Collection of found objects assembled in a commercial Riker mount to suggest two butterflies.

record spindle adapters, nose spray clip, pool tile, anodized pulltabs,
wire nut, plastic-coated wire hanger, pill bottle caps, dropped glass beads,
paper clips, broken bicycle reflector, Riker mount.

This project replaces my earlier flotsam fly, which was a poorly-named and -executed effort to preserve a little assemblage butterfly I put together one day while playing with some junk. This version better fulfills my original vision, which was to display a collection of found-object butterflies as I would real lepidoptera. That plan, however, had to wait on the conception of at least one other butterfly assemblage which, together with my original concept, would provide a modest "clutterfly collection."

Close-up of assemblage.  Click for larger image.

The second clutterfly came to me while I was sitting in a boring physics lecture. Its primary element is a continuous piece of bent coathanger wire. The gaps were filled in from my junk box. My first flotsam fly was broken out of its resin embedding and reassembled, together with the wire clutterfly, in a commercial display box designed for the presentation of real butterfly specimens called a "Riker mount." The pieces are sandwiched between the foam padding that fills the box and the glass cover, and are held in place only by friction. (This quality makes Riker-mounting an ideal medium for small assemblages, by the way. The pieces require no glue or other means of interconnection. All that is necessary is to juxtoppose them properly on the foam and put the lid, which is held in place by four long pins, into position.)

The sticker on the backside of the Riker mount, with the title, artist's signature, date, and forensic image.

Owing to the friction-only design of the Riker mount, "clutterflies" is a bit fragile, just like a real butterfly collection. Just like a real butterfly collection, however, damage can be repaired if one has all the pieces, a bit of patience, and an understanding of what the original specimen looked like. Lepidopterists can use photographs of real animals when doing this type of forensic work; someone repairing the "clutterflies" has no such resource. Therefore, an image of the assembled original has been included on the back of the piece, with the artist's signature, to aid in reconstruction if it proves necessary.