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Jo Anne Russo

Altered Book:

Insects of the World, Walter Linsenmaier (1972)

Waxed linen caterpillar stitches on cover, moth specimen pinned inside.

Artist Statement

On April 22, 2022, a study published in the journal Nature identified a clear and alarming link between the climate crisis and high-intensity agriculture. Evidence showed that in places where those impacts are particularly high, insect abundance has already dropped by nearly 50 percent, while the number of species has been slashed by 27 percent. The results showed that “insect biodiversity will probably benefit from mitigating climate change, preserving natural habitat within landscapes and reducing the intensity of agriculture.”

My RE-covery II book, Insects of the World is intended to keep this important topic current, promote understanding, and encourage us all to do what we can to avoid an insect apocalypse. Insects are vital to the ecological survival of life on Earth; 96 percent of songbirds feed insects to their young, 35 percent of the world’s food crop depend on them, 80 percent of all the flowering plants need insects for pollination, and the list goes on. Insects sustain all life on Earth, especially human.

Reference: Outhwaite, C. L., McCann, P. & Newbold, T. “Agriculture and climate change are reshaping insect biodiversity worldwide,” Nature 605, 97–102 (2022).

Short Bio

Insects have become my obsession, especially moths, so it was fitting to select Insects of the World to re-cover. I used a book binding stitch to sew caterpillars to the cover, along with a moth specimen, that was collected at my home in Vermont, placed inside the book.

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