We’re All Ears Design Challenge: Macro Dragonflies

Dragonfly Eyes earrings

Have you ever looked deeply into the eyes of a dragonfly? Martin Amm, the photographer whose macro photos of dew-drop covered dragonflies were chosen for this month’s We’re All Ears earring design challenge, gets you up close and personal with them. And they are truly things of beauty – the photos and the eyes.

Like most insects, dragonflies have multifaceted compound eyes.  However, whereas most insects have a few thousand per eye (like around 6,000 in the common housefly), dragonflies have as many as 30,000 facets, or ommatidia, per eye. Ommatidia. What a fun word.

Because their eyes are so large, and wrap around their heads, dragonflies can see in every direction at once. This is part of what makes them high performance hunters who rarely miss catching their prey. It’s also a large part of what enables them to escape being eaten themselves.

Emeral damselfly macro photo by Martin Amm

Photo credit: Martin Amm.

Whereas humans can see reds, greens, and blues, dragonflies can see all those colors plus ultraviolet. And, they can detect the plane of light polarization. So, they don’t need fancy sunglasses to reduce glare when enjoying a day out on the water.

If dragonflies are one of your favorite insects because you admire their beauty, check out this list of 10 Surprisingly Brutal Facts About Dragonflies. You may find 10 new reasons to admire them. Personally, the fact that a single dragonfly can consume hundreds of mosquitoes per day is a main reason they’re at the top of my list of awesome animals.

Like many jewelry designers, I’ve made my fair share of dragonfly-themed jewelry. The earrings I designed for this challenge are the first I’ve made to pay homage to their remarkable eyes. I used polymer clay, a texture sheet, and mica powders to create my larger-than-life dragonfly ommatidia.

Dragonfly Eyes earrings hanging

The large polymer clay discs were textured and colored to mimic a dragonfly’s iridescent compound eyes. Small vitrail-finish Czech glass beads mimic the dew drops. Earrings are on niobium wire.

The polymer clay dragonfly eye discs are topped with small Czech glass beads. The vitrail finish on the beads mimics the look of the dew drops in the photos. The earrings are on niobium ear wires.

Dragonfly eyes earrings on bottle

A texture sheet was used to create the multifaceted look of compound eyes. Mica powders on black polymer clay create the iridescent effect.

Many thanks to our hostess, Erin Prais-Hintz of Tessori Trovati, for the inspiration this month. Be sure to check out the Earrings Everyday blog to see how Erin interpreted this theme for her earring designs. And then hop over to the links provided by the other participants in the challenge.

32 thoughts on “We’re All Ears Design Challenge: Macro Dragonflies

  1. Cynthia

    ok those are just cool. I’m mean seriously cool. and then there is that fact that dragonflies eat mosquitoes, ok now I kinda love them. just say’n

  2. Divya

    I love dragonflies but they have scary eyes. But as long as they scare mosquitoes away, I am happy 🙂 LOL great interpretation though!!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you so much, Susan. I wasn’t able to add my link on the EE blog because the link-up wasn’t live before I left for work this morning. It’s there now. And a big Thank You for following my blog. 😀

      1. Kathy Lindemer

        I love the beads that you made. You created a stunning pair of earrings with them . Well done!

  3. Sarajo Wentling

    Wow. Your post was inspiring AND informational! Love the dragonfly facts you shared. I’m in love with the polymer discs you made as an homage to dragonfly eyes. Amazing and beautiful. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Sarajo. I have a long-standing fascination with dragonflies so I thought I’d share a bit of that.

  4. Erin Prais-Hintz

    I like that you made the components yourself. A fitting interpretation of the amazing inspiration photos! And I loved reading your fun facts about the dragonflies. Thanks for joining in the We’re All Ears challenge! Enjoy the day! Erin

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Erin. I don’t know how you keep coming up with such amazing inspiration themes, but I look forward to them each month.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Haha. Thanks, Susan. I usually am able to get into the link up before work. I think there just was a glitch this time.

  5. Lynda

    Love that you went above and beyond sharing these interesting tidbits about these fascinating creatures. And wow! Your PC components are fantastic and I can definitely see your inspiration.

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thanks so much, Terri. And I’m glad I helped deepen your appreciation for these amazing insects.

  6. Terri G.

    These turned out fantastic! A great interpretation for this months challenge. Something very satisfactory when we make our own elements…finding, beads etc….

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Thank you, Terri. And I agree. I’m finding I enjoy making and using my own components. Of course, now I need more toys, I mean tools, so I can get into metalsmithing next. 😉

  7. Cindy

    From your informative post, I learned a ton about fascinating dragonflies. Ommatidia is a terrific word. I’ll have to remember that. I am so impressed that you made your own discs. Everything about them is perfect – the shape, the texture, and .. . oh, the iridescent colors. I LOVE the colors. Topped with dewy glass beads, the are PERFECT! I think these are my fav earrings from all the ones created this month. Everything about them mimics the inspiration photo, and they are gorgeous. BRAVO!!!!!!!!!

    1. Tammy Adams Post author

      Oh, thank you so very much, Cindy. Sometimes I really struggle to interpret a challenge theme. This one practically flew out of the photos.

  8. Mona Arnott

    That’s an excellent job of interpretation of the insects. And what fun facts you presented. I enjoyed reading all about them, even the brutal facts.

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