At first glance, the beautiful moths in artist Kasia’s collection are so exquisite, they look like they could be the real thing. But look closer and you will see the individual strands of thread that Kasia has deftly used to create these life-like embroidery studies.
“Moths tend to be fatter and more hairy than butterflies and in my pieces I like to emphasise that by combining embroidery with needle felting. This mix of textures is not only pretty, but also creates three-dimensionality, making them look more realistic."
"On top of that, each piece has been framed in an authentic entomological frame, causing even professionals to give one of the best compliments I can get, "I thought they were real." Since I put my first moth into the frame I couldn’t love this idea more!”
With her 100fluffymoths project, Kasia hopes to encourage people to look closer at this wonderful but often misunderstood creature, and highlight their devastating decline.
“I don’t get it why moths have such bad PR - I think it is unfair that they cannot enjoy the sympathy the butterflies have, just because they fly by night. So I try to take the step in the right direction and tell fun facts about them, show their diversity, their intricate wings details, and colours.
"If you love nature, you need to love biodiversity. Each and every species plays a role within the wildlife. Moths are effective pollinators and essential part of the food chain. They matter, yet declining year by year. Over 60 moth species became extinct only in the 20th century!”
Embroidery is not only an ethical way to share this ecologically important and endangered species with a wider audience, it’s also more approachable for viewers with an apprehension about insects than the creatures themselves.
“Embroidery makes it possible to tame their fears - many followers of the project’s progress would not be willing to learn about moths: their exquisiteness, diversity and role in nature. But stitched specimens won’t fall through our window by surprise - and thus allows us to learn about them within comfort zone. This makes the art of embroidery a conservation tool for this vital group of organisms, on which many parts of the ecosystem depends.
“Although I sometimes get some hate comments from people who are accusing me of trapping and killing protected species because they think that what they are seeing is an authentic entomological collection. But I guess I should take those as a compliment :D”
Beyond Kasia’s indisputable success improving the brand image of the moth, drawing in over 91,600 people to her moths through Instagram alone, there are also more personal benefits to be gained from the project.
“As for the embroidery itself, it is my moment of solitude, without constant input from other minds and the outer world. I lay consecutive stitches on the fabric, reorder all my thoughts, and feel all the pressure fading away.”
Kasia’s first embroidery project was her wedding dress, where she embroidered a belt covered in beautiful wildflowers. She taught herself embroidery and explains that she needs a subject that she was inspired by to get motivated.
“I’ve tried dozens of stitches on it and bought every green shade of thread available. It felt precious to have something made by myself on this special day. So, along with my ‘new life’, my new passion has started.”
“My first moth came very soon after. There are more than 150 thousand species worldwide (10 times more than butterflies!) so I’m guaranteed with motifs for a lifetime.”
Out of those 150 thousand species, Kasia decided to start with just 100, specifically those from Poland where she lives.
“I created pieces presenting 100 species of nocturnal butterflies that may be found in Poland. It clearly demonstrates that moths are no different from butterflies when it comes to beauty and brings us closer to organisms that we do not usually pay attention to.”
“For a long time I was afraid of hawk moth (to stitch them!) because they seemed like a huge challenge. But once I started, I was hooked! There are almost all Polish hawk-moths species in this collection and embroidering them was a great pleasure.”
The impressive collection of 100 intricately embroidered moth species, was then on display from April until September this year at the Nature Education Centre of the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland, accompanied by real specimens from one of the most valuable entomological collections in what Kasia describes as an “exceptional celebration of wildlife and embroidery”
“But I think it is just a matter of time when I will prepare the opening of #200fluffymoths.”