We're on a mission to keep you engaged in healthy relationships with yourself, nature and beyond. Here's some FAQ about what we're up to in our Northern Minnesota studio...

The Name Isms

By definition "isms" is a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology, or an artistic movement. Isms is a suffix used to form action nouns from verbs. Turning ideas into actions. We're taking this definition as expression of self-interest, as we work to turn found objects and ideas into a support system for solid gold living that's nature and community forward.

Isms Pronunciation: [IZ] + [UHMZ]

Butterfly Conservation Art

Wing Categories

Standard wings tend to be more muted tones, while premium wings are more colorful, patterned and/or metallic. Species availability changes rapidly. All wings come assorted based on current availability.


Butterflies, moths, dragonflies and other insects are powerful symbols of transformation, new beginnings and ethereal beauty. Many associate them with rebirth, and the delicate balance between life and death. Various cultures believe them able to travel between worlds, and others as symbols of the soul. We have held space for hundreds of stories of insects as messengers for the deceased, and we're honored to make talismans that represent these miracles.

Modern interpretations find them everywhere transformation is happening. From business to medical to life moments. With the average human undergoing a major life transition every 12-18 months, their graceful symbology is a welcome reminder of elevation through the myriad of these many human moments.

Species Varieties

Isms works with over 1000 species of Lepidoptera including: butterflies, moths, dragonflies, damsel flies, cicadas, grasshoppers, bees, beetles, preying mantis, lantern flies and more. 

Wing Requests

Your requests for a specific wing size, color and species will always be honored as closely as possible based on current availabilities. Drop a note in the checkout to make a request for your order, or email us with your order number at: contact@findisms.com

Specimen Sourcing

Isms large variety of specimens come from many places, all of which are ethical and result in supporting conservation. Most wings come from specimens purchased from conservation efforts to repopulate butterfly species and/or preserve and restore their habitats, mostly in rainforest regions. When butterflies are fostered for release, there’s an approximate 10% morbidity rate. These specimens are collected for sale. Other specimens come from collecting naturally deceased Lepidoptera near natural breading areas. Most insects congregate then die shortly after mating, especially the brightly colored males. The more camouflage-colored females live a bit longer, so they can lay eggs before expiring. They are generally quite tattered and hard to find at the end of their life, which is why most of our specimens are the more colorful males. Some specimens are from pollinator education facilities where indigenous species are fostered for release.

Wings Fading

No, butterfly wings don't fade like flowers and plants. Butterfly and moth wings are actually clear membranes (much like a dragonfly wing). Their color comes from approximately 10,000 scales per square inch covering their wings, layered much like fish scales. Some are long hair-like scales. Some are short and “powdery”. Some species have transparent patches without scales on their wings, commonly known as “glass wing” species. The colored scales covering the wings don’t fade like plants. Specimens hundreds of years old can look as colorful as a live butterfly, with a few species exceptions. Almost every blue, and most of the metallic colors on wings aren’t a pigmented color, rather a refraction of light through the scales (like the sky or a rainbow), which can’t fade. The only thing that will effect a wing’s color (generally) is scale disruption from touching, water, abrasion, or extreme light exposure for prolonged periods of time.

Pricing & Availability

Prices in the Lepidoptera marketplace are based on human valuation, much like any natural resource. More coveted, rare and colorful species are generally most expensive to purchase. Sourcing is another factor. Purchasing ethically is more expensive. Recently there has been a surge in demand in the Asian market for butterfly specimens, especially blue morphos. Their scarcity is increasing driving prices higher. Madagascar Sunset moths recently had a hard year with torrential rains that decimated their numbers. Some cicada species only eclose every 17 years. The years they come out, specimens are prevalent and nearly free. Ten years later, they will be scarce and expensive. Insect valuation is a rapidly fluctuating marketplace due to these types of factors. Isms wing availability and wing categorization as a standard, premium or rare wing will fluctuate in kind.

