Friday, 8 January 2010

The Circus Beetles are in town!

I've been making Circus Beetles! This is my name for these brightly-coloured little busy-bodies that appeared while I was recovering from flu. Perhaps I was delerious.

I had an idea to make some fabric insect brooches, because I love insecty jewellery so much. I did two prototypes first of all, in the scraps left from my winter bird obsession. One was deemed too three dimensional to be a brooch (it may resurface again as a Christmas tree decoration) the other was lovely but a bit...dull. Finally it was time to use some colour after months of...beige.

Pale Beetle - Positively anemic by comparison!

Last summer I bought a pair of vintage 1970's curtains simply because the colour and pattern was so amazing. They are a glorious riot of pink, red and mustard swirls. I cut some of the individual motifs from the fabric and used larger ones for bodies, smaller ones for wings. As a contrast I used a red and white spot fabric on some of the beetles, which I aged down with tea to match the vintage fabric. For the wings I layered red, pink, gold and brown ribbons on pieces of tulle, then edged them all haphazardly with chocolate embroidery silk. Each little face has it's own character, beady eyes on most and antennae on some.

Beetles in Progress

I have an idea to mount them in a shadowbox, each with a vintage scientific label and pinned through the abdomen - of course - because I love how they look all together. Once I had decided they were Circus Beetles, I also had a jolly vision of them fluttering out of the folds of a tattered big top, each time it is unpacked for a show.

Like I said, delerious.


  1. these ae soooo gorgeous and I want one so much

  2. Oooh! thank you :) I wasn't really sure where this project was going, but feel encouraged to finish them all now, and more besides. Thank you for your kind words :) Mx