4 Mar 2017

Larger Than Life Creatures Come Alive

Bruce Langridge

I love working with the Stitching Bs

This group of stitchers, who meet up in the Garden twice a month, keep producing new work of such high standard, and about such fascinating but obscure subjects, that I just have to tell people about them.

This week I popped up to our Science Centre to see a new project they’re working on – making larger than life creatures that are native to each of the six geographical areas represented inside the Great Glasshouse. The idea is that these stitched animals will be put in place in time for the Easter holidays when we’ll be creating a trail for kids to go and look for them.  We think the grown ups are going to love them too. I know I do.

So what are they?

There the southern rock agama Agama atra, a South African reptile that lives on rocky mountainous outcrops. The heads of males turn blue in the breeding season so the one created by stitcher Pat James, is clearly ready for the ladies.

The honey possum  Tarsipes rostratus is a small marsupial from south-west Australia. Being mainly nocturnal, it sleeps during the day inside the hollows of grass trees – luckily, we’ve got a few of them in our Great Glasshouse. Stitchers Glenys Richards-Jones and Elinor Touramaim have made a pair of real cuties.

You might want to run away if you saw the scorpion Mesobuthus gibbosus in its eastern Mediterranean coastal habitat – it packs a powerful venom. The pair made for us by Margaret Thomas and Nicola Marriott might lack venom but, boy, do they grab attention.

Marysia Penn’s Canary blue butterfly Cyclyrius webbianus is about 3cm wide in the wild coastal areas of the Canary Islands but Marysia’s male butterfly must be over 30cm. Fellow stitcher Maggie Cornelius is creating a more orange female version. Someone else wants to make a caterpillar of this beautiful butterfly.but we can’t find a picture of one. Can you help?

Finally, I found a green-backed firecrown Sephanoides sephaniodes on top of a table along with lots of new stitch works destined for a pollinator display. Rhian Simons has created this Chilean species of hummingbird which is known to hang from the flower petals by its feet.

That just leaves the Californian yucca moth. I’m sure that will be ready when the Easter holidays start on 8th April.