A bug in the works / by Chris Maynard

 Shelter 2

Shelter 2

To make the background for this piece, I took apart, flattened, and pasted a big paper wasp nest. It was just finished and framed when I noticed a bug crawling around inside. Apparently, the paper had hid a little beetle living in a fold. The beetle chose to come out an hour after I had sealed up the entire piece. So now I have to take it apart, remove the beetle, and freeze the whole thing—which is what I should have done to the wasp nest in the first place like I do to all my feathers.

Feathers have bugs too, which are adapted for living and chewing on them. They have mites. And certain beetles can eat feathers. Fortunately, a few 48-hour, zero degree Fahrenheit chillings kills these tiny creatures, so I have never had a problem as long as the feathers are stored in a sealed place. I have two shadowboxes full of arranged and still perfect feathers that has been around for 25 years.