insect in resin

Okay so I’m reading this lovely book called The Hearts We Sold and despite the story being completely different, there is one part that made me think of a new FBAWTFT!AU. 

Imagine Percival Graves, Director of Magical Security, powerful wizard, excellent duelist, a formidable, heady mix of political suaveness and dwon-to-earth, no-nonsense Auror quick-thinking. Mister Graves is elegant, intimidating - beautiful the way classic statues and stained-glass saints and other unreachable things are. He’s the first crush of almost any rookie Auror crossing the Woolworth threshold; it’s him what bright-eyed people strive to be; it’s him what they think about when they’re drunk and making out with a fellow officer in the shadowy crevice of a windowsill at New Year’s parties, or giving themselves pleasure in ther cramped rented room. Mister Graves is respected by everyone, admired by most, hated by few - and loved by none. 

Or better, no, that isn’t it: there are people he loves, and that love him in return. His family, Phina and Theseus, his precious Tina, his messy pack of Aurors. But he feels he’s no good at loving them. He never has the time, and forgets birthdays, Christmases, leaves them waiting for hours in front of his door because he forgot all about the coffee he was meant to have with them; he’s always too tired, too cold, too distant, too snappy. He’s losing them, he sees it; he’s losing them all. In their eyes he sees the man they thought he was dying slowly, day by day, killed with every wrong word and every wrong choice.

 It kills him too. It makes him want to cry in rage.

He tries to be that man, the one they want - the one they need remember like love - but he simply can’t. Percival Graves can play any part, but he starts suspecting no one will ever really like the face under his masks.

One day, Percival is storming out of the Macusa, shoes hitting the sidewalk, hard and clipped as gunshots, heart hammering in his chest, so furious he’s shaking, hurting so bad he just can’t stop. 

This morning Theseus sent him a wire, told him he either starts writing back or he will stop sending his letters. Tina tried to pledge the case of a young spunky pickpocket and at his no told him she stormed out, hissing through gritted teeth that she doesn’t recognize anymore the Percival Graves that made her choose to be an Auror. His brother called, telling him he’s sensing Percival isn’t okay, that he should talk, and he snapped at him, and listened to his mother telling him he’s grown cruel and vain. It feels like everything is crumbling down. It feels like he has no idea how to fix any of it. And why, he thinks, speeding across avenues and stress and crossings, why should he? What’s wrong if a man in his position is hard, and busy, and cynical? Nothing. No, there’s nothing wrong with that - what’s wrong it’s him, it’s this fucking guilt, it’s this fucking heart - always trying to please them, always desperate to show them it’s worth of them. And he’s tired. He’s so, so tired.

That’s when Percival feels the change. It’s a crack through the air, a smell of sulphur filling his nostrils, hair standing on end on his arms. The busy street around him slows down, fading, like an insect plunged in transparent resin, and suddenly there’s a man at his side. Or something that looks like a man.

Percival straightens. “You’re a daemon,” he says, matter-of-factly.

The man-shaped thing smiles a fanged smile. Its eyes gleam like chips of strawberry candy. “Indeed I am,” he says, “And I want to offer you a deal, Percival Graves.”

“A deal? Sorry, sport. I’m not interested in anything your folks deal in. I have fame, power, respect. Charm, too.”

The daemon shakes its head. “You’re wrong, Percival Graves. There is something you want, and that I can give you. Something you yearn for. Something you crave.”

“And what would that be?”

“Peace.” The daemon’s smile widens. “Quiet. The end of the great storm raging in your chest.”

Percival stops breathing. He feels himself grow pale, his hands shake all over again. This fucking guilt, this fucking heart.

Very softly, he asks: “What do you want? What’s the price?”

The daemon tilts his head to the side - closes the distance between them. He taps at Percival’s chest. “Your heart,” it says. “Give me your heart, and you will be free. You won’t feel anything at all - no guilt, no worry, ho heartache, no disappointment. You won’t be afraid the ones that you love will grow tired of you; you won’t hurt if they will be disappointed in what you’ve become. Perfectly efficient, perfectly unperturbed, perfectly independent, forever and ever.”

