The charming colors, fancy flight and soothing sounds of insects often inspire artists. Concern about the environment, fascination with nature, a love of gardening and the plight of our pollinators are all brought together by artist Karen Ingham and her collection of pollinator frocks. The frocks are designed by the artist and inspired by scientific information and imaging, incorporate studies of insect feeding behavior and utilize the advances in fabric and printing technology.
In addition to floral and vegetation patterns, the fabrics include electron microscope images of pollen grains to create “wearable gardens”. The fabrics can be coated with sugars as food for the pollinators. Some insects find the bright colors and tasty frocks attractive. The fabrics are being placed in varied habitats to test ability to attract pollinators.
As art or butterfly house apparel, perhaps these will capture the typical consumer? However, some features may appeal only to the most hard core entomologists. Many of the important pollinators are Hymenoptera (wasps and bees) that can deliver a painful sting. Flies are important pollinators that may be attracted to the sugars and colors. Flies can be annoying by landing on our skin or flying into our eyes or ears. This apparel is not for the entomophobic.
Despite potential drawbacks, the patterns and art are stunning. This art creates an opportunity to interest and inform the public about the importance and beauty of our insect pollinators. The value of insect pollinators to crop production is an estimated $150-$200 Billion per year. Without insect pollinators, many of our food crops would not exist.
Video about the Pollinator Frock, ecoteki insect art-wear fashion, is on YouTube: