Tess is a British artist based in Frome, Somerset her passion is sourcing antique entomology collections of butterflies, moths and beetles, which she restores to create unique artworks. Tess is inspired by a deep connection with the natural world and a passion for the past.
She carefully weaves together stories and history into each piece, all of which come with a numbered certificates of provenance.
All specimens are strictly non-endangered, ethically and sustainably-sourced. Tess exhibits her work in the UK and in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia.
Artist Statement: “I take seriously my responsibilities in procuring specimens that are from truly sustainable, non-endangered sources. My work is largely made up of older insects from antique collections - I painstakingly repair, restore and remount specimens from pieces that are anywhere from 40 to 130 years old.
A small minority of the specimens in my work are from modern collections. These are insects that are derived from breeding programmes in countries such as Costa Rica, Madagascar and Indonesia, many of which are funded by government bodies in association with local conservation groups. These programmes are an ideal way of researching and safeguarding indigenous species of insects, as well as providing a source of income for the local economy.
Ethical butterfly collecting helps preserve the Earth's ecology since it allows local people to raise butterflies to support their families, giving them an incentive to maintain the rain forests and jungles. By supporting these farming efforts, the land can be kept profitable for the locals without the need to resort to drastic deforestation or industrialisation. It is loss of habitat, not collecting, that harms insect populations.
These specimens will all outlive me and will be records for taxonomy purposes, to illustrate the timeline and evolution of our incredible wildlife. The life-span of many moths and butterflies is just a few days, and so in reality most specimens have died of natural causes before they are prepared. I feel that my displays celebrate the beauty of these incredible creatures, and will be a source of wonder for many generations to come”.