Ghosts of Christmases Past: Where have the Christmas Beetles gone? (2022)
Do you remember past Christmases swarming with hordes of chunky and beautifully iridescent beetles all along the south east Australian coast? Nowadays, it’s pretty special to spot an isolated Christmas beetle on a summer day. Worldwide, insect populations are declining due to human impacts including habitat destruction and climate change, and the Christmas beetle is no exception.
In western Sydney, the Cumberland Plain woodland – once filled with the eucalyptus trees that adult Christmas beetles feed on – now covers less than 10% of its original area, a victim of Sydney’s voracious appetite for urban land.
This miniature artwork centers around a mezzotint print. A mezzotint is created by roughening up a copper surface with tiny burrs (so that it would print entirely black) and then by meticulously scraping and polishing the burrs away in certain areas so that a lighter coloured image emerges. This process, working from black to white, results in a beautifully velvety and deep black background. The framing message is created from a hand carved linocut, printed in a subtle silver-grey shade.
This piece is hand printed as a limited edition of 25 prints, on 300 gsm Hahnemühle paper, roughly 13.4 x 19 cm in size. The mezzotint image is 4 x 8 cm. On request, I can mount the print in an 8″ x 8″ mat board for you, so it’s ready to pop into a standard sized frame.
The edition number you see here is not necessarily the artwork available.