Becky Thatcher Designs is inspiring conversations around habitat restoration and insect protection through her new endangered insect jewelry line. Stop by her Northern Michigan stores in Glen Arbor, Traverse City and Leland to support the Endangered Insects Collection and her efforts with Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

This is an official press release brought to you by MyNorth News Service and Becky Thatcher Designs.

Inspired by a chance encounter with an MSU entomologist while redesigning his wife’s engagement ring, Michigan jewelry designer Becky Thatcher embarked on a journey to protect some of nature’s smallest creatures: endangered insects. “When you can see a problem, it’s easier to tackle. These insects are hard to see,” notes Thatcher. So she took action. With an objective to raise awareness of the importance of insects and protect their threatened environment, she created the Endangered Insect Collection. Each sale from this elegant line of jewelry includes a donation to support the restoration of native habitat in northern Michigan.

The Endangered Insect Collection by Becky Thatcher Designs honors the balance of the natural world in our own backyard. Insects and pollinators are the building blocks of our environment, worthy of notice and protection.

This collection embodies a two-year journey to reflect the issues of our time. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind design featuring Becky’s illustrations of six Michigan endangered or imperiled insect species; the Karner blue butterfly, Mitchell’s satyr butterfly, Hine’s emerald dragonfly, Hungerford’s crawling water beetle, secretive locust, and rusty-patched bumblebee.

Photo by Becky Thatcher Designs

Photo by Becky Thatcher Designs

Research and thoughtful observation inspired the designs and led to the discovery of a new process to capture the beauty and fragility of the subject. Thin sheets of blackened steel are hand-engraved to reveal detailed impressions, stamped like fossils in a textured silver surface. The hand-engraving process is reflective of the vulnerability of the imagery it represents. A merger of art and life, where ghostly images convey their imperiled state.

To create this delicate work Thatcher needed a master engraver. She searched for almost two years until Alison Simmons walked through her front door with an application to work the sales counter. With a BFA in metalsmithing, Alison’s skills were quickly identified and put into action. Today she carefully translates Becky’s original sketches with a delicate hand underneath a microscope. Each piece lists the name of the species engraved letter by letter on the back.

The Endangered Insect Collection includes bracelet cuffs, stamped earrings, and large circular Vario pendants with interchangeable chains. Each piece features one insect, positioned so no two are alike. They are priced under $500 and available at Becky Thatcher Designs studio in Glen Arbor, the downtown Traverse City store, and by virtual showing.

According to Becky the response to the collection has been inspiring. “People are trying to mix native plants into their garden, tearing out lawn to put in prairie grasses and flowers to keep different things blooming. So it’s really been fun to have conversations about restoring habitat and appreciating insects. Can you imagine the world without a Karner blue butterfly?”

Becky Thatcher Designs is donating 10% of sales from the Endangered Insects Collection to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy for use in habitat restoration. Nature’s small creatures —insects and pollinators—are among our endangered and imperiled species. You can help them fight for survival by adding native plants to your garden, removing harmful chemicals, and appreciating the biodiversity that supports the splendor that is Michigan.

Photo by Becky Thatcher Designs

About Becky Thatcher Designs

Becky Thatcher Designs creates fine art jewelry that reflects and preserves the beauty of Northern Michigan. For over 35 years artist Becky Thatcher has created distinctive designs inspired by the hues and textures of the landscape that surround her studio in Glen Arbor, Michigan. Their handmade jewelry features locally sourced beach stones, precious metals, and finely cut gemstones from across the globe. Their flagship studio is located in Glen Arbor, Michigan at 5795 Lake Street, just steps away from Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Additional retail stores are located in downtown Traverse City and Leland, MI.

Photo(s) by Becky Thatcher Designs