Hello and Welcome to my new art webpage! My name is Katie and I have a small business called "Insect Art" in Lawrence, KS. I make framed art out of real, dried insects. I use everything from butterflies to beetles to dragonflies, and the aim of this page is to share my art with you. I began as a simple etsy.com site (www.aquakej.etsy.com), and after eight months there, I felt the need to upgrade. Etsy.com continues to be my store site; it's the place where nice people like you can buy my art. This new, main webpage's goal is to expand on that and to share other art-related updates and photos that can't be incorporated into my store.
So, without further adieu, please sit back, relax, and learn how I came to be an insect artist!
I’ve been fascinated with bugs ever since I can remember. My mom read lots of science books to me, and I was out collecting cocoons and caterpillars as soon as I was able. I had several “bug boxes” full of captives, and I spent many hours reading bug field-guides. I used many of the insects I found outside to make my own “closet museum”, which included everything from bird eggs to fossils.
When I grew up, I took a class at KU called “The Biology of Spiders”. That class rejuvenated my scientific inclinations. It taught me how to professionally collect and display spiders, and I became very interested in making my own “grown-up version” of the closet museum I had as a kid.
It's easy to buy a butterfly mounted on white paper, but I wanted something more, something unique that would be suitable to display outside of a stuffy museum. In other words, I wanted an insect display that was also a piece of art. Thus, the concept of Insect Art was born. I found someone who would sell me dead bugs, and went to work making a few pieces for myself. After I had handled a few butterflies, I decided to move onto insects that you wouldn't find in your usual nature shop. After all, who doesn't have a Blue Morpho these days? It’s much more fun to impress your friends with jewel beetles and cicadas that are as beautiful as any butterfly. It’s my goal now to make pieces of art that are unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
On a personal note, I feel like, in my own small way, I am carrying on the message of my hero, Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter). His mission was to help the world understand and love creatures that aren't cute or fuzzy. Bugs don't usually fall into either of those categories, but they are beautiful nonetheless, and worth saving. Besides teaching the public to appreciate Nature, the dried insect trade is eco-friendly. Insects are part of a sustainable crop in third-world countries, where people farm or catch them. This trade is much preferable to mining or logging, and gives the people a motivation to preserve natural habitat.
I am fascinated by insects and their diversity. There really is something for everyone! I always get a kick out of seeing people's reactions when they find out the bugs I use are real. Some people don't like "bugs", but they say my pieces are beautiful, regardless. That makes my work worthwhile in the end.