Life: a solitary butterfly
swaying unsteadily on a slender stalk of grass,
nothing more. But ah! so exquisite!
– Nishiyama Soin
On the one-ton temple bell
a moon-moth, folded into sleep,
Will we meet again?
Here at your flowering grave:
two white butterflies
– Matsuo Basho
Life, death, stolen naps, spring blossoms, and everything fleeting, ephemeral, and in between–are any of these metaphors or metamorphoses complete without a mention of our fragile, fluttering lepidopteran friends? Fortunately for fans of these exquisite but evanescent insects, Moth and Myth seeks to capture their beauty and transience in a slightly more permanent form through sustainable and cruelty-free products, in the hopes of building a world of unique objects which inspire and delight others.
In 2015, artist Redd Walitzki began creating an assortment of paper butterflies to use for a painting reference, as realistic artificial butterflies for this purpose were virtually impossible to find, and real specimens either too delicate or–strange to say– not life-like enough! These papery flutterers worked wonderfully as intended, and she began to use them for other art projects, and also wore them to events and on different costumes. Friends and other artists loved them so much that it only made sense to begin selling them in limited batches. Soon afterward, other artists and crafters responded so positively to these enchanting paper-moths and butterflies, that Redd began to offer them for sale for others to use and enjoy as well.
Moth and Myth has since become renowned for producing cruelty-free and vegan designs showcasing the unique bounty of moths and butterflies; they have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Now co-run by Redd Walitzki and fellow artist and friend, Kari-Lise Alexander, the brand continues to grow and offer a variety of beautiful items inspired by insects and other fascinating life-forms.
Both artists have a lifelong fondness for moths and other lepidoptera. Through the years they’ve known each other, Redd and Kari-Lise have shared a love of painting and observing these beautiful winged creatures; they have raised and traded specimens, and even started a secret ‘Amateur Insect Society’ with some fellow artists. “Our obsession with bugs”, they note, “is definitely a wonderful component of our friendship!”
Moth and Myth believes in the importance of empowering other creatives through their designs. Their moths and butterflies have been included in floral designs, special events decor, fashion photography and more. Redd emphasizes that “…one of the reasons our creations have been so popular is because the door is really wide open for how you can decide to use or display them!” She further remarks that, “It’s often surprised us, to see all the incredible things our fans come up with–from using them in fantasy-photo shoots to encasing them in resin (even a handmade cutting board!) to including them in delicate floral arrangements. There is no ‘correct use’…whatever project seems to call for a lovely moth or butterfly is perfect!”
What’s particularly lovely is that because Moth & Myth’s creations are from printed paper, they are cruelty-free and vegan. Those amongst us who adore surrounding ourselves with splendid, charming things but who may not feel comfortable having a dead specimen in our collection, can still enjoy them! Also, as lovers of beautiful design, Redd and Kari-Lise have made the packaging quite pleasing on its own–you don’t necessarily have to take the butterflies out of the package, you can just display them as you would a print! Additionally, Redd reveals that they especially love it when people build entomology shadow-boxes and bell-jars with them (since they look so real!) And if you, like me, are intrigued by this idea but aren’t terribly creative or handy, they do sell a few bell-jars options as well.
Moth & Myth have recently released their Antiquarian Collection, with inspiration hailing from “…entomology cases preserved in dusty attics, moth wings faded with time to a ghostly whisper. Each specimen was once a bright jewel, brought to a Wunderkammer from far across the world. Yet the ages reduce even the most brilliant jewels to shadows, and each moth in this set is now a pale reflection of its living self. This pallor lends them an ethereal beauty, and their cream and rust-colored wings shine brilliantly in any specimen case. ”
The creators behind Moth & Myth shared with us how lucky they feel that their passion project is resonating so strongly with the community and that they always love to hear from their fans and see how you’ve used their moths and butterflies!
“If there’s a species you want us to make or a project with our moths that you’re proud of, please send it to us! We’re excited to see what heights Moth & Myths will fly to, and hope to take on even more large-scale projects like including them in botanical installations, or pairing them with fashion designs and event production in the future! Moths spend most of their life-cycle as ever-growing caterpillars, and hopefully, we’ll always be like that, on our way to transforming into whatever magical idea this can become.”
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