Silver: Bugging Out Over William Travis Kukovich’s Beetles

Plan BeetleLast summer, William Travis Kukovich, owner of William Travis Jewelry in Chapel Hill, N.C., found himself skimming tiny beetle carcasses out of his backyard swimming pool. Rather than being repulsed, he marveled at their beauty and encouraged his 5-year-old son to do the same. “I said, ‘Look at how pretty and colorful their wings are,’” he says.Little did Kukovich know that his infestation would inspire a fundraising initiative for the nearby North Carolina Museum of Art. When his son saved a pile of iridescent wings in the garden, Kukovich decided to immortalize them in silver. Around the same time, the museum unveiled a 127,000-square-foot addition, and he decided to offer the institution a collection of beetle ­jewels, which he dubbed the Art of the Scarab, to help boost fundraising.Kukovich dried several carcasses on top of his Burnout oven for a couple months and

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