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October 04, 2022
Today we're thrilled to guide you through creating beautiful Apothecary Jar decorations with specimens from our 'Wunderkammer' Collection! These jars make for unique and sophisticated Halloween decor, and look wonderful on a bookshelf or curiosity case year round. It's a simple project with few materials, and best of all you don't harm the paper specimens in any way when creating these jars! We've written out the steps below to three different jars, and you can also follow along on Youtube!
The materials you'll need are really simple and easy to come by! In this project we use:
Glass Apothecary Jar: We sourced ours online at Amazon - they were sold as a set of three for under $50. You can find many different shapes, sizes, and styles, and you really can't go wrong.
Moss and Natural Materials: For some styles of jars, you'll want to use moss and other types of natural materials to add texture and visual interest. In our Seahorse Apothecary Jar, we use two different types of moss (which you can often find at a floral shop) and a bit of dried seaweed we collected from the beach!
Paper Specimens: The double-sided paper skeletons and specimens in our Wunderkammer Relics Collection are perfect for these Jars. In this tutorial, we are working with the 'Seafoam' Seahorse, 'Temptress' Snake, and limited 'Weaver' Spider & Spiderweb sets.
Optional Adhesive: You can create this Apothecary Jars without using any glue or adhesive, but we use a small amount of Museum Putty in the snake jar.
We sourced moss from a florist, and collected dried seaweed from a local beach.
Glass Apothecary Jars are easily sourced online. Ours came as a set of 3 with different silhouettes.
The first Apothecary Jar we'll create features the largest seahorse from our 'Seafoam' Wunderkammer Collection. We chose the longest jar for this, because it complements the shape of the paper specimen.
Begin by placing a bit of moss in the bottom of the jar. We started with Spanish Moss, which we gently placed in the bottom (there's no need to smush it down!), and continued layering with a different type of moss to add more texture.
Continue layering with your natural materials. We used a darker piece of dried seaweed next, so that the light coloration of the seahorse pops out against it. Once you're happy with the natural materials, it's time to gently pop in the paper specimen!
All that's left now is to put the glass top on the Apothecary Jar! We decorated ours with a small moth from the 'Witching Hour' Collection, which we attached with a small amount of Museum Putty.
Next, we'll create the Spider & Spiderweb Apothecary Jar. This is one is very simple, but also very stunning, and features the 'Weaver' Set. This soft-spun Spiderweb is also sold individually in the 'Gossamer' Set or, as a Multi-Pack, but it's only here until October 31st!
Begin by gently placing the spiderweb into the jar. We chose a slightly wider Apothecary Jar for this specimen, to show off the details of the web.
When you're happy with how the web is positioned, it's time to add the spider. Gently bend the legs around your fingers to give them a bit of shape. There's no need for glue to attach it - just work two or three of the little legs into the gaps of the spiderweb, and it will stay in place!
Next, put the glass lid on the jar, and enjoy this spooky seasonal creation!
Finally, we'll create an Apothecary Jar with our 'Temptress' Snake Skeleton. For this jar, we use two snake skeletons. The first step is to gently bend the ribs of the snake around your fingers, to give them a bit of natural shape. We also break the few ribs where the paper snake is connected, to make it more flexible.
We take the first shaped snake, and work it into the bottom of the Apothecary Jar. You can play with the positioning, but the first snake is mostly there to add shape and volume.
When the first snake is in place, it's time for the second one! We work the tail and a few of the coils into the jar, but leave the head out, wrapping around the outside of the jar. This gives a really interesting dimensional look to this Apothecary Jar!
If you're having a hard time getting the snake's head to stay positioned how you'd like it, a bit of Museum Putty will help keep it in place.
This project takes under an hour, but you can take your time collecting natural materials and playing with the placement of the specimens. We hope you're enjoyed this tutorial, and are inspired to work with our paper specimens for yourself!
September 22, 2022 1 Comment
April 26, 2022
With backgrounds in fine art and literature, Seattle FlowerLab's Katie Ellison values the true aesthetics of design, as well as human inspiration behind every arrangement. Flowers can express many things, and there's good reason we choose flowers to celebrate our bright moments and mourn our dark ones. Katie's unique appreciation for visually-pleasing arrangements and the human impetus behind them has given her a distinct voice and aesthetic. For 15 years she has worked as a florist in Montana and Washington, collaborating with many event florists in the Seattle area. Her work celebrates a rich array of design styles and a deep appreciation of the varied ways in which people approach floral design.
