Beauty in the natural world of birds and insects is the theme of the "Birds, Bugs and Butterflies" show of work by five Maine artists opening Friday, July 5, at CRAFT Gallery, 12 Elm St., in the courtyard. The show will continue through Aug. 10. For more information, call 594-0167 and

Kathleen Florance uses rice paper, ink, paint and pastel to create abstractions of butterflies and bees in all their complexities. She has exhibited at the Caldbeck Gallery as well as others throughout New England, China, Bulgaria and Russia. Florance has collaborated with Dudley Zopp, another CRAFT Gallery artist, in the environmental art Project "Circadia" and has been awarded Good Idea grants twice by the Maine Arts Commission.

Inspired by science fiction and science fact, Portland sculptor Mike Libby (Insect Lab Studios) combines preserved insect parts with antique watch parts and components of vintage sewing machines and typewriters to create a variety of small insect sculptures, no more than four to eight inches. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Libby has exhibited at the Children's Museum in Portland, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show and throughout the United States and Europe.

Jeweler Peggy Johnson works in silver, beads and gems to accurately recreate the delicate characteristics of bugs. Her work reflects a respect for the insect world as does Susan Atwater’s silk-painted scarves, pillows and small envelopes she calls "keepers," embellished with insect and floral motifs. Her process starts with fine line drawing using gutta resist on pure white silk, mixing her own fiber dyes to create a rich palette of color.

Choosing the unusual medium of epoxy, bird sculptor James Pyne uses exaggeration and humor to sculpt birds, real or imagined. Impossibly elongated bills, tails and wings express their grace and personalities. Night herons, bee-eaters and avocets are among those presented in singles, pairs or groupings.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or