Specimen Donations

Some of our specimens come from donated vintage pinned butterfly collections and mounts. Some come from found specimens donated by fans and friends. Isms gives to conservation for every donated specimen received. We gratefully accept donations at: ISMS P.O. Box 194 Nisswa, MN 56468

Monetary Donations

Monetary donations are accepted at check-out. These donations are distributed between butterfly conservation groups and our effort to start our own outdoor conservation enterprise.


Fantastic product information is included in an eco-friendly format that’s also an interactive experience for the recipient. The product tag is a biodegradable straw (attached with a small leather band) with two scrolls of recycled cotton paper artfully placed inside. The scrolls contain information about the product; how to use the straw as a helper insect home; and butterfly conservation with an optimistic and science-based tone. 

Our shipping packaging comes from clean reused materials whenever possible. We'd rather put our budget towards philanthropy over fancy packaging. Expect your purchase to arrive safely, as indicated in our reviews.

Butterfly Conservation

Butterflies are pollinators, as well as being integral members of the food chain. They may not get the media attention bees do for pollination, as they don’t have a related industry to fund awareness, as bees do with agriculture. Butterflies play a crucial role in pollination, though. While bees pollinate in a 5-mile radius of their hive, butterflies fly independently and up to 55 miles in a day. Their longer flight pattern allows for genetic diversity in their pollination, which results is a stronger gene pool for plants.

Conservation Stance

It is our belief that shame, guilt and fear for the state of the natural world help very little. Many people maintain a negative view of the state of the world, fear for its future, guilt for their impacts and anxiety from the whole thing in general. The same and more can be accomplished in the name of conservation from an educated, playful, curious and loving perspective. Isms is on a mission to promote the concept of having an individual and healthy relationship with the natural world. All of our products, information and services are catered to this mission.

Helping Butterflies at Home

The threatened monarch migration has allowed a recent influx of funding into butterfly studies, and the findings are rapidly reshaping best practices thought to be true even a year ago. Reducing/eliminating pesticide use, and rewilding remain best practices. Some previously advocated methods of helping butterflies are now in question. Unnatural planting patterns of milkweed can spread disease amongst monarch butterflies. Fostering for release is now known to be harmful to butterfly species, if not done properly. Major aspects of review include habitat cleanliness and crowding spreading disease. Most importantly, fostering butterflies indoors is now known to weaken their genetics. Studies show significantly less strength and endurance in the butterflies whose chrysalis and caterpillars were coddled. Maybe reasonable adversity is good for all of us? To keep up with the latest ways to help butterflies sign up for our newsletters and follow us on social media @findisms.

Bottle Wings

Anyone who's handled a brittle butterfly wing marvels at how we get the wings through the tiny bottle opening so perfectly. Since every specimen started its flying life inside a chrysalis or cocoon, they retain the ability to fold-up and expand with the right prompts. Getting the wings in the bottles requires knowledge of how and when to hydrate and dehydrate the specific species’ wings and to what degree; anatomy knowledge for encouraging the wing to buckle through the opening, then expand once inside the jar; and fine instrument skills. It's like origami meets ships in a bottle. 

Bottle Wing Care

Dust as you would any glass item. Avoid submersion in liquids, and intense prolonged sunlight exposure.

Bottle Wing Additions

Many customers ask about adding other items into their bottled wing. Only cork closures are removable, although we recommend keeping them in place. Anything that rubs against the wing can and will disrupt the scales covering the wing, resulting in color loss. Some individuals will choose to introduce cremains or other cherished items despite knowing the wing will fade and deteriorate over time, seeing it as a fitting symbolism.

Bottle Wing Closures

Corks are sustainably harvested natural material. During summer months the bark from cork oak trees can be harvested while allowing the tree to continue growing for future harvests throughout their 150 year lifespan. Portugal is the leading supplier of cork in the world with many surrounding regions sharing suitable habitat and cork economy. 

Glass marbles are handmade by an artisan family in Kansas, USA. Our standard marble is 5/8" and the big marble is 1" in diameter. We use a wide variety of colors and match each marble carefully to its wing. Requests for marble colors can be made in the checkout notes, and will be honored as closely as possible.