We are delighted to host two masterclasses in floristry with Katie Ellison of Seattle FlowerLab at Moth & Myth! Katie will be teaching an evening workshop on June 24th, and a daytime workshop on June 25th. To give you a better idea of Katie's creative process, and what will be covered in the classes, we conducted a little interview below!
How did you get started working in the floral industry?
When I was attending the University of Montana, I needed part-time work to make rent. I lived a block away from Bitterroot Flower Shop, a large retail and full-service florist right off the “hip strip” in the downtown area of Missoula. I basically squeaky-wheeled my way into a position doing customer service, refreshing the display cooler, helping with wraps, checking on plants and general upkeep at the shop - it seemed to me a perfect, convenient job during my studies toward my English degree.
I did this for about a year until a design position opened up. I have always been artistic and I’d been doing the chalkboard and window displays consistently so I was offered a tryout to get the spot. The lead designer Linda was absolutely incredible and she quickly picked up that I could copy her designs and had a knack for designing. This shop was big, and walked a line between pretty traditional “Teleflora” designs, along with some of the freedoms of “designer choice” bouquets. I learned every fundamental skill I have there, and I learned how to design confidently and quickly — a necessary trait for any busy flower shop designer.
Do you have a favorite part of your creative process?
The creative process at Flower Lab starts with a request from a client. I love this challenge of expectation mixed with my own skill and desire to impress. That said, I have a rather vast supply of colors, design forms and flower combinations that circle around in my head. I love to see a color palette expressed in nature, and then pull a selection of flowers and foliage that mimic it. I do this with color palettes I see in fashion, in home decor shows on tv, in other peoples’ floral designs, and on instagram of course! Greening a vase and pulling flowers that can express some beautiful image in my brain — self realized or inspired — is so formative and keeps things fresh and ever-evolving for me.
How do you feel your background in fine art and literature influence your designs?
The designs I love the most are balanced, textural, and definitely colorful. As a painter, I’ve always loved line movement, seeing the brushstroke, and having punchy, effective color, and I love to have a project to work on — these tendencies are perfectly suited for floral design. I initially struggled to view my floral design in the same special light as my painting (it was my paycheck and painting was my passion), but I now realize how limiting that is to my experience as a whole artist. My love of books and story and humanity (literature!) is completely suited for floral artistry. 99% of my designs are linked directly to a person and their unique human experience — the client, the birthday girl, my mother, a stranger in mourning. Storytelling and developing connections with another human is inherent in this craft. Additionally, my language skills help greatly with my communication. Being able to describe a bouquet concept or give a sense of my design vision to someone over the phone or through my consistent email communication is a daily occurrence. Years of writing prose and analysis in papers helps me confidently express myself on the daily, and these skills have helped me establish trust and mutual passion for flowers for many years.
Are there themes or ideas you think floral design is more suited to expressing than other art forms?
This is such a great question. While I’m generally someone who struggles to place art forms in competition with each other, I also cannot help but find floral design to be so vastly effective in a broad range of areas. The beautiful yet fleeting nature of a cut flower is something that powerfully reminds us of life itself. When we use flowers to celebrate big moments in time, they are really granting a two-fold gift for that moment — the pleasing feast for the eye that creates a special, thoughtful experience and, in its grandeur, the hidden reminder that this experience is transient and worthy of our reverent attention.
I’m always reminded that flowers are indeed a luxury good that we’ve chosen to embrace because of their essential presence. As with any art form, the creation of a floral design must have meaning and skill behind it to justify its presence. Being there for people from birth to birthday, parties to marriage, and then perhaps most importantly in those moments of death, is a gift for any florist. In those moments of life that are beautiful, fun, difficult, shattering — the peaceful meaning of cut flowers designed expertly is both powerful and essential to my mind.
April 12, 2022
We are delighted to host Emma SanCartier, owner and creator of OddFauna, for two in-person workshops at our Seattle headquarters this June!
While illustrating for a diverse range of clients, she has also participated in conventions and gallery shows all over the country. She is currently art directing an indie game based on her OddFauna creatures where each character in the game is hand sculpted.
