In the fall of 2014, I had lived in Colorado less than 6 months and was in the throes of the job search. I was a member of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) and had joined the Denver chapter for obvious reasons. I got an email one day about an event called Chaircuterie and would I like to enter the lottery to make a tiny chair? Um, sure. Why not. I like making things and it was for a good cause—to raise money for design scholarships. About a month later I received a "Congratulations! You've been selected to participate in Chaircuterie!" email and thus, the tiny chair (with dog for scale).
The nest was built by a queen paper wasp and her brood in Berkeley, CA in 2005. The queen began construction by scraping bits of wood fiber from the back of an Adirondack chair (that I had assembled from a kit), making pulp in her mouth by weakening the fiber with her saliva, and constructing hexagonal cells to protect her young while they developed. Once they hatched, the young constructed new cells as the colony expanded.
The nest hung above a door connecting my second-story bedroom to a 5’ x 15’ deck. At the end of the summer when the wasps had moved on, I carefully removed the nest from the overhang. “Look at what my Adirondack chair turned into!” I thought. My nest and I moved to another apartment in Berkeley, then to a house in San Francisco, and finally to Boulder, CO, traveling 1, 246 miles in all.