Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bloodworm swarms hit Seattle!

Q. Why is my head suddenly surrounded by a thousand annoying bugs?

A. Those are midges, and they are mating.  Those swarms are big orgies of tiny flies that only have a few days to live.  They don’t eat, they just fly around and get it on, then go lay eggs. Midges gather in places where sun meets shade (as in, everywhere we like to sit outside). They emerge from Lake Washington and other bodies of water every spring.   
Chironomid midge,

Midges look like mosquitoes, more or less, but have more stylish feathery antennae.  Midge larvae are popular models for fishing flies — people make cute little worms out of glass beads and fishing hooks. Why are they red?  Because they have hemoglobin!  That’s unusual for insects, but Chironomus midges, a.k.a. Bloodworms, have it. You gotta respect that, right?

Chironomid larva lures,

The good news is that they don't bite. No-see-ums are nastly little swarming midges that live in hotter places.  They bite and it's brutal.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dirt in a book

Currently, I'm working with three other artists on a book about soil dwelling insects for a show called Dirt? at the University of Puget Sound.  The book is being designed and handmade by Catherine Alice at May Day Press.  It features some remarkable poems and an original music score by two Olympia, WA, artists who I am humbled to be working with.  (I'll tell you about it soon!)

Here is a tiny peek at the linoleum cuts I'm preparing for the book.  This is a rough draft of a cutworm pupa.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Announcing my new fanzine!

The Nature of Fleas, Starring Dame Miriam Rothschild

I'm excited to announce my new fanzine, about fleas and the lady who loved them!

It tells the story of Miriam Rothschild's extraordinary life and explains a little bit about her research on fleas.

Miriam Rothschild is one of my heroes.  She was a British entomologist, conservationist, and humanitarian. She did some really interesting and important work.

Inside this fanzine is a mix of collage, illustration, and cute cartoon bunnies discussing scientific research on flea-borne disease.
Page 7. All of these photos are properly
attributed in the book, for reals.

I teamed up with Jon Horn at blue dot prints to design a cover based on Rothschild's book Fleas, Flukes, and Cuckoos.  We screen printed the covers at Fogland Studios in Seattle.  I had always wanted to learn to screen print and now I have the power!

Jon and I also made this kickin' zoetrope, an animation machine that you can cut out, mount on a bubble tea straw, and spin!  The animation is a jumping flea.  I did the flea illustrations based on Rothschild's photographs of jumping fleas, and Jon used his engineering skills to design this amazing little device.