Monarch Box No. 390, detail of interior and removed brooch

Chris Ramsay


Stillwater, OK, United States

Box (closed) 4.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches

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Photo credit: Chris Ramsay

This work detail is from a series comprised of 90 wooden brooches in unique boxes that serve as reliquary-like vessels to honor and house the wings of Monarch butterflies that were collected by Oklahoma State University scientists researching the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) migratory patterns and habitats necessary to sustain their annual cyclical migration. In February each year, overwintering Monarchs East of the Rockies migrate from the safety of the Oyamel fir forests of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico to the far reaches of Canada laying eggs of 3-4 future generations of the original butterfly that wintered in Mexico. I am an awe that monarch descendants can genetically recall the need to travel up to 50-100 miles a day, and up to 3,000 miles over two-months, to return to their ideal ancestral overwintering site in Mexico.

Ramsay taught metals and jewelry courses at Oklahoma State University between 1990-2023 and served as the Head of the Art Department from 2008-2012 and 2020. He is recently retired and reorganizing his life and studio space to make way for a glorious future.

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