Wednesday, August 30, 2006

collection collective: my life...

i just wanted
to thank you
all for your
sweet comments.
it's so
wonderful to hear
that you all
are inspired
by the same things!
you look
at something
and love it
and wonder
if it's just you...
thank you.
you all
my inspiration.

the photo
was taken
in 1979.
i don't
remember it
but that's me.
i look
at it and
think how
life can be.
i have spent
the last
5 years
with a
butterfly net.

once upon
a time
i planned
on pursuing
a career
in the arts
but i think
i didn't believe
in myself
enough then...
i was
the youngest
in my family
and my brothers
and sister
were so talented
i never felt
i was
a good enough
to them.
maybe if i had
a true artist
it wouldn't
have mattered.

but my other
great love was
in particular...
i first fell
in love
with insects
when i was
the art path.
i became
the amazing

the official
end of
my summer
my collecting
(so i can focus
on studying)
i thought
i'd share
with you
my favorite
which are now
a big part
my life...
so maybe you
can see
why it's so easy
for an artist
to fall in love
with insects.

most of you
think of
a caterpillar
and think
of this...
but when
i think
of caterpillars
i think of
some of
my favorites-
i put hearts
on the cups
to denote
my favorites
in the lab:

so here is
a collection collective
of a few
of the
i have collected:

the saddleback,
Acharia stimulea.
i still can't
really believe
a caterpillar.
they look like
they sting
like hell
if you touch
the spines.
we make
[not really]
our interns
touch them-
it's like
caterpillar hazing.
the flannel
Megalopyge crispata.

a new favorite
of mine.

they look
like this
when they
are little:

hard to
they are
the same
the io moth
Automeris io

can also
sting a bit.
i like how
they curl up
in little
fuzzy balls:

american dagger moth,
Acronicta americana.

the unicorn
Schizura unicornis.
even caterpillars
can have
a unicorn!

and this
little guy
can have
a bad hair day:


so these
are just
a few
of my
quite large
of caterpillars.
i hope you
the little tour!

check out
more collections


Jenna said...

Wow, I never knew caterpillars could be so colorful, hairy and multi-faceted. I can definitely see why you would put hearts on these ones!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! that is amazing!! i love the one on the top. looks like you dressed him in a green jacket. what a fantastic life you have. art and science all mixed together. i just admire you so much!

Anonymous said...

I never knew before that such caterpillars existed. They really look like creatures from under the ocean. Are they mostly moth caterpillars? Your world is very inspiring, thank you so much for sharing it. Anyone who appreciates the deep beauty of insects is definitely an artist.

bugheart said...

you all
so sweet!

the one
to admire!

yes, they
forest moth

Anonymous said...

One more thing. Where do you find your caterpillars?

Anonymous said...

Gwen, you are still an artist - its whats inside...
These little beauties are amazing!! I have always liked catterpillars but have never seen anything like these.
My favourites are the flannel one and the io!! Beautiful - thank you for showing us :)

Unknown said...

wow, i am completely amazed at these photographs. no wonder you love it! beautiful. thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us!

bugheart said...

i am so excited
that you all
think they
are cool too!!!
i collect them
off of
5 different trees
all over eastern
maryland (USA).

Funky Finds said...

wow gwen! this is fascinating. who knew caterpillars could be so diverse & intriguing? i love the saddleback the most! truly a work of art in its own right.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap!! Those little guys are freaking amazing looking! I can't believe you just find them lounging about in trees; if I bumped into the Acharia stimulea I would probably run away screaming, then whomever I described what I saw would think I was crazy and making up stories. Shocking that they exist and amazing that you live with them. :)

Have you seen that BBC drama, "My Family and Other Animals"?
The young naturalist reminds me a bit of you.


Anonymous said...

I had a good laugh about the one with the bad hair day! I love how your passion and sense of humour can show us the creative side of what could be stuffy in the hands of another scientist (entimologist?)

Anonymous said...

Wow, those are amazing! they are all soo cool. the saddle back looks like he has a green blanket on and it's hard to tell if he's coming or going with the 2 sets of antennas. thanks for sharing with us!

hannah said...

introducing myself to say this is my favorite post yet! i love the intersection of art and science in your life. oh and best damn caterpillar collection i've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

What a cool post gwen! I loved seeing all these unusual little bugs. I was a child who loved to touch bugs as well, therefore I got stung, bit & pinched alot! lol.

I think my fav is the baby flannel caterpillar! It looks like a little dust bunny ;)


Anonymous said...

A beautiful post.
It is both self-reflective and a great perspective on "collections". I agree collections needn't be things, trinkets, etc. gathering dust in box, but can be living things that touch on and reflect a self. Art and science...thats you in a little 'pill.

