Last week at Oakland’s Art Murmur I got to play with some of these enthralling bug jars made by artist and designer Colleen Paz. A button awakens a frenetically oscillating insect inside each one. I’d love to own one of these- they’re simple yet very satisfying and tactile. the movements are lifelike and the vintage bottles evoke memories of childhood nature expeditions.
As an insect-obsessed person, I am constantly presented with friends and perfect strangers who abashedly confess to me their childhood insect-related indiscretions. Often these tales revolve around the indiscriminate killing of invertebrates as a youth, but sometimes I am told how they used to put fireflies or other insects in jars as a kid, and do I think they’re a monster for having done so. Which is odd, because I and probably every curious future entomologist and naturalist alive today has done the exact same thing- it’s how we grow to learn and appreciate insects, instead of ignoring them or recoiling in fear.
I’m never quite sure why people feel compelled to reveal their ento-incarceratory crimes to me. I suspect it must simply be the result of their brains in a hurry, trying to dig up something suitably insect-ish to talk about with me, and then well, that’s what bubbles forth. In any case, I do my best to reassure everybody that they won’t be shunned by me for such youthful acts. After all, I still do it as an adult!