Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Magic of Fireflies: the June Theme Challenge

Firefly/Lightning Bug image found here:

As you may recall, the theme for the June AJE theme challenge is fireflies/lightning bugs and is open to all component makers and jewelry designers. I thought it might be fun to learn a little bit more about fireflies. Especially because I knew absolutely nothing about them except how beautiful they're flashing lights are.

It turns out, what we are witnessing is a call to mate. Males fly around flashing their lights hoping to impress a female. The females stay on a perch on the ground or on a shrub. If they are impressed by what they see, they flash back. If they aren't, they don't flash and the male can't find them in the dark.

Example of amazing photography from Firefly Experience. 

According to the Boston's Museum of Science Firefly Watch website, The female decides which male to mate with based on the nuptial gift she receives. The nuptial gift "contains sperm to fertilize her eggs and food to help nourish them. Research on some species, including a local Photinus, suggests that the female is swayed by the brightness and duration of a male's flash. The more robust male firefly can produce a brighter flash and offer a larger nuptial gift, thus making him the preferred choice."

To most of us, the flash of fireflies look the same as every other. However, there are lots of variations. From the same Firefly Watch website:

Each species of firefly has a fairly distinctive flash pattern, which each differ in a number of ways:
-Number of flashes
-Interval of time between flashes
-Time of night they are active
-Flight pattern
Flashes can vary for a number of reasons, including temperature, time of night, time of year.

Image found on Backyards for Nature
If you are interested, you can volunteer to watch for fireflies in your backyard to help scientists with their research. For more info, visit the getting involved link, and if it sounds like something you would like to do, there's a link at the bottom to sign up. 

The AJE team have been working on their theme pieces a little bit here and there. I showed a few components last time, but we have a couple new pieces to share.

First up is Lesley's stunning firefly pendant: 

firefly pendant lightning bugs lesley watt art jewelry elements blog

And Caroline tried out some prototypes in glass that are just magical:

firefly lightning bugs lampwork glass beads caroline dewison art jewelry elements blog

We hope you'll join us in this challenge! It's super easy to participate. 

1. Goal - Have fun! Try something different! Be inspired by the magic of fireflies! Make something that fits within this theme. This can be an artist bead, a component, or a finished piece of jewelry.    

       *You are free to use any artist bead/component in your design -
  • from an AJE team member 
  • of your own creation
  • from another artisan bead maker... 

2. Share/Reveal - Reveal date June 30th
If you would like to be included in the blog reveal at month's end, please email Jen at jennifer.glassaddictions (at) Since this is open to all, this is the most efficient way to be included. Emails need to be received by June 27th  to be included. 

1 comment :

  1. What an interesting post! Thanks so much and the components are gorgeous.


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