edges, will wonder in my minds eye where this particular butterfly has flown. What has it seen? Where has it been? What wild and untouched flowered meadows has it visited on it's journey to me? When I work on my butterfly and moth collages where I cut out the useable parts of an often unuseable flight-worn wing, I reflect on how wonderful it would be if we could all just cut away the bad and unwanted parts of ourselves and celebrate and marvel at the unique beauty that was right there all along. I finish up. Turn off the lights, check on my sleeping beauties and go to bed.
I hope you will enjoy the wings:)