Sunday, January 24, 2010


Terry's suggestion of "the secret world of insects" left me with a bit of a void, but once I set aside some time for research, I was taken in with all the interesting info and images out there in bugland. I initially was interested in representing the leaf-cutter ant as they are frequently seen here in Mazatlan flying their ficus leaf flags, carried behind them as they single-file bob along our crumpled sidewalks. These leaves are probably 20 times their size, and perhaps are more like sails than flags. Regardless, seeing this lineup of leafcutters is quite a site! My granddaughter took this picture when she visited two years ago. She and I sat and watched them with wonder.
I was pondering what fabric I was going to use. Nothing was jumping out at me, and I also was having trouble thinking about putting a lineup of ants on a small 8.5"x11" piece....then adding the leaves of green. It was too crowded and busy for my likes, so I got back on the internet for some more searching. That's when a simple image of a scarab beetle caught my attention. I thought about all that foil I had in my "transfer papers" stash and I knew I was on to something. I had never conquered foiling. There were two ways that I learned to apply it - with glue or with iron-on transfer (like Steam a Seam Lite or the like).  The iron-on transfer was hit and miss for me...I always held my breath when I pulled the paper off as I was doing good size suns and moons. For the most part, it worked out, but I didn't like the lack of control I felt. I wasn't very successful with the glue because I never squirted out enough to get past the watery part in the bottle. This time I did...I got into the pure white glue, then carefully painted it onto the body of the beetle, let it dry, then rubbed on the foil. It was perfect.
scarab beetle 004
The scarab beetle is also known as a dung beetle, collecting large amounts of dung and rolling them long distances into a hole, where they will lay their eggs. This dung ball then becomes the perfect incubator and feeding system for those baby beetles.  The Egyptians immortalized the scarab beetle, often times burying its image along with the dead, as it represented everlasting life and rebirth. It was also associated with the sun god, Ra, who was thought to roll the sun across the sky by day and bury it by night, just like the scarab.
So I "cybered" my quilted piece off to my fellow journalers and Barb wrote back with more interesting info: scarab beetles have been used LIVE as brooches - tiny jewels may be  glued to their backs, and they are tethered to  clothing with a tiny gold chain, creating a brooch that moves! Apparently adult beetles do not feed, and last quite a while as pet/jewellery. She found live beetle brooches on YouTube at the Merida, Mexico market. They refer to these as MAQUECH. ..and since we will be traveling in that area next week, I am certainly going to be on the lookout for them (but not to buy).
I love the idea of a lowly creature, pushing poop around all day, being immortalized forever!

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