Beetle Wing Embroidery: second round, flower

This is my second attempt at beetle wing embroidery.

I learned a lot about goldwork, reading Tanja Berlin’s website, and I bought some supplies from her. I also learned a lot about lighting this kind of photography, and I think the shots turned out much better. Ironically, the solution that worked best was a simple one – stood outdoors in slanting full sun, and positioned the piece so that it was covered by my shadow. For some of them, I used an additional reflecting card to get bounced soft light.

The stems are couched in the #13 Japanese Gold, and the doodles around the leaves are Kreinik #7 Japan Gold. There are two different colors of the beetle wings; the flowers are done in the “coppery red” variety, the leaves in the more typical kind. They are both mostly green, but the ones in the leaf tend more toward purple, while the ones in the flower can flash copper over their whole surfaces in just the right angle of light.

The leaves are detailed with #10 green glass seed beads, with silver insides.

The flower hips are made from the pronotum, which is basically the bug’s “shoulder” area. They have a very neat texture, little dimples all over.

61 replies
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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    It was great to meet you! 🙂 I enjoyed seeing your whole display – very informative!

    Maybe next year I’ll figure out how to be down there weaving during the event – at least I can get something accomplished, that way. Although the bobbin weavers have it better, being inside.

  2. pandorasfox
    pandorasfox says:

    i found this post while i was googling for something else. i realize it’s a year and a half old and you’ve probably gotten rid of your beetle wings by now but if you still have any to sell i’d be really interested in them!

    i scrolled through a lot of your lj and i’m finding it really interesting so i’m going to add you. don’t feel pressured to add me back if you don’t want to. i’m from Houston so we might know some of the same people. i also work in the arts(theatre, opera lately) building wigs and doing makeup but i’m generally just crafty outside of that. i do post about work a lot when i’ve got something interesting going on but the rest of my lj is just boring stuff. 😛

  3. admin
    admin says:


    Yes, I still have a lot of the wings. They’re so beautiful – photos just can’t capture it.

    I don’t sell them as a business, but I’m happy to sell you #50 for $10 plus shipping. you can email me at

    And yes, feel free to add me! Lately, it’s mostly textiles, silkworms, etc…

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Re: Beetlework

    Do you still have some beetle wings that you would sell? I find your work very lovely. I’ve been doing some stump work and wanted to try doing some beetle work, but haven’t found a source to buy them.
    here is my e-mail address
    Thank You

  5. admin
    admin says:

    Re: Hello

    Well, hello! You didn’t introduce yourself, though – maybe you weren’t logged in? It showed up as an anonymous comment.

  6. weilok
    weilok says:

    Just found you site via a friend love you work and looking at the newer items. Pined it for others.

  7. Michael
    Michael says:

    Kate, I found them on Ebay – look for “elytra.” The protonum pieces were just included, mixed in with an order of the wings, but I imagine if you contact a seller, you could arrange to get some separately.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This is my first attempt at beetle wing embroidery; for more expert advice, you can visit Wormspit or Needle ‘n Thread, both of which lay out a good foundation for me to begin my process.  […]

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