Painting, Sculpture, and the Lone Caterpillar
By Rachel Fleming and Caterpillar(s)

Started on: 05/18/14 13:50:46
Medium: Visual

Even thought I've only had my caterpillar for the last few days, I think there's potential for me to create art inspired by my connection with him/her. My original intent was to create art using the main activity of caterpillars: eating. However, this does not appear to be possible with monarchs, which I discovered very recently. Still, there is probably something I can do to salvage the value of my encounters with the monarchs for this class.

My latest idea involves painting my fascination/connection with the caterpillars and supplementing this with a sculpture of gnawed-on leaves that I've collected.

I still have one caterpillar, though, and can potentially do something more with him/her. I'll add more details shortly.
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Project Updates
05/20/14 18:39:16 - My Big Surprise

After the incident with the two lost caterpillars, I decided to take the best care possible with my last hope. I went out to fetch more milkweed and put it in a new container (with a lid!). With my last caterpillar all set, I left for school the next day. When I returned that evening, I peered inside the container but AGAIN saw no caterpillar! I was in did it disappear from a closed container? I figured perhaps it had died and shriveled up somewhere inside. I inspected the leaves and the bottom of the container. On the bottom I saw a tiny bundle of dry, striped material with a little antennae jutting out. I was saddened, thinking that my caterpillar had died. But then I remembered something...while I was reading about caterpillar metamorphosis, I recalled that they shed their skin before making a chrysalis. I then searched the two milkweed branched I had put in and suddenly it hit me...right under my nose was a small, light-green cocoon. hanging from a thin branch near the top of the container. My eyes widened and I gasped. It was so beautiful--colorful, glossy, and smooth!

This reminds me of something Deke Weaver described during our discussion with him. He said that the greatest reward for discovering something new is the feeling of complete surprise, like what a few people felt when they were the first to rediscover native paintings on a rock. No one told those people that there was a painting right around the corner and their experience was greatly deepened by the shock they had. The same goes for me...I wasn't expecting my caterpillar to make a cocoon so soon and I had never seen one before. In fact, I was expecting that the opposite had happened...instead of moving on to the next stage of its life, I expected it had ended.

I then wondered if I had overlooked the cocoons of the other caterpillars when I set the old leaves in the bushes by my apartment. I looked back to them but didn't see anything. Whether or not they escaped and made their cocoons in my apartment will probably be a mystery for the next ten days or so.

I anticipate the butterfly to emerge in 9 days or so. I removed leaves nearby the cocoon so that it can stretch and dry its new wings when it does come out. Imagine the chemistry happening inside that little bundle right now! I'll post pics soon.

The tiny skin I saw at the bottom of the container

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