Yumi Okita and the Giant Moths
When I think of moths, the first thing that comes to mind is that they eat fabric* and nibble away at your best silks and woolens, so that when you get that beautiful old dress out of the wardrobe for its first outing of the spring it is riddled with little holes. Clothes moths don’t eat any old rubbish though, they have refined tastes when it comes to textiles: only the softest of cashmeres, the daintiest of laces and the twee-est of tweeds for these fine diners.
The next thing that strikes me is how fragile a moth is and how ephemeral. Some moths only live a few days, and even the long-livers only last around three months. How fleeting their little lives are, as they try desperately to reach the moon. Often my little cat will crouch into a small black knot and pounce, batting at something with his paw and smearing it into the carpet. All that remains of the poor moth is a powder and the suggestion of some wings.
It seems a fitting tribute that Yumi Okita’s moths are made from fabric, and that they are larger than life and robust. Her moths will live forever, or until they’re eaten by their hungry little cousins, the clothes moths.
The North Carolina-based textiles artist makes beautiful lepidoptera sculptures using fabrics, cotton, fake fur and feathers, with daintily hand embroidered and hand painted details that bring her creations to life. Her moths are striking in their colours and remind you that not all moths are brown and drab - in fact many of these nocturnal insects are just as alluring as their daylight counterparts the butterflies.
Moths keep their wings outspread, unlike butterflies which keep them folded, so you can see every millimetre of their majesty when they are resting - making them the perfect candidate for a wall hanging. And Okita’s moths don’t need a glass case to house them, unlike the morbid taxidermy moths and butterflies that always strike me as haunting monuments of death.
*Not all moths do this.