When life hands you thousands and thousands of brood x cicada exoskeletons, you make…. jewelry.

Cicada Earring

I woke early one morning to the birds in our yard chirping more loudly, and what I interpreted as “more excitedly” than normal — I knew the brood x cicadas were going to be emerging soon, and poked my head out our front door to see if that’s what all the fuss was about. It was! A handful of cicada exoskeletons greeted me on our front porch wall, with another handful scattered on the ground. The birds were swooping down near the base of our trees, and at the risk of being execessively-hyperbolic, the air felt energetic.

Cicada Ring

As restaurants in the area started serving up chocolate covered cicadas and cicada tacos I started thinking about the dichotomy between this excellent protein source that many describe as having a buttery, nutty taste, and the reaction most people have when they think about the possibility of eating them.

Cicada Anklet

I wanted to create a visual representation of this idea – I wanted to celebrate the brood x cicadas in all their 17-years-underground-triumphantly-emerging glory. I wanted to celebrate for my yard birds, and the fox that occasionally visits our yard at night. I wanted to celebrate for the entrepreneurial spirit of the local restaurants who were capitalising on this abundant ingredient. And I wanted to juxtapose all of that with the fact that they’re still “bugs,” and, honestly, while cool looking, still kinda gross.

Cicada Necklace

And so I came up with the idea to make cicada jewelry – but I wanted it to be soft and feminine, something that highlighted the dichotomy between the beauty of their existence and the fact that I, and many, still think while they’re cool, they’re still pretty gross.

Cicada Barrettes

So I picked up a few bouquets of flowers, gathered up a bunch of discarded exoskeletons, grabbed my glue gun, and went to work.

Prints are available for purchase here.

Allison Corinne is a maternity, newborn, and creative portrait photographer in Bethesda, MD.

PS – Here are a few more photos I took of them in our yard