One in a Billion

One in a Billion

In the vast canvas of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, astronomers estimate there are approximately 400 billion stars. It’s a number that boggles the mind, and it’s within this cosmic enormity that my artwork, “One in a Billion,” takes its form. Comprising 28 meticulously preserved butterfly and insect specimens, this piece is a delicate reflection of our cosmic scale. Featuring 400 stars, planets, satellites, moons, and other celestial objects all intricately carved from butterfly wings. This 1 to a billion ratio serves as a captivating reminder of our minuscule place in the universe.

There is a profound connection that threads through the fabric of our universe. As Carl Sagan so aptly expressed, “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” Every atom, every molecule in our bodies, the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, was once part of stars—elements forged in the hearts of distant suns. In “One in a Billion,” this cosmic journey is poetically embodied. These atoms, having once illuminated the night sky as stars, found their way into the exquisite intricacies of butterflies. In this piece I attempt to return them to the celestial realm, forming a bridge between the earthly and the cosmic. It’s a reminder of our profound interconnectedness with the universe—a testament to the enduring cycles that shape our existence.

As Carl Sagan so eloquently stated, “Look again at that pale blue dot… every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” My art strives to evoke the essence of this profound sentiment. In a sense, it aims to achieve the “overview effect” that astronauts experience—when they see our planet from space and feel an overwhelming sense of interconnectedness and the fragility of Earth. I try (but most likely fail as I’m merely human) to bring that experience here, to Earth, in a  small way through my art.

With “One in a Billion,” I invite viewers to immerse themselves in the grand tapestry of our universe. A testament to the delicate balance between our existence on this pale blue dot and the immensity of the cosmos, this artwork serves as a reminder that the elements that make up our very beings have cycled through the cosmos, connecting us to the stars , the earth and to the very butterflies that adorn it.

The Milky Way, our home galaxy is home to up to an estimated 400 billion stars. One in a Billion comprises of 28 perfectly preserved butterfly and insect specimen with 400 stars plus planets, satellites, moons and other “space-stuff”!

At over 120cm wide, this is the largest dissectology piece Fiona has created (as of July 2022) and would be a stunning addition to anyones collection.

28 specimen including Morpho Aega, Menelaus, Achilles, Sulkowskyi and Polyphemus along with many Swallowtail Papilio and even a Neurobasis Kaupi damselfly! (full list available on request)

Many of my specimens come from historical collections, others through from breeding and conservation projects (read more here).

Available for limited exhibitions and on commission, email me on for more details