Saturday, July 23, 2011

All sorts of bugs and ticks: The clockwork creepy crawlies you'll come to love in time


Clockwork colours: This life-like meat fly even has the wings and colourful shell found on real flies but is actually made from metal

Anyone swatting these bugs may be in for a surprise - the creepy crawlies are filled with clockwork innards.

Artist Mike Libby, 34, customises real insects and creatures with antique watch parts and electronic components to create new hybrid species.

His 2011 range of beasties includes beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers and even a fearsome-looking cyborg crab.

That's a bit nippy: A crab has been crafted from rusted metal to give it the unique orange colour that it has in the wild

Mike's inspiration for what he calls the Insect Lab came when he found a deceased bug in his garden in Portland, Oregon.

'One day I found a dead intact beetle,' he said.

'I then located an old wristwatch, thinking of how the beetle also operated and looked like a little mechanical device and so decided to combine the two.

'After some time dissecting the beetle and outfitting it with watch parts and gears, I had a convincing little cybernetic sculpture.

'I soon made many more with other found insects and have been exploring and developing the theme ever since.'

Hopping mad: A grasshopper made from watch components adopts a regal pose while right, a close up of a blue butterfly shows how minute and second hands are used for its antennae

Mike has created specimens in many shapes, sizes and colours, with each insect adorned differently to make it truly unique.

He even creates insects to order from his Portland studio and was recently requested to make three clockwork scorpions by a New York stockbroker.

'I get the insects through scientific dealers who provide high quality specimens from all around the world; from Africa, China, New Guinea, Brazil and more,' he says.

Emerging into life: A clockwork butterfly sits on Mr Libby's workshop tables surrounded by pins and tiny watch components as it is constructed for the artist's 2011 collection

Jumping nowhere: This cricket with delicate copper parts giving it a realistic colour is fixed firmly to the ground inside its jar

Ornamental: A bug is housed like an intricate decoration inside a glass bowl. To the right, some of the pocket watches that would have donated parts can be seen

Hairy moment: This clockwork Tarantula appears to have been made from the body of a real spider with small cogs and brass fixings added to its back

Buzzing: This carefully painted bud has four legs and two pairs of wings, but how long will it be before it's time comes?

Each piece takes a number of hours to complete as Mike painstakingly crafts each of the insect;s features.

Once the pieces of art are finished, they can sell for up to $2,000 each. Many of the creatures, such as spiders and scorpions, are so life-like that they could pass at first glance for real animals.

He added: 'Though I do salvage insects that I find right at hand, the occasional bumblebee or dragonfly. Also, people are welcome to send me specimens of their own for a piece.'

As for the mechanical ingredients he uses parts 'mostly from antique pocket watches and wristwatches' and tries to use almost every component 'from the swipe hands and screws to the gears and springs'.

Sting: This life-like scorpion looks so real that it could give people a fright is they spotted it lurking on the mantle piece

Taking off: A dragonfly has delicate wings similar to those found on the real insects. The tiny ornament is small enough to be held in the palm of a hand

source: dailymail

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