Since finding a large European wasp nest in her loft, Kent artist Louisa Crispin has been fascinated by these tiny, yet despised creatures and has spent several years trying to change opinions.
“While I have always been interested in nature, drawing and studying insects only happened in the last 12 years and the closer I looked the more I realised how exquisite many of these creatures are.
While drawing, my mind wanders and I needed to learn more about where I might see them, what they eat and how they develop. The lifecycle of the butterfly is well documented but I know far less about any of the other insects.
I was introduced to the concept of “Nature Corridors” in 2017 by Nikki Gammans when I joined her Bumblebee Identification course at RSPB Dungeness. My main takeaway from this event was the problems created when groups of species get isolated in small pockets of land. Apart from the obvious catastrophic events, such as flooding or fire or lack of food, there are other issues arising from lack of diversity such as male sterility in Bumblebees.
Drawing wasps, a beautiful but much maligned creature, invites conversation and I realised that I could be an ambassador for helping people understand more about our insects.
Research led me to Buglife UK and the amazing B-Lines project and I felt the pieces slot into place with my new body of work. I aim to encourage people to think about the barriers to connectivity by collaborating on a concertina sculpture just 25mm high. As the pieces are folded together we catch glimpses of the drawings reflecting the fragmented, isolated locations and the stepping stones required to restore nature.”
If you would like to get involved, Louisa will send you a short length of paper for you to draw on. Their small size is intended to focus you to look closer at the small creatures as you draw or paint –
insects, flowers, trees, meadows etc or maybe just the colours of nature – anything to represent a network of pollination pathways throughout the UK.
While drawing, consider your own environment – is your garden wildlife friendly? How many insects have you seen today? Does your local park have areas where the grass is left to grow longer and wildflowers bloom? What are your favourite insects? Why are you scared of wasps or spiders?
The returned drawings will be collated into a “Great Big Wildlife Corridor” to be displayed at the Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks later this year.
Read more about how to get involved here.