Anonymous said...

these are beautiful gwen- thanks for making me really look at caterpillars

. said...

Truly amazing! Every single one of them. Great photos too. The flannel caterpillar is my favourite - it looks like a puff of cloud as a baby 'pillar... very very cute!


strangely interesting and most wonderful. are some harder to find than others? i would love to see a before and after photo.


Anonymous said...

wow, what an amazing world of caterpillars you showed us! they are works of art! you talk about them with such care and respect (and wit) it makes them less foreign to me. that first one is a hoot- looks like 2 scottie dogs rump to rump wearing a lime green marzipan coat! and the dust bunnie-wildly funny! you have merged the worlds of art and science wonderfully well.thank you so much for sharing you i want to look more closely at my trees!

Austen said...

Every once in awhile I happen upon something that gives me a glimpse into a completely different world than the one I inhabit (newsprint, mostly!), and one of the side-effects is a new set of lenses for looking at the world...your caterpillars did that for me! They're completely beyond my ken, but they're just fascinating. It's midnight, but all I really want to do is go look closely at tree trunks and leaves to see if I can find any of their caterpillar cousins around here. Thanks for sharing your awesome photos (and I'm never going to be upset about a bad hair day again!).

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us! The caterpillars are amazing, beautiful, and also so silly looking they make me smile.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of you spending "five years running around with a butterfly net"... and 'those' caterpillars, such a fitting seasonal end. I loved meeting them all, however I have a few (newly found) favourites... the saddleback took me by surprise, the amazing flannel
caterpillar and the io moth caterpillar curled up. Of course they are all special and so working their magic for the camera.
take care, grache

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the flannel caterpillar! So fuzzy. ;-) These little guys make me smile.

Lauri said...

HI-I check your blog all the time, but haven't ever posted...but something about these caterpillars is making me! They really are so beautiful, yet, is it bad that my instinct is to scream and stomp on a couple of them? (Yet, in reality I would scream and run away-not brave enough to stomp! lol!) The little fuzzy one's are cute, though.

Beta said...

Wow, a lot of chatter over this post. Nice job. I just wanted to add that whenever I hear the word caterpillar, i think of this little guy:
Unfortunately, he reminds me of all the times we made backyard forts only to have him move in w/ his family which made the fort too gross to play in.
We probably would have been more welcoming if they'd looked more like the flannel guy, or the saddleback.

Lisa said...

Yup, Mother Nature does indeed have a sense of humor. Your caterpillars are wonderful and I love that you put heart stickers on your favorites. Thank you for taking the ick out of bugs!

But what does a wool eating moth caterpillar look like? Those I would have to squish...sorry.

shari said...

hi gwen,
blogger is playing tricks on me. this post did not show up until just now for me. not to mention that my last several posts have disappeared and then reappeared with much of the text missing...yikes.

anyhow, i love love this post. so beautiful in many ways. those caterpillars are so interesting and quite lovely. i saw one yesterday while on my picture walk and i thought of you and how you'd know what it was going to turn into. i think that's rad.
xo shari

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful! You've certainly got amazing focus to so succinctly show the beauty of your study organism and your place in our field all in one lovely, thoughtful post! Keep that awe and confidence and exuberance in your heart, and you're gonna rock your exam!

f. pea said...

I want automeris io to be my new best friend.

bugheart said...

thank you
i can't
tell you
how happy
i am
that you
are as
cute as i do!!!

Eero said...

Ooohh...I want a flannel caterpillar. I will hug him and kiss him and name him George

Eero said...

You are crazy if you don't believe you are an artist.

Anonymous said...

Wow -- I am inspired to make a sftie like the first one -- saddleback. I am not a bug person but you have shown me the beauty in these. Who knew??? Thanks, Pink

Kim Carney said...

that is one great collection you have, I could watch them all day!

lisa solomon said...

they are BEAUTIFUL... wow... i usually am slightly creeped out by catepillars, but not these!

you are so right... they are ART!

Anonymous said...

WOW! These caterpillars are awesome! especially the saddleback. I saw it on your flickr account, and I was sure it was a felty creature, didn't imagine it was real!:-)

Anonymous said...

ohh, that is the most charming post!! I love all your caterpillars, especially the one with the bad hair day ;)

angela said...

oh my. i think i just found a favourite new blog amongst my favourite blogs.

how can it be, that i've never found you here before?

your photos. those left a sweet sigh. and the way you tell your stories. we almost both have the same flow, writing in fragments and breaking the phrases as they are simply thoughts, mulling in the mind.

oh, this is sweetness.


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