To deter cabbage moths from snacking, the wily gardener affixes bread-clips to sticks and strategically erects them among the crops. Unlike the scarecrow ruse, in which a human effigy is constructed to scare away birds, the gardener’s bread-clips attempt a likeness of the very pests she is attempting to shoo. The thinking being: when a moth flies over, it misinterprets the bread-clip as another moth, presumes this area occupied, and moves on to the neighbour’s garden. Whether this home remedy constitutes good farming practice or an anthropomorphic underestimation of the moth’s intelligence is ambiguous. Beth Maslen’s Moth Lamps (2020) are a tribute to the ambiguity of this gesture.
About the artist
Beth Maslen is a student at Monash University in the Fine Arts department. She was recently award the Tess Hill and Bill Hawtin Fine Art Scholarship.