Hi, All! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I, for one, am enjoying the break!
I thought I would catch up on some art during the mini vacay. My current science/art fix: Drosophila wings!
Drosophila, commonly known as fruit flies, are more than pesky insects in your fruit basket. For genetics, fruit fly research was the key to some amazing discoveries that fostered our basic understanding of genes, chromosomes, and inheritance. (Good article, science buffs!) As an undergrad, I briefly studied the wing disc, a little packet of cells in fruit fly larvae destined to become the wing and body wall (resulting publication here).
Wings are incredibly important for the survival of insects. They are necessary to find food, avoid predators and find a mate, so their correct development is crucial. That is to say, if anything goes wrong with the timing or location of gene expression, the wing can be misdeveloped or even missing in the adult fly. As such, the wings have been studied and manipulated to better understand this development. The wings also serve as a unique tool for fly researchers (known as “fly pushers”) to screen and track mutations. (My favorite is the curly wing.)
To make the wing earrings, I started by tracing the outline of one wing on clear plastic (you can use tracing paper or even parchment paper). Only trace 1 outline per size; you can simply flip your outline to make the mirror image.
I used translucent Premo polymer clay mixed with a bit of pearl for shimmer and rolled it out fairly thin to keep them transparent. Then, I traced the outline onto the clay to get guides for cutting.
Ater baking, I hand painted the wing veins and added detail with acrylic paint.
Finally, I used resin on both sides to add a smooth glossy and durable finish. Glass beads top these pieces.
These are up on Etsy. Thanks for Reading. =)