Gooty Tarantula

After the riot of colour that was the Geometric Tortoise, this was more 50 shades of brown. But it yielded some good things.

To create the dry bark environment of this spider, I started with piecing the patches of felt and velvet together.

Then I added detail with couched threads, surface stitching and french knots.

To describe the bark texture, I back-stitched rows across the whole piece.

Simplicity itself? OK here’s something cool:

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s a tea bag. Obviously.

Brilliant tutorial on YouTube. I didn’t invent this witchcraft.

Finally, he needs a web. I was well into my pyro at this point, so I got the incense sticks out again.

Synthetic organza, melts pleasingly.

The critically endangered Gooty Tarantula (aka peacock parachute spider, metallic tarantula) only exists in a single, small area – the dry, deciduous forest of Andhra Pradesh, India. It’s habitat is rapidly degrading due to logging and firewood harvesting. Another threat is specimen collection of this stunning arachnid for the pet trade. Population size is unknown, but the combination of its small natural range and the habitat threats indicate a declining population trend. I urge you to google this species, even if you’re not a spider lover. It is otherworldy beautiful.

Animals – of any kind – are not possessions, not objects. It was shocking how many websites and YouTube videos belonging to ‘owners’ and collectors popped up in a simple Google search, when researching this species. Perhaps even more offensive is how I couldn’t find a single one of those sources that mentioned the fact that this is one of the most threatened and rare insects in the world, and should be in the care of conservation projects, not hobbyist’s garages.

I guess I always knew this, final piece on my Hallowed Ground series, would never be the crowd pleaser of, say, the riot of colour Geometric tortoise or the forest floor of the Rio Pescado toad.

It’s a bit of a Monet this one – looks a bit crude close up but takes on its charm at a distance. I wanted to describe the dry, peeling bark of the forest where it clings to existence. Imbuing aesthetic appeal was more challenging with such a limited range, both in colour and environmental variety.

I hope I’ve done these species some tribute. I hope you’ve learnt something and thought something and felt something.

Please contact me if you’re interested in purchasing any of these pieces.

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