Percival swallows hard. The daemon’s finger seems to burn through the fabric of his coat. “I’d be a monster.”

“You’d be at peace. Imagine, Percival Graves. You will never get angry, never get frustrated - never snap or fight or hurt them because you’re no thinking straight.” The daemon leans in, lips against his ear, a lover’s whisper. “You won’t ever be happy again, but you won’t ever know misery, either. So, what do you say? Will you give my heart?”

Percival clenches his teeth - and thinks. He thinks of Tina’s pale hard face, eyes heavy with disappoitment, of Theseus so far far away, of his mother’s sweet voice calling him cruel. 

Peace, in exchange for my heart.

I have no real use of it anyway.

He turns, and meets the daemon’s strawberry-tinted eyes. “Deal,” he says.

“Excellent,” it says. Then it’s reaching out, and sinking sharp nails in Percival’s chest, and he’s screaming.

When he wakes up, Percival is surrounded by a small crowd of worried faces, and lying on the sidewalk. He climbs back to his feet, gently refusing help or assistance, assuring everyone he feels fine. I skipped breakfast, a moment of weakness.I probably simply tripped on my feet. Thank you, ma’am, thank you, mister. He’s sleek and polished, face a little paler, eyes a little bleaker. On the back of his neck, almost invisible to anyone not looking for it, a heart-shaped mark, in the glossy red of strawberry candies. 

And that’s how Percival Graves became one of the Heartless.

at the museum today there was a family who sounded very british and the son was like 11 and super interested in all things Bugs he was all like “where are the bugs show me the bugs” “we’re here to see bugs” so i showed him our spiders, moths, butterflies, beetles, millipedes, centipedes (centipedes are his favourite insect) and i asked him if he was an aspiring entomologist because he was literally only interested in our insects and he actually was! he was super passionate about it and his parents were nice and supportive which was rlly nice to see. i showed them our insect resin collection and said they could make their own resin collection and theres tutorials for it and his face just Lit Up at the prospect of collecting bugs and putting them in resin and his parents were like “hell yeah lets catch bugs for u” and it was so cute. always nice to see parents supportive of their kids and i hope i was able to encourage him further by showing him our insect collection. his sister did not seem interested in anything tho lol

2

COPAL.  Copal is a  hard, lustrous resin that has dried and solidified. It is  obtained from various tropical trees. It’s primary use is for making varnishes. Amber is similar to copal, but amber has gone through more of a process. This particular piece of copal has several different species of insects trapped within.

Alastair Mackie, Amorphous Organic, 2009, detail.

Chess set and table, made with 5000 year old bog oak, light box, glass, battery, brass, amber, resin, insects, 32 chess pieces

Each chess piece encapsulates a single suspended insect, perhaps millions of years old. The ‘white’ pieces are represented by flying insects and the ‘black’ side by ground based insects. So, for example, the ‘white’ knight is represented by an exotic wasp and the ‘black’ king, by a scorpion. 

8

The Maryanne Moodie team has always been crazy about the wondrous world of color. From the fibers we hand pick for our yarn packs to the hues we surround ourselves with daily, color’s natural ability to awaken our senses is profound and dynamic.

When we think about the spectrum of colors that saturate our clothing, furniture, hair, and paint products, it’s astonishing to realize that, up until 150 years ago, all color was derived from plant and animal materials. The advent of synthetic dyes in the mid 1800’s made it possible to create vibrant colors without the use of natural materials. However, synthetic processes limited the complex diversity of hues that can be achieved using natural dyes. Feeling the need to connect with the rich and global history of natural dyeing and celebrate the colorful bounty of the environment, we embarked on an ambitious venture: to create hand-dyed weaving kits made from our favorite dyes of flora and fauna.

