Beetles, Inspirations and All In Between…


I named this blog post “Beetles, inspirations and all in between…” because “Beetles” will be my theme and inspiration for the next time and “all in between” is the reason why I urgently need some theme and inspiration right now:

The last weeks I was not really creating a lot. Work and colds had me tightly in their claws. Sometimes there are not enough hours in a day. I know that I should take a little bit more care about me but I work in research and we all are just project funded. At the end of the day it is not only my position depending on me. *sighs* You may wonder why I am still doing this “job”. In the end because it is more than a job. I can’t describe how much I love research, to have ideas, plan the experiments, see the students grow, and more than everything else, finally see the data! It is not always what was expected (most of the time actually, but otherwise it wouldn’t be research?) and there is nothing comparable to the rush when you have a puzzle piece before you that right now and here is in this moment yours only. Okay, the next impuls (and if you have scientist who are really loving the job, they all do it no matter age or status ;)) is to run around and shout out to everyone: “Look! Looooooooook!”

Some of my beetle wings earrings I love to make. I have several just for myself: Simply the wings alone as well as combined as above with gorgeous czech glass beads. Nothing compares to the shimme and shine of real beetle wings. Just so you know: I get mine from thailand as leftover from food beetles. They live several years in their larval state and just a few weeks in their adult form.

A lot of the people I studied with who were good and really loved science left research. Not because they didn’t love it anymore but rather because they couldn’t stand all what goes around. It is a loss for science sadly. My way to cope with the stress is to create. Every day a little bit, even if it would be only for five minutes. But being also ill for the last weeks I didn’t manage (even though I really need it!). As soon as I start I begin to relax and enjoy it – but do you know this moment where you don’t have any energy left to start? Even if rationally you know how good it would be for you?

This one is from my last blog post here at Art Elementes “Gorgeous crustiness“. I used two beetle wings over a body of polymer clay.

To get out of this I went to our art supply store with a friend. I allowed myself just to buy things to play with. New colours I could test without the need to have a project. It still took some more time to start because I also thought more about whether there was a theme I could easily play with. 

I have a lot of notes for ideas and projects but all of them seemed to be so big. I wanted something that would require minutes not hours or even days. Minutes…. so then I thought why not play more with the beetle theme that we had on our keep-us-sane-weekly-challenges at the Art Elements team? Also beetles and beetle wings are a constant theme in my work over the years. It would be great to explore it a little bit deeper.

A collection of my beetle beads and pendants I made with ceramic clay. I went with a more abstract / simplified version of the scarabeus reminiscent of the egyptian ones. I tried different colour combinations but you see my preference for blue/green/turquoise 😉 The crackle glaze is my absolute favorite glaze ever (Orient Blue from Botz, the two beetles on the right lower and middle row are glazed with it)!

Coming back to the beginning of my blog post: I am now working in cell / molecular biology / genetics working in the are of cell-based therapies. I never would have chosen the “classical” pathways like botany or zoology classification. But I am and always was fascinated of the unbelievable beauty you can find in nature. One requirement during my studies (I had to take two years also with botany and zoology) was to have a beetle collection. I never like the killing part but, oh well, I love the hunting part. To search around you, crawl in the thick forest, climbing on trees, looking under every stone… and there they were, beautiful hidden jewels no matter how basic and plain their colouring was. If you look closer every beetle is a masterpiece!

A mixed media image I made for one of our weekly-keep-us-sane challenges 🙂

Don’t worry, I only did this once as study requirement and then no more. I have to admit that I always loved the hunting part, even as a little child. I was able to catch lizard, fish and even birds by hand (don’t now anymore how I did this…). Of course I let them go and as soon as I knew how to do this, I never did it again. But as a side note: I love playing pokemon go (as many of my biology friend too but pscht…! ). It allows me to have the hunting part without stressing any animal. 

This is one of my small work-in-progress pieces from today playing with my new material. I painted a small stone with acrylic paint and ink (I got pebble grey as acrylic paint and primary blue cyan as acrylic ink, both from Schmincke, to be added to my colour collection 😉 ). The water colour paper is 5×5 cm and handmade. A lovely size to play with especially if I want without pressure with fast and small experiments.

I realize I am a little bit rambling here. I hope you’ll excuse it and maybe gives you a better insight about my person. Being a scientist and my drive to create, both comes from the same need inside me. I hate repetitions and I am easily bored. A lot of things I won’t ever truly master because as soon as I am able to do it, I want something new “to play with”. I love challenges, puzzles, the questions research throws at you where it is sometimes more challenging to get how to solve a problem than about the answer itself. And there I thrive 🙂

These beetle wings are on my table in this unfinished state for some weeks. I wanted to create some earrings and a smaller pendants with crusty surfaces. As you see, I only started on one pair and they still have a long way to go. But they are all backed up with a polymer clay body. Normally I wouldn’t reinforce the wings since chitin is one of the strongest materials there is but with all the added “stuff” on top, it would feel unbalanced for me.

So, here are some old and new pieces I created. All around the theme “beetle”. I think this theme may be with me for some time this year! It helped me to start my small motivational pieces because right now I feel better and am also tempted to stay up all night to get all my ideas done. No, I won’t do this but having some new supplies to play with, a time/size limit on my projects and a theme to go by, I finally started creating again. I needed it.

I am sorry for the picture. They whole weekend was rainy and dark, so I had to use some artifical light. These ones are also work in progress from this weekend. Normally I would make a whole batch but as I wrote above, just small and fast projects this time. So the little ones will be stud earrings. They are made with polymer clay, some golden metal leaf, embossing powder and acrylic paint already added. They still need one or two light layers on top to create a little bit more depth.

Moreover, you’ll also find a lot of gorgeous work around “beetles” at the Art Elements team! But I am also curious if you have some work around this or some inspirations you would share with me? You know me, I am curious! 🙂


Claire Fabian

Claire Fabian loves to experiment with materials and ideas. She needs to create to “keep her sane” and the process of creation itself is the most important in her work. She is drawn to weird things, to organic and natural textures and loves a tribal and ancient vibe. She makes beads as well as jewellery, but also loves mixed media pieces and little sculptures. Amongst her favourite materials is polymer clay, ceramic clay, all kind of metals, glass beads as well as everything found in nature. She is also working in research which may explain her desire to experiment.
  1. Reply

    I’m a recently retired scientist/professor just starting out in jewelry. There are so many areas of science to inspire creativity, the beauty of our world that everyone can see, should they choose, to the cellular intricacies that support all living things. It’s that feeling of wonder that continues to drive my work now just as it did in science. There’s joy in the “aaa haaa!” moment when the answer becomes crystal clear whether it be the understanding of a biochemical pathway or the shape of a beetle wing pendant. Thank you for giving us a little insight into your special person.

  2. Reply

    I loved reading this – the challenges of balancing “job” with creative work, the fact that you love both being a motivating factor. I am in a similar situation so I can totally relate. I adore your beetle explorations and your fascinating history in the subject makes them all the more wonderful.

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