Emma will be teaching how to create whimsical plants & flowers in 'A Garden in Miniature,' June 3rd & 4th, and fantastical creatures in the class 'Finding Your Familiar' on June 4th & 5th. To give you an inside look into Emma's inspirations, and a taste of what you'll learn in the workshops, we conducted a little interview below.
How did you first form the world of OddFauna?
I started making little one of a kind creature sculptures over 10 years ago to sell alongside my illustration work at shows. A friend of mine showed me how to make a simple one-part mold, and things kind of took off from there. I taught myself different mold-making and casting techniques and, through lots of trial and error and playing around with different materials, I was able to expand what this little one person shop was capable of creating.
Inspired and influenced by many things that I’ve loved since childhood, I feel like the seed of OddFauna has existed in one way or another for as long as I can remember. This beastly world grew organically over the years as I painted and sculpted different characters and stories. Often playing with opposites, this strange world of mischievous beasts can be dark and funny, beautiful and unusual.
When creating your fantastical creatures & flora, do you draw inspiration from the natural world?
Definitely! I’m kind of obsessed with watching nature documentaries and find a lot of inspiration in the natural world. There are so many strange creatures that exist, and bizarre animal behaviors to draw from. A new creature idea can stem from some widely unknown animal or plant, or can simply be inspired by a leaf or lichen that I come across on a forest walk in my neighborhood. The OddFauna world that I’ve been creating is really a mixture of all the things that I love. I also find a lot of inspiration in mythological creatures and cryptids, often combining elements of different creatures (real and imaginary) to come up with something that is unique in itself.
Do you have a favorite part of your creative process?
Oh boy, that’s hard to say! I kind of love all the stages, but it depends what sort of mood I’m in. It’s always exciting to start a new big creature sculpture. I love the challenge of translating my 2D work into 3D, especially when an image has a lot of flowy movement to it. It’s kind of like a puzzle to solve. Trying to bring the lightness and energy of a watercolor painting to a solid form is tricky, and I am always playing around with different techniques to try to achieve the right balance which keeps things interesting.
Painting a sculpture is a little more meditative for me which I love in a different way. I like to throw on a podcast and just get lost in the details.
Without giving too much away, what are you most excited to share in your upcoming in-person workshops at Moth & Myth?
Besides sharing some of my favorite techniques, (and hopefully without sounding too cheesy) I think that just sharing the joy of sculpting with others is going to be a real treat. One of the reasons I love sculpting is that a part of me feels like a little kid who gets to play with clay all day. No matter what your skill level is, making things is fun, and I’m so excited to see what adorable tiny things everyone in class comes up with.
December 15, 2021
The winter holidays are almost here! With the pre-Christmas shipping cut-off fast approaching, we wanted to share a few of our favorite sets for perfect holiday gift ideas. Below is selection of our favorite three-packs, Collection Sets, and Minis for holiday gifting!
Embellished with shiny teal foil, the new 'Aurora' Gemstone Morpho Butterfly Set embraces the marriage of cutting-edge printing technology with old-world fine-paper finishing techniques, making an eye-catching gift. Use these colorful butterflies to decorate a wreath, or give the set as a gift to inspire the receiver!
With vibrant blue wings, the Morpho butterfly makes a statement. The 'Morpho and Monarch' 5-Pack features three styles of blue Morpho butterfly, one Pearl Morpho butterfly, and one Monarch butterfly. Of all the species of butterflies, we find that these inspire the most nostalgia!
Don't be fooled by the name - the 'Spring' Luna Moth Set is perfect for every season! Featuring two versions of the distinctive Luna moth (Actias luna), and a Pearl Morpho Butterfly, this three-pack is a timeless favorite, and a wonderful introduction to the beauty of moths and butterflies. These life-sized specimens make gorgeous additions to gift-wrap as well!
With soft frosty tones, the 'Pearl' Mini Moth Set makes a wonderful holiday gift. Gift it as a set for the lucky receiver to get creative with, or make ornaments to give as presents!
The stunning 'Moon Glimmer' Butterfly Set is based on real specimens that have had the prismatic-scales on their wings removed, leaving only the delicate structure beneath. Their pastel tones are perfect for the holiday season, shimmering on pearlescent paper.
