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These beautiful pieces are the unusual collaboration between man and insect, or more specifically, between French artist Hubert Duprat and a busy little crew of caddis fly larvae.



Duprat, passionate about nature since childhood and aware of the insect since spending time in southwestern France watching prospectors pan for gold in the Ariège river, and the larvae, a small winged insect, closely related to the butterfly that lives near streams and ponds, started their collaboration all the way back in the early 1980's. In their larvae state, the insects manufacture cases to protect their developing bodies using a variety of materials; springs of plants, small bits of gravel, shells of snails, or grains of sand. But noticeably adaptable, the larvae are no strangers to incorporating other materials laying around in their habitat if it is suitable and up for grabs.



So Duprat started collecting the little larvae and bringing them back to his studio. There, he carefully prods them out of their own natural cases and re-houses them in aquariums filled with substitute materials for them to re-construct their protective sheaths. First he used gold spangles but gradually added beads of turquoise, opal, and coral, as well as rubies, sapphires, diamonds and tiny rods of 18-karat gold. The larvae binds the materials together with silk thread and upholsters the inside of the case with a lining, also that made of silk.



When the larvae develops its wings it abandons the case which Duprat saves as a little piece of art. Together, Duprat and the larvae have created these remarkably beautiful cases, steered by Duprat but with the insect having ultimate creative control.






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