I can remember at the age of 4 running in the back yard with an empty Smucker's jar in my hands. I was running because I had found a tomato caterpillar (that's what we call them in Illinois) in my father's garden.
Tomato caterpillars were fair game when they were in my father's garden.
My very first job at 4 years of age. Hunting and removing tomato caterpillars from my daddy's garden. Let me tell you I took that job seriously. I would put a caterpillar in a jar with leaves to eat and a branch. I tended my jars of pillars until they all hung upside down from their branches, wrapped in a silky cocoon.
Thank goodness for a mom who saved jars!
I would take jars to the creek for crawdaddies.
I would take jars to the park for ants.
I would take jars to the field behind our house for butterflies.
I would take jars in the backyard at dusk and collect fireflies.
I would take jars to the lake and collect tadpoles.
I would take jars to the big alley next to our house and collect beetles.
Yup, Smucker's jars and tiny eco-worlds were an obsession all the way up to now.
When I was 9 I saw my first Diorama at a natural history museum. The idea of placing deceased taxidermied creatures in a box and re-creating their world absolutely knocked my little socks off! I was enamoured and entranced. Such an odd macabre site, yet, I couldn't get enough.
There was a strong connection to these moment's of life in a glass box that has stayed with me all my life. I have a fetish for creatures in glass cages and aquariums. I visit pet shops just to stand and watch. But the natural museum diorama is the real fix to my addiction.
I have taken these two childhood influences and brought them forward into the I Spy series. I Spy is art and homage and love and memories pouring into every glass jar and box for my I Spy series. It's a family affair, too. Christopher, our son the author, gave me his childhood bug collection to pick and choose resident's for I Spy eco-world's. My husband found this tiny frog, dried up and passed under our cafe table in the sunroom. What a perfect subject! And so...another I Spy Diorama is born in a jar.
I Spy is close to my heart and every piece is one of a kind and will not be reproduced. They are small, they are special and they each carry a childhood love forward. I hope you will find them as engaging and beautiful as those jars and dioramas that influenced me so long ago.