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about pillbug/missy

I grew up in Michigan, mostly in the Upper Peninsula. Other than 5 years in Boulder, CO I tend to stay around the great lakes - currently living in Madison, WI. I have a fascination with making tiny things, and after watching the chilly birds at my feeder, I thought I’d try my hand at making them some pants. Several years and dozens of species later, I believe I have made some strides in the world of avian fashion. Whether I can convince a bird to try them on is another story… have you ever asked a hummingbird to sit still for a fitting?

Most birdpants start with a basic shape and idea, considering the colors, habitat and lifestyle of the bird. A cardinal would likely prefer some really red pants, but wouldn’t you expect a seagull to choose sailor pants? I continue until they seem like a bird would be satisfied. Beading, embroidery, paint, feathers and sparkly bits – whatever it takes!


A few years ago I ventured into non-avian territory, becoming a clothier to mice, squirrels and even tarantulas. I have a fairly practical day job, so I enjoy the preposterousness and impracticality of this artistic endeavor. I’m often chuckling to myself as I stitch the world’s tiniest hems, and I hope that they bring some fun into the world. Enjoy!

I have not yet heard reports of anyone attempting to try to put these clothes on an animal and I do not claim responsibility if you get a sharp beak in the eye for trying.

“Missy creates work that is evocative of scientific curiosities and mounted butterflies, with a humor that sneaks up and inspires a much closer look. Her current work focuses on birdpants and formalwear of the forest  ̶ tiny, pants for birds and frogs, and dapper suits for squirrels that “could be for backyard visitors who are either fashion-forward or simply chilly in the Michigan winter.” She employs traditional craftwork such as quilting, embroidery and beading to produce highly detailed ̶ and decidedly non-traditional ̶ confections that encourage the viewer to consider the possibilities of enticing a chickadee to don a pair of slacks. Making Ann Arbor her home for more than 20 years, she spends her spare time filling bird feeders in the hope that, one day, she can talk a songbird into modeling her creations.” (from “Birdpants and other Formal Forest Wear” exhibit, University of Michigan Gifts of Art)

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