For Evansville native and Amothecary owner Tara Bouillet, the illuminating blue of a Scarce Morpho butterfly or abstract pattern on an Oleander Hawk Moth’s wings are as artistic as it gets.
Since January 2020, Bouillet has turned her love of entomology (the study of insects) into a creative business selling pinned insect shadow boxes. The hobby was fostered throughout her lifetime by her grandparents Suzanne, a former professor of microbiology at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Indiana, and Jules “Tony” Bouillet, a wooden wildlife carver.
“My whole life, I was fairly artistic,” says Bouillet. “I guess once I started realizing that I liked doing insect art, it just took off from there, and I realized it probably had to do with all the time I spent with my grandparents when I was younger.”
Each specimen, which has died of natural causes, from her two bug dealers — an insectarium in Louisville, Kentucky, and an insect sanctuary in Thailand — must be rehydrated, pinned, and dried, a process that averages more than seven weeks.
The shadow boxes cost between $50 and $150 and are sold at Corkscrew Curiosities (2250 S. Green St., Unit B., Henderson, KY) and online.
“It makes me so happy that people appreciate nature and want to have it in their homes,” says Bouillet. “I feel super fortunate that they’ve chosen my artwork to be able to put up and enjoy.”