Butterfly-wing art fascinates many with an eye for the beautiful. Originating in Africa, this unique art form has spread around the world in recent years. The most popular forms of butterfly art are framed pictures and jewelry. If you'd like to try butterfly art for yourself, there are a number of ways to acquire materials.
Purchasing Butterflies Online
Complete butterflies may be purchased online through websites such as Butterfly Utopia and The Butterfly Site. Here, you will find rare and exotic butterflies which would be extremely difficult to locate yourself. Each specimen is gorgeous and unique, and will be preserved upon purchase. However, purchasing whole, preserved butterflies can become costly.
Buying from Butterfly Farms
Butterflies die from natural causes daily at butterfly farms and butterfly gardens. Some of these facilities are willing to donate the specimens, which are often rare and exotic, to scientists and aspiring artists. Others require a fee for collecting the butterflies, although it may be lower than purchasing them elsewhere.
Another less expensive option is to purchase live butterflies. Each stage in a butterfly metamorphosis can create beautiful artwork with a bit of creativity. The butterflies will live approximately 30 days. At the end of the butterfly's life, the wings must be quickly and carefully preserved to prevent damage or bruising, ensuring the highest quality of art and material possible.
The most cost-efficient way to begin working with butterflies as an art material is to bring them to you. It is simple to attract local varieties of butterflies to your home or garden by planting a butterfly bush or hanging a hummingbird feeder. According to Mountain Valley Growers, planting a butterfly bush is one of the easiest ways to draw butterflies. The butterflies are attracted by the same nectar that draws hummingbirds. Observing the butterflies in nature may inspire your designs.
The most recently deceased butterflies will produce the most vibrant art. When the specimen is collected, the preserve it by placing it in a jar with a cotton ball soaked in carbolic acid. Screw the lid tightly and wait for about one week. When the preservation process is complete, the wings should be soft and flexible. Carefully spread the wings and cut them gently from the body with a razor or other sharp blade.
Ethics of Butterfly Art
Butterfly-wing art is a craft designed to celebrate the beauty of these living creatures. Artists do not kill butterflies or injure them; rather, they use butterflies which have died naturally. This requires patience but ensures that no butterflies will be harmed in the creation of your beautiful art.