My brother had disappeared into one of the exhibits and his
daughter Melania had to call him to find where he was at. He came out of the
exhibit, and almost stunned and said, you have to see this, there are jar after
jar of bugs”.
All of us entered the exhibit, “The Grasshopper and the
Ant, and Other stories
”, by Jennifer Angus and I was transported back in time.
I remembered my brother patiently killing bugs, by placing them in a killing
jar, and then taking them out, pinning them, and then identifying each one as he
added them to his collection.
He was enrolled in an Entomology course at the University of
Northern Iowa, majoring in Biology, and he was working on his assignment. Our
whole family was used to his obsessions by now, and his collection was simply
added to the jars of organisms floating in formaldeheyde.
Now here were jar after jar all each filled with a colored fluid
in which a large insect had been placed. Passing through the collecting room we
entered the main gallery where giant locusts, beatles, moths, and leaf hoppers
had been pinned to the walls in geometric patterns.
Many of the bugs were from Asia and Central and South
America, (many were as large as your hand), and many were farm raised for collectors. I may never
write thoughts and prayers again! The walls were covered in
large spirals and swirls much as one would expect to see on a quilt and
Jennifer Angus is a textile artist, (Do any of my quilter friends feel inspired
to make a quilt of bugs)?
In another room more spirals but there were eight glass
covered domes in which each one contained a diorama with a large bug inspecting
a microscope slide. Calling cards were placed around the rooms with appropriate
quotes from different animals.
In another section a large table was set in the style of the
meal in Alice in Wonderland
, but this table contained stuffed animals
including a large diamondback rattlesnake.
A squirrel was eating a nut and I
was reminded of our friend Jim who has taken on a large squirrel trapping and
Eve more bizarre were several large wooden cases. Each was a moneto mori.
guide opened some of them and showed us that each contained a theme story complete
with more insects One of the stories was of the large beetles paying homage to
their queen, again perhaps inspired by the aforementioned book.
Many of the stories told of the destruction of the
rain forest and the worlds wild places. They all lamented the extinctions. They
told of the effects of climate change and the fools that did not believe it was
Renita asked to see the drawer with her birthday year and inside
were insects staring at dying flowers. I was afraid to ask to see my drawer as
perhaps it contained a nightmare, and Mike and I both had strange dreams that
If the exhibit was meant to move us, it certainly did. One
wonders at the brilliant minds that coexist with us and the strange and different
thoughts that we all have. Luckily most of us do not act on them referring to them
There are good obsessions and I think this exhibit had to be
created by a textile artist. I know I will never look at my quilter friends
again without remembering the bugs and I will certainly never turn my back on
them, especially if they have a large pin in their hands.
Clear skies and sweet dreams…….
ps all of the bugs colors are natural