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Three-dimensional insect sculptures by Retha Buitendach Article Image

Three-dimensional insect sculptures by Retha Buitendach

Posted on 24 May 2017

Retha Buitendach creates three-dimensional insects - small sculptures assembled from sticks, leaves, pods and seeds.

She had been creating these imaginary creatures for over twenty years. She scans her surroundings for dried leaves, twigs, rocks, etc that could become a potential foot or mandible of some creature yet to be created. "I started making insects because they are such marvelous yet undervalued creatures and miniature artworks themselves," says Buitendach.

These fantasy insects are very nearly real insects, and Buitendach gives them both a common and Latin name. "My insects are mostly fantasy creatures but with some links to real insects in nature, both in structure and the naming of the newly invented ones," she states.

Buitendach spends roughly three days to a week creating one insect. If she happens to find just the right objects, there is a free flow of creation, but sometimes she may need to go roaming the neighbourhood to find just the right part for legs or a head.

The three-dimensional 'sculptures' are displayed in a box frame between double glass. The frame protects them from dust and damage. "I have framed insects that's twenty years old and still in perfect condition," says Buitendach. "The double glass means that it looks as if the insect is really sitting on your wall and at night it casts a shadow against the wall that looks very real indeed." She can also make specific insects on request - any size.

Stekelstert Stokgogga (Ramulus-animalis spinosus)
Body: Spiny Palm branches, banana flower stalk, Floss silk tree pod, Ceiba spesiosa, reed rootstock
Head: Aloe leaf, Harpagophytum pod, weedy seedpod
Eyes: Erythrina seeds
Legs: Rose twigs, reeds

Scarlet-spotted Peacock moth (Pavo-blatta nocturnus) (detail)
Wings: Pine tree bark, prickly pear leaves, Protea flower bracts,Abrus precatorius seeds
Body: Pine cone, tortoise shell
Head: Protea flower petals, unknown pod, tiger-eye stones
Legs: Pine tree twigs

Sacred Lunar Goliath beetle (Scarabaeus gigantea)
Body: Moreton bay chestnut pods, Shell of Chiton sp.
Head: Acacia erioloba thorn, Cycad seed, crayfish feelers, acorn seed, Quercus sp.
Legs: Rose twigs, Cycad leaves, Floss silk tree pod, Acacia thorns and twigs

Baobab Fever beetle (Amblypelta adansonia) (detail)
Wings: Fever tree bark, Acacia xanthophloea, mussel shells, Acacia nilotica pods
Body: Baobab pod ,Adansonia digitata, Floss silk tree pods, Ceiba speciosa
Head: A piece of wood, tiger-eye stones, porcupine quills
Legs: Aloe leaf, grass stalks

For more on Retha Buitendach, view her artist portfolio.

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