I was raised in Kalamazoo, MI. It may sound like an old fashioned cliché, but one of my favorite childhood memories is capturing fireflies in a Mason jar. During the intense heat and humidity of those Michigan summers, it was a great treat to play outside in the coolness of the evening. After awhile, the fireflies would begin to wink on in the bushes.
In flight, they always looked like bits of snow to me – the way big dry snowflakes look on a winter’s night under a streetlight, drifting around, never falling to the ground. Fireflies are pretty ordinary looking winged beetles, except that they contain a bioluminescence during twilight that attracts mates or prey – children, of course, would fall into the latter category. Also called lighting bugs, they are slow moving and easy to catch. After a while I’d release them back into the canopy of trees and lush foliage… only to repeat the game the next evening.
This is my first firefly – I don’t know why I didn’t make one sooner! It is the “F” in my 2016 Felix Kulpa show. I am happy that it does indeed express all the “fireflyness” of those magical creatures in my Michigan backyard.
The materials are simple:
- A body of redwood rounds
- Silver-colored shoe tree wings
- Twisty wire legs
- Copper tipped antennae
- A child’s orange Japanese Oak croquet ball from a shop on Whidbey Island, WA
- An old Mason jar that belonged to my father-in-law...
It has a light inside the jar, casting an orange glow from under the wings
My firefly has some good forward movement, too – helpful to find a mate or get away from Michigan kids with Mason jars.