I decided that my next thread painting would be of a cecropia moth. So I have transferred a life-sized drawing of a female cecropia moth onto fabric and selected the color palette of threads. I chose this striking moth in honor of my unforgettable childhood experience of raising cecropia moths from egg to full-grown moth.
When I was about 12-13 years old my father came home from his overnight shift at the airport hanger with a cecropia moth--a huge, exquisitely beautiful creature with a wingspan of about 6 inches. I brought it into my room and watched it fly around and deposit hundreds of tiny pinkish-yellow eggs in various locations throughout my room. I collected the eggs and put them into an aquarium. The mother moth died a few hours after laying the eggs. I spent that summer raising dozens of caterpillars that hatched from the eggs. They started out as tiny black and fuzzy but rapidly outgrew the aquarium and my ability to feed them fast enough. Within a month of hatching, I had to move the caterpillars outside to lilacs and maple trees around my house. I continued to keep track of them and watch them grow into enormous fat brilliant green caterpillars nearly five inches long decorated with colorful spikes. At the end of the summer, they spun silky grey cocoons and remained attached to the tree branches through the winter. I was blessed the following spring by witnessing several of the cocoons split open to reveal marvelous, beautiful, huge cecropia moths!
It was an experience from my childhood that I will never forget, and to this day cherish deeply. I am really looking forward to creating this thread painting!
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About My Work
Before I became a monk I made a living creating art. When I took the five Buddhist precepts in 2002 I was given the dharma name Do'an (pronounced Doe-ahn), which loosely means "path of the eye". From that moment on, the focus of my art shifted toward contemplative practice, in which I used meditation and breath to facilitate my creativity. I studied Asian brush painting and calligraphy techniques, which had a great influence on my painting style and composition. In 2008 I discovered fiber. I learned to knit, spin yarn, needle felt and weave.