The 'Faerie-Tails' Collection is one of the most beautiful sets we carry. Featuring 8 of the most lovely tailed moths all of whom come in a wonderful vintage inspired booklet. This is a unique and wonder gift to keep for yourself or to give someone who has that spark of Faé in them!
Another of our favorite collection sets, the 'Antiquarian' Collection includes ten pearlescent specimens, perfect for the season of snow. Their pallor gives them an ethereal beauty, and their cream and rust colored wings shine brilliantly in any specimen case. Packaged in a gorgeous booklet, perfect for safe keeping or as a lovely gift!
We hope that this gift guide has been helpful, and that you and your loved ones are inspired by the beauty of nature this holiday season!
December 10, 2021
We are incredibly thrilled to share the first ever Moth and Myth pop-up installation at Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle! The vision for this dreamy space covered in swirling clouds of butterflies had been many years in the making, and we felt beyond lucky to have such a stunning venue to bring our whimsical dreams to life.
For this installation, we used the brand new Mint Morpho Butterfly Set, which features the same butterfly (Morpho catenarius) in various sizes, giving depth and volume to the flurry of butterflies. Once our team had styles the wings, we spent all week covering the gallery in a flock of thousands of butterflies, which fluttered up the walls and windows and across the high ceilings.
At the centerpiece, holding our large-scale bell jars, is the fanciful Moth and Myth 'ice-cream' cart, which we can't wait to take to events and conventions!
All you need to create a wall of butterflies at home is paper butterflies, and a bit of double-sided photo tape! To create this look, we gently shaped the butterfly wings by curling them around our fingers, adhered a bit of double-sided photo tape to the back (which features an alternate gold design!), and pressed them firmly to the gallery walls.
This installation will be up for the rest of December 2021, and runs in conjunction with two fantastic art shows. Roq La Rue gallery is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday 12-5pm
We were so delighted to meet everyone who was able to come to the opening reception - it's one of our greatest pleasures to meet the artists and creators who are inspired by the realistic vegan specimens we create! We hope to see you again at future Moth and Myth events!
October 27, 2021
A hint of soft light illuminates the dewy leaves and petals of flowers, while darkness creeps in through the spaces between shadowy forms. Under the name Forest Noir, Alyssa Thorne creates stunning floral still-life photographs that seem to exist somewhere between the classical and modern, the dark and the light. Alyssa's photographs are available as fine-art prints, as well as on a variety of products including postcards, phone-cases, and scarves. We had the chance to learn about Alyssa's process and inspirations, and are delighted to share an exclusive preview of a new piece in the interview below!
What made you start creating and photographing still-life arrangements?
I picked up photography around the age of 15 (18 years ago!) after falling in love with using a disposable film camera on one of my trips to San Francisco. I went nearly every year to California to visit my beloved aunt, who is the reason I fell in love with art in the first place. Her house was, and still is, full of a collection of diverse, incredible artwork. She encouraged my artistic endeavors all my life and was the motivator I needed to pursue art college.
In art college, I studied art history alongside photography and became enamored with the works of the old masters. I am a lover of secret things, and still lifes have so many symbols and layers to uncover. I was instantly hooked and began creating my own. I made a career doing mostly portrait work after college. I kept photographing still lifes for my own enjoyment, but didn’t show them to anybody until the past few years, when I started to feel like it was all I wanted to do.
Once I started to post my still lifes, my art took off on social media more than it ever had before. At this point I absolutely do not see myself doing anything else photographically for a long time, if ever. My creativity is now deeply rooted in the very hands-on process of shaping and making the arrangements themselves. The thought of making photographs without that process feels very empty to me. Which is not to say that I don’t like making other types of photographs alongside the still lifes, it is just the core of my practice now to work this way.
Above is an exclusive first look at a new piece by Forest Noir, featuring a Moth and Myth paper spiderweb and spider. To read what Alyssa has to say about this brand new seasonal image, please visit Instagram!
Do you have a favorite part of your creative process?