We chose six natural dyes to showcase the range and depth of color that natural materials can produce. Paired with a mix of fibers including silk, cotton, and wool, the end result is a textural medley that would make mother nature one proud mama.

We dyed our fibers using a process known as the cool dyeing method, where the fibers are soaked in a dye pot without the use of heat. Sustainable as it is effective, this method allows color extraction to occur subtly and without the risk of damaging more delicate animal fibers such as silk and wool.

Once our yarn had absorbed the color, the we pulled the skeins from the dye bath to be rinsed and dried. Nothing quite beats seeing the fruit of your labor, especially if it means beholding a mountainous, multicolored spread of freshly dyed fiber.

But we didn’t stop with yarn – the final additions to our Natural Dye Weaving Kit are the hand-dyed logwood and indigo looms. Our logwood looms are a rich, deep magenta that still highlights the natural texture of the original pine. Our indigo looms, dipped twice in a vat of the historical dye, are a mysterious sea-blue.

Paired with a matching yarn pack of a “warm” or “cool” colorway, the complete weaving kit is a visual feast for your eyes and weaving fingers alike. Limited edition, handmade with love, and eco-conscious, this is a great addition to any weaver’s collection. Visit our Etsy to get yours!


To offer a sense of the rich history and colors of our dye materials, here’s a teaser of each!

LAC (Laccifer lacca):

This beautiful pale pink comes from an unexpected, living source – a bug! The female Lac insect produces a hard resin, from which you can extract the dye for this blushing color. In ancient India, this buggy substance was used as a skin beauty treatment.

LOGWOOD (Haematoxylon campechianum):

This brilliant purple harbors quite a sensational history. Extracted from the roots of South America’s yellow heartwood tree, logwood was an incredibly valuable natural dye material from the New World. Struggling for control of logwood forests in the Americas, British and Spanish pirates battled over the valuable dye.

MADDER (Rubia tinctorum):

This ancient dye is also linked to early American history – the red coats of the British, originally dyed with the cochineal beetle, were dyed with madder root during the American Revolution. Madder root is also a key ingredient in the secret and complex recipe for the color “Turkey Red”, which traditionally included calf’s blood, sheep’s dung, and oak galls!

FUSTIC (Chlorophora tinctoria):
This yellow dye, derived from the tree Maclura Tinctoria, was used to dye military uniforms their khaki color during World War I.

OSAGE ORANGE (Maclura pomifera):
This beautiful buttercup color is native to the United States. Originally found in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, the Osage tree now grows across America, and the wood can even be foraged in Prospect Park!

INDIGO (Indicum):

Originally used in India, this valuable dye is now grown in the United States. Introduced by Eliza Lucas Pinckney in colonial America, Indigo quickly became one of colonial South Carolina’s biggest cash crops. Indigo is also traditionally used to dye blue jeans, although most denim you would buy today is synthetically dyed.

Healing with Amber

Color: Golden brown or yellow- green is artificially colored

Appearance: Opaque or transparent resin, insects or vegetation trapped inside, various sizes

Rarity: Easily obtained

Source: Britain, Poland, Italy, Romania, Russia, Germany, Myanmar, Dominica 

Healing: Amber is a powerful chakra cleaner and healer. At a physical level, it imbues the body with vitality and has the power to draw dis-ease out of the body. By absorbing pain and negative energy, amber allows the body to re-balance and heal itself. Amber alleviates stress. It resonates with the throat, treating goiters and other throat problems. It treats the stomach, spleen, kidneys, bladder, liver, and gallbladder, alleviate joint problems, and strengthens the mucus membranes. As an elixir and for wound healing, it is an excellent natural antibiotic. It can stimulate t he navel chakra and help in grounding energies into the body. 

Position: Wear for prolonged periods, especially on the wrist or throat, or place as appropriate. If treating babies or children, it is beneficial for the mother to wear the stone first. 

(Source: The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall)