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This is my second attempt at beetle wing embroidery.

I learned a lot about goldwork, reading Tanja Berlin's website, and I bought some supplies from her. I also learned a lot about lighting this kind of photography, and I think the shots turned out much better. Ironically, the solution that worked best was a simple one - stood outdoors in slanting full sun, and positioned the piece so that it was covered by my shadow. For some of them, I used an additional reflecting card to get bounced soft light.

The stems are couched in the #13 Japanese Gold, and the doodles around the leaves are Kreinik #7 Japan Gold. There are two different colors of the beetle wings; the flowers are done in the "coppery red" variety, the leaves in the more typical kind. They are both mostly green, but the ones in the leaf tend more toward purple, while the ones in the flower can flash copper over their whole surfaces in just the right angle of light.

The leaves are detailed with #10 green glass seed beads, with silver insides.

The flower hips are made from the protonum, which is basically the bug's "shoulder" area. They have a very neat texture, little dimples all over.


( 51 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 26th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
I'm speechless.

Are you going to sell this?
Dec. 26th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
Not planning on it. It could be a possibility, although I'd have to figure out costs on it, etc... it goes relatively quickly, once I've figured out how to work it - because the gold lays in the surface, and the beetle wings cover so much fabric.
(no subject) - san_simeon_girl - Dec. 26th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - salhosmann - Oct. 9th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 26th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
that's quite lovely :)
Dec. 26th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC)
i just cant believe how fine and detailed your work is. boggles my mind really.. you have a lot of patience!
Dec. 26th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
I am always deeply impressed by your talents.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:11 am (UTC)
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
Stunning..is it just wrong that I can absolutely see this as a front overlay and sleeves for a costume?
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Nope! Not wrong at all. Very historical, in fact, for certain periods!

(no subject) - shadowduchess - Dec. 26th, 2006 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Dec. 26th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shadowduchess - Dec. 26th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - niamh_sage - Dec. 26th, 2006 09:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shadowduchess - Dec. 26th, 2006 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
absolutely b-e-a-yootiful!!
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Those are gorgeous.
Dec. 26th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
Amazing. I love the shoulder bits with thier texture.
Dec. 26th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Gorgeous, as always.

*is envious*
Dec. 26th, 2006 06:43 am (UTC)
That is awesome and gorgeous. Do you have any idea if the wings will hold up to any use, or are they strictly on the wall decor?
Dec. 26th, 2006 08:36 am (UTC)
Stop making me want to collect beetles, thank you ;)

Wow, just wow.
Dec. 26th, 2006 09:23 am (UTC)
Just stunning. Like others in your comments trail, I'd be interested to see these worked into an item of clothing. Have you tried them on a dark background too?
Dec. 26th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
Wow. I adore it. Wow.
Dec. 26th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
WOW. (I want to emphasize that this is NOT a criticism, but just a suggestion on new materials: when tiger beetle season starts in spring, you might want to try tiger beetle exoskeletons in your next set of embroidery. Due to a vagary of coloration in their shells, many tiger beetles look almost pixellated in their metallic sheens, and the wing cases might be even easier to use due to their strength. Just a suggestion, considering how common they are in North Dallas and how they already look as if they've been beaded as it is.)
Dec. 26th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
WOW!! Too amazing!
Dec. 26th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Scrumptious. As ever...
Dec. 27th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
That is some gorgeous work you have achieved.
Clothing becoming jewelry!
So beautiful and delicate
Dec. 28th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
I'm speechless. This is absolutely magnificent!
Jan. 3rd, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC)
You never cease to amaze me Michael. Not only is this unusual, but stunningly beautiful. I had never heard of this technique/material. Can't wait to see what you've got up your (embroidered) sleeve next.

Jan. 3rd, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Amazing

I haven't forgotten that you want a bunch of cocoons; once I get the crafts room un-piled from holiday crap, I'll count them out and get in touch.
Jan. 17th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
I am so pleased to be introduced to your site and have bookmarked it. Your work is stupendous.
I have owned Jane Nicholas beetle book for over 12 months and never been game enough to try doing even one beetle. I am now inspired enough to try. At least I have collected a few Christmas beetles.
Thank you.
Jan. 17th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Beetlework
Thanks! It's a fascinating book - I have to admit, though, that I just wanted the chapter on stitching with the actual wings, not so much the whole stumpwork beetle making part.

If you find yourself in need of some beetle bits, let me know! I bought a LOT of them (i.e. I started out with 3 batches of 200, and went back for 1000) and at that bulk, they came down to a pretty reasonable price. I have sold a few in bags of #50 for $10.
Re: Beetlework - (Anonymous) - Mar. 13th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Beetlework - oakenking - Mar. 13th, 2007 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Beetlework - (Anonymous) - Sep. 10th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 30th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
I am new to your journal (came here from spinningfiber), and i have to say that your work is stunning! i am just blown away.

If you don't mind my asking, how did you go about drilling the holes in the beetle wings? I have recently acquired a few, and want to use them in jewelry making, and i would love to not have to find out the too hard way. Thanks!
Mar. 30th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
I steamed them in a colander, and then pierced them with a sharp needle. Something like a pin vise to hold the needle is advisable.
(no subject) - moonrat42 - Mar. 30th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Mar. 30th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
beetle wings - (Anonymous) - Aug. 16th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: beetle wings - oakenking - Aug. 16th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 24th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Just found this, from a link from Mary's site
(what to do when waiting for the water heater to heat? Browse Mary's site - it's a habit.)


Now of course I have to search your blog for all other beetle-ish things/wings. *grin*

Thankyou for your help last night. It helped.
Mar. 24th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
Did you realise that you can see your reflection (with camera) in the second last photo? (the blue-ish one).
Just showing your work to a friend and he spotted it

Jul. 17th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
i found this post while i was googling for something else. i realize it's a year and a half old and you've probably gotten rid of your beetle wings by now but if you still have any to sell i'd be really interested in them!

i scrolled through a lot of your lj and i'm finding it really interesting so i'm going to add you. don't feel pressured to add me back if you don't want to. i'm from Houston so we might know some of the same people. i also work in the arts(theatre, opera lately) building wigs and doing makeup but i'm generally just crafty outside of that. i do post about work a lot when i've got something interesting going on but the rest of my lj is just boring stuff. :P
Jul. 17th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)

Yes, I still have a lot of the wings. They're so beautiful - photos just can't capture it.

I don't sell them as a business, but I'm happy to sell you #50 for $10 plus shipping. you can email me at wormspit@gmail.com

And yes, feel free to add me! Lately, it's mostly textiles, silkworms, etc...
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( 51 comments — Leave a comment )