Yes! I love creating the actual compositions that I photograph. Shooting is very technical and can be stressful because I have perishable sets that start to wilt if I don’t get it right within a certain time frame. I always say that my camera is just a conduit, not the entire process. Plotting the course for each unique piece and shaping the items with my hands is self-therapy and very enjoyable. Making still life* is such a reverent and cathartic act for me. I also do enjoy editing – I relax with music and edit with a tablet and pen so that I can paint in the dark and the light in the precise way I want.
While your arrangements appear deliberate and posed, they also feel organic and effortless. How do you achieve that balance?
They are definitely both of those things. Even with my extensive planning, in the moment of creation, the piece takes on a life of its own and morphs before my eyes. In my head something might work perfectly, but then I take that idea to work with, and know that I cannot be married to it. It will never end up the way it is in my head, but usually ends up better anyway. I let the materials guide me, I let my hands just sort of figure it out. It is a fairly chaotic process to have a grand plan and be prepared to abandon half of it, and that disorder manifests itself visually. What you refer here to as “organic and effortless” - to me is just beautiful, organized chaos. I think since my process is half plan, half seat of my pants holding flowers, it ends up at a wonderful crossroads where my personal, recognizable style sits.
Do you set out with a plan or mental image you try to recreate, or are you inspired by the flowers and materials you find?
All my creations are tied in incredibly personal ways to my thoughts, experiences, grief, hopes, fears, inspirations, and beyond. As such, they take a long time to plan, and most have complex backstories which I reveal in the captions of my Instagram posts. I do have a few “spur of the moment” pieces, but in general they are in the works months before anyone sees them. I sketch my compositions, scout out and buy props, then sometimes shoot trial versions. I decide for, or against certain flowers. In some cases, the piece has been reshot 3 times before the public sees it. I currently have a handmade, prop intensive self-portrait that I have been working on for over a year!
While all the flowers you use are organic, you work with our vegan paper moths and butterflies! What inspired you to use these over real specimens?
I have been an animal lover since childhood. I make as much effort as I can to eliminate and reduce harm to animals in my everyday life choices. I also love to volunteer with them, and I run regular fundraisers for animal rescues and charities. My shop mascot and beloved companion is my rescue bunny, Laszlo. In lieu of real specimens, I can use Moth and Myth’s incredibly realistic paper creations and not harm any animals in the process! I can’t be 100% sure any real specimen is truly “cruelty-free” and it feels more respectful to use paper. Plus, they are gorgeous and the possibilities are never ending. I love seeing other artists use them in so many ways!
How would you say darkness and light factor into your work?
Chiaroscuro is at the core of my photographic style, and subject matter. There is extreme dark and bright light in my work, both visually and thematically. I do pieces with harsh lines, enveloped in shadow, followed directly by whimsical pastels the next day. Although I am never completely either, I think that stylistically I do err on the side of darkness. Darkness interests me because in shadow is where all the good secrets of the world lie, and as I mentioned before, I am a lover of secrets. I need the light to unearth those hidden meanings, and more often than not, the subjects of my work ring of light, beauty, truth, hope, and love. These things exist within, and sometimes parallel to, darkness. Two necessary and symbiotic sides of the same coin. I enjoy walking the line.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
If you are interested in learning more about my life and process, I have a special FB group, called The Forest Noir Social Club, where I share behind the scenes information and photos, answer questions, and give away things like phone backgrounds.
Also - I will be vending Darksome Craft Market the 3rd of December and it’s an online market!
* Social links/Website:
September 06, 2021 1 Comment
The world of Brimstone Bindings is one of boundless imagination. Started by Gabby Williams, and now featuring creations by both Gabby and partner Deroe, their intricate jewelry combines brilliant stones with eye-catching metals. We had the pleasure of interviewing Gabby, and hope you'll enjoy the insight into the creative process behind Brimstone Bindings!
We think it’s so cool that you are partners working together on Brimstone Bindings! Do you collaborate on pieces or prefer to work individually towards a common vision?
Typically we work individually to give ourselves more creative freedom to do what we feel. When we do collaborate, it’s always exciting to see what we come up with together.
What made you decide to start creating jewelry?
Well, I’ve been creating as far back as I can remember. Somewhere along my artistic journey, I gravitated towards jewelry making. My love for stones played a massive role in that for sure. There’s something truly magical about adorning yourself with earthly treasures.
How do you choose the crystals, stones, and other materials you use in your creations? Are certain ones particularly meaningful for you?
