nine months

When I discovered how bad the moth problem had gotten in my studio, I hung one of my wool-covered wire sculptures in a lilac bush in front of my house. I planned to photograph it every month for a year. And I did, for many months, even though I sometimes felt it was kind of boring.

This month, boredom almost stopped me. I wasn’t going to take a picture, but I did go out and look at it. And it was covered with snow, which was different. So here is a picture:

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eight months | seven months | six months

five months | four months | three months

two months | one month | the beginning

six months

I was going to go for a walk, but it started pelting cold little raindrops on me before I got to the end of the driveway. So I took this photograph and came back inside:IMG_0625

I saw two moths in the studio a couple of weeks ago. Neither of them ended up in the trap. I’m not sure what to make of that. I hope they’re not a sign of an impending moth population explosion.

five months | four months | three months

two months | one month | the beginning

two months

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As you can see, there’s lots more rust than there was last month.

And what have I up to, while my little sculpture has been busily rusting?

– Killing bugs. I have become a Bug Killing Machine. In addition to the ongoing moth issues in my studio, there are carpenter ants in the southwest corner of my house. I hear them in the living room ceiling, chewing and chewing and chewing. It’s an awfully big noise for such small creatures. The walls have been injected with poison, and I have contractors lined up to take the house apart and deal with the rot (carpenter ants love rotting wood) later this summer.

– Cleaning the mouse smells out of my car. Nature’s Miracle has become one of my favorite things ever.

– Regular vigorous walks.  Also squats and lunges and push-ups, oh my.

– Exploring materials other than wool for my next sculpture

– Trying, as always, to find a balance between solitude and connection.

more cleaning

More cleaning today. Took down all the small felted sculptures in the back room.

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Some of them went in the trash. Others are in my freezer.

One of “birdhouses” had a pair of moths in it. I hung it from a lilac bush in my yard, and will try to photograph it every month so we can all watch it weather.

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If you look closely, you can see one of the moths inside.

Other things that are in the freezer include Lindsay’s wig and necklaces.

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The freezer is very full.

A couple of the smaller sculptures got thoroughly sprayed with insecticide. The bigger ones in the front room too.

What really bothers me about this whole mess is the hat I made a couple of months ago. It is out there in someone else’s life, possibly with moth eggs in it. I feel sick.

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spring cleaning

The moths are back. They are almost definitely Tineola bisselliella, in case that matters to anyone. I set traps last summer, and I caught a lot of them. Then the traps stayed empty for a few months, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

But now they’re back. When I sit down on the sofa, I inevitably disturb a moth or two. They skitter across my mat while I’m practicing yoga. I actually kind of love them. They are quiet, and they don’t bite. The adult moths don’t even have mouths. If only their children weren’t eating my work…

This time around, I can see the evidence of them in my stash of fleece: eggs, frass, the web of a cocoon. It’s easy to miss in a big fluffy pile, especially when the wool tends to have little bits of leaves and grass in it. But it’s there.

Their favorite food and nesting material seems to be the pre-felted fleece that I used to cover “butterfly soup.” Someday maybe it will be okay with me if her skin gets eaten away. There’s a little part of me that thinks it would be interesting to watch. But not this year, please.

So every day I go into the studio and do a little more purging. I have thrown out the first felted wire sculptures I made. Small experiments, not much bigger than my fist.

I threw out a lot of fleece. Sorry, sheep! Sorry, farmers! Sorry, past versions of me! On the other hand, think of the birds and rodents and (yes) moths that may get to enjoy it now that it’s not in my studio anymore!

The things I couldn’t bear to get rid of are stashed in my freezer,where I am hoping the cold will kill any eggs that might be hidden in them. I am looking for good airtight containers to store them in when they come out of hibernation. And I am hoping I haven’t accidentally brought any eggs home with me.