261 Valerie Scarfone


When I was attending college I started collecting cicada wings because I thought they were these amazing glass-like beauties that were overlooked by the creepy looking and sounding bug they belonged to.  My intentions were to create jewelry out of them, since that was what I was studying at Tyler School of Art.  The collection of cicadas led to a collection of different bugs: bumble bees, butterflies, beetles, and the like.  I never did end up creating jewelry, but with the large amount of bugs collected I knew I would do something with them, someday.  But they just sat, and friends would say, “Oh, I found this amazing dragonfly for you!” or so on. It became my “thing.”  The collection traveled with me to New York after I graduated, and after jumping around from apartment to apartment I ended up at my grandparent’s house. My grandmother was a collector also; she had a bunch of shelves with baby-food jars filled with screws, nails, nuts, and bolts, each organized in their own container that took up one part of her basement, a sewing area with scraps of fabrics in cabinets and boxes took up another. One day, her and I were rummaging through her things and came across some old cigar tins. Inside these tins were hundreds of cicada wings, just the wings, the beautiful glass-like pieces that inspired my bug collection.  I was amazed. Back in Philadelphia, I am still figuring out what to do with my collection, but I thought this project would be a perfect place to start.