The Magic Behind Moth & Myth, a Seattle Paper Butterfly Company

In the new studio, Walitzki lifts the laser cutter’s glass cover and carefully picks up one of the newly cut butterflies, leaving a double-winged absence on the sheet of paper. Gently, they place the 4 inch piece of paper in their palm and swing their hand back and forth under the lights. A shimmering turquoise explodes on the butterfly’s indigo wings, thanks to a holographic foil pressed into the paper printed with typography. Walitzki turns the butterfly over. Reversed, its wings are almost disappointingly tinted with parchment, with brown veins snaking through the beige.

“This is an accurate specimen,” says Alexander. “This is what the Morpho butterfly will look like: incredibly colorful on the front… and then, because of the forest floor and to protect themselves from predators, they are camouflaged [underneath]. ”

Before founding the company, Walitzki, an amateur painter and entomologist, had always shown an interest in insects and often depicted insects and flowers in their work. Alexander, a painter friend and colleague, shared similar artistic inclinations and interests. (At one point, caterpillars and butterflies were bred in their own Seattle studios.)

One day, Walitzki recalls, “I was doing a portrait where I wanted to cover this live model with butterflies, and I couldn’t find any realistic. Real specimens would have been too fragile. But their daily work in a printing house turned out to be useful. “It was like, ‘I have a printer here, I have a laser cutter. I’ll just try to make some.

After placing the resulting paper-cut butterflies on a model for a painting, Walitzki began wearing the designs as jewelry or hair clips when attending art events – where people were quick to try to purchase them. When Walitzki gave in and started selling the butterflies on Etsy, they sold steadily.

About Debra D. Johnson

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