My process for choosing crystals depends on the collection or piece I’m creating. Sometimes particular stones call out to me, and I feel compelled to create with them, basing my collection around those stones.
Other times I have designs in mind where I scout out the perfect stones that fit my vision.
Do you let your materials lead you in a certain direction, or do you set out with a plan and search for elements that fit your vision?
I would say both. I like to plan out things, source new materials, and find ways to use some of the materials I have.
Your imagination and creativity are so apparent in your creations! How do you nurture those parts of yourself, and what do you do when you feel stuck?
I’m always full of so many ideas, it’s a little crazy. I think the hardest part for me is staying focused on a particular concept and not drifting off into my enormous imagination pool
To learn more about Brimstone Bindings, please visit their socials and shop!
July 30, 2021
July 20, 2021
June 10, 2021
Making bell jars is a fun and affordable project in which you’ll create a beautiful gift or piece of decor for your home. We’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to build bell jars with our paper butterflies and moths, and are delighted to share a step-by-step tutorial explaining the process! We recently released Multi-Packs that make it easy to do this project! You can also follow along as we go through these steps on YouTube and TikTok!
Butterflies: We’re working with the Blue and White Morpho Butterflies. Any of our multi-packs are great for this project!
Bell Jar: Ours is from IKEA and is 10 3/4” tall. You’ll want to find a bell jar with a wooden base, since you will be drilling into the bottom.
Rod: We use a clear plastic rod sourced from a plastic supplier.
Wire Cutters: To clip the plastic rod.
Drill: You’ll use the drill to make a hole in the wooden base of the bell jar.
Hot Glue: To shape and attach the butterflies.
Plus: Your hands and creativity!
Our Blue and White Morpho Multi-Pack comes with 15 of the same type of butterfly. For this size of bell jar, you’ll only need 10 butterflies, which means you’ll have extras for other projects, or to attach to the outside of the bell jar. Any of our Multi-Packs are perfectly suited to this project!
Step 1: Shape the butterflies
We begin by making our butterflies look as lifelike and 3D as possible. With your fingers, gently curve the upper and lower wingtips away from you. Place a tiny drop of hot glue on the upper edge of the lower wings, and gently fold the upper wings over the glue, pressing down until the glue has hardened. This simple styling give the butterflies the appearance of flying and makes them sturdier to work with!
Step 2: Cut the rod to fit the bell jar
Your plastic rod may come in a very long piece, and you’ll need to cut it down to fit your bell jar. We approximate and measure by eyesight, and then cut the rod with wire cutters. The ends don’t need to look pretty because they’ll be hidden by butterflies and the wooden base of the bell jar!
Step 3: Drill a hole in the wooden base
You’ll need to drill a hole in the wooden base of the bell jar, for the plastic rod to sit in. Match the diameter of the rod with the size of your drill bit, for a snug fit - this way you won’t need to use any glue to keep the rod in place! Just be sure not to drill all the way through the base!
Step 4: Arrange the butterflies!
Now comes the fun part! We like to start at the upper tip of the rod and work our way down, attaching each butterfly with a drop of hot glue. Angle the butterflies to give them the appearance of flying and to create volume. Remember they can fly in any direction!
Since our specimens are printed double-sided, they'll look great from any angle! Rotate the rod as you work to make sure you’re filling in any empty spaces. Experiment with placement before you commit to glue, and have fun with your design!
Step 5: Put it together
Once you’ve attached your butterflies to the rod, all that’s left is to put the bell jar together and to enjoy it!
If you've drilled a tight enough hole in your base, you won't need to use glue to hold the pin in place, but you can always add a bit for extra stability!
We hope that this tutorial has given you some ideas about how you can work with our Single Specimen Multi-Packs! Remember bell jars come in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no limits to what you can do. We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!
May 01, 2021
Portland-based artist Roxy Schultz creates gorgeous jewelry and mixed-media art featuring pressed botanicals and our paper moths and butterflies. Her one-of-a-kind pieces preserve the fleeting beauty of flowers so wonderfully, and capture the soft whimsy of spring. Our tiny Micro butterflies and moths are especially lovely in her delicate creations!
Please visit her Shop and Instagram to learn more about pieces and availability!