I found my first cicada wing when I was about 5 years old. It was delicate, with one small tear at the top and being dragged away by a procession of ants. I thought it was a faerie wing. I ‘rescued’ it from the ants and marveled at the tiny veins and translucent color. I placed the faerie wing in a little box with my special things.
Till this day cicada wings remind me of my childhood whimsy. They are ephemeral, delicate, and beautiful, each one perfectly made.
I began collecting them for use in my art. I would make tiny ornaments and collages featuring the wings as the focal point.
But I wanted to create something that would really let the beauty of the wings shine, and that would allow me to enjoy that whimsy in my day to day life.
I wanted to make them into jewelry. I began experimenting with ways to preserve the wings and make them strong enough to endure wear. After a few months of testing different methods, I finally settled on a way that worked.
My initial method was pretty labor intensive. I was able to complete a few sets of wearable earrings, that I offered to friends and family, and brought along to art fairs. Ultimately they took too much time to create for me to continue making.
I put the project on the back burner, but kept experimenting with cure time, and my method of preserving the wings.
I’m happy to report that I’ve finally worked out the kinks in my method, and can consistently create sturdy, perfectly preserved cicada wing. The resulting cicada jewelry captures the sense of fairy tale whimsy I was dreaming of.
I work in small batches, creating about 6-7 pairs of earrings per batch. I then let them cure for about a month to make sure there are no problems with preservation. I then attach the earring posts and any additional charms, but usually keep it simple.
I am very happy with the cicada wing earrings that I create. They remind to look for wonder in the ordinary, and to create it when I do not find it. That fairy tales are more than stories, and that I am in charge of my own story. And that maybe that wing I found in the woods so long ago, really did come from a faerie.
~Autumn Rozario Hall
Notes: No cicadas are harmed in the making of my jewelry.
Jewelry is available through my Etsy Shop
Wire and earrings posts come from small businesses based in the U.S.
Charms and attachments come from small businesses based in the U.S. or are upcycled items.