Stone marbles are sourced from a small family business in Kentucky, USA. They may include a wide variety of stones and vary in size. Jasper, rose quartz, turquoise, amethyst, malachite, blue quartz, sunstone, tiger eye, and others may be used according to the wing available. Requests for specific stones can be made in check out notes.

Crystals are of the highest material and facet quality, from a family business in California, USA. Choose a 20mm or 40mm diameter.  Available in a clear or aurora borealis finish in the 20mm size. Gorgeous rainbow makers that continue to be a crowd favorite.



Isms jewelry is handmade by Holly Ulm using a proprietary process that renders wings durable, prismatic, and waterproof. Initial assessments, dissection, hydration chambers, scale setting (result in unaltered color preservation), and repairs are performed first. One of approximately 20 processes will be used, based on properties of the individual wing. The next process uses a minimum of 5 coats of jewelry-grade bio-epoxy to seal the wings. This product is greener than most, non-toxic, has a high tensile strength and won't yellow over time. Half-way through the wings are hand shaped and planed using a high-speed tool customized for fragile fine detail work. These steps require an intimate knowledge of wing properties, and result in erasure of many life marks and tattered edges.

The finished wing is designed into one of a kind jewelry, lighting or home decor. Some become dainty necklaces. Others become jaw dropping statement pieces. Demure bridal jewelry. Prismatic earrings. Hair pieces. Chandeliers. And so on. 

No casts, molds, base metals, or plastic lamination sheets are used.


Considering they started as a fragile wing, they're surprisingly sturdy once preserved. The easiest comparative in wear and care are eye glass lenses, or “soft gems” like amber, opal and pearls. Treat it like a butterfly wing, and you’ll enjoy it for many years.

We’ve done some ridiculous things to test our wing durability and resiliency. From 60 day chlorinated water submersion to 6 months on the ground in a heavy traffic area in weather below freezing. Heat tests. Flex tests. You name it. That, plus over 13 years of making and selling this insect wing jewelry, leaves us thinking you can at least trust our tens of thousands of customers.

Jewelry Care

Clean your wings the same way you would care for eyeglass lenses. Mild soapy water, microfiber clothes, and similar. Some rare chemicals don't play nicely with our jewelry finish. Dry chemicals are generally not an issue, but do take care when applying perfumes, hair sprays and similar.  

Framed Art

Waterproof papers are printed with reproductions of original ink illustrations by Holly Ulm, guest artists, and vintage images. Insect wings are incorporated into the designs, and set in glass front shadow box frames. A variety of frames are used, as listed in the product description. All materials are archival quality and properties. 

All framed art comes with an artist signed certificate of authenticity, and the same interactive and educational packaging as our wings in a bottle.

Framed Art Wear and Care

Keep your framed art in living conditions, and avoid locations with extreme humidity or prolonged full sunlight. Microfiber cleaning clothes are a great option, though any glass cleaning and dusting materials you prefer should work just fine. Avoid over saturation when cleaning.

Green Beetles

Elytra are the protective covers that fit over a beetle’s delicate folded wings. The elytra used here are a byproduct of an Asian food industry that utilizes these tree killing beetles as a high protein food source. Using the elytra in jewelry supports small economies, as well as being a byproduct of tree protection and nutritional efforts. Breast plates from these beetles are also used.

Their amazing color is due to an exoskeleton structure that reflects light microscopically. Expect brilliant greens, and individual beetles with yellow, blue, red, purple, orange or a mix of highlights.

The beetle elytra are extremely light. A perfect choice for those with sensitive ears. The bundles of elytra make the most fantastic sound when moved.

Despite their lightweight, waterproof and delicate attributes, these elytra are surprisingly durable. Expect them to last a long while with the simplest care.

All beetle art comes with product information relating to the piece.

Custom Work

Custom work is occasionally available as first come first serve listings for custom work slots. They generally sell out quickly, and are announced via social media and email in advance.


View our shipping policy here


View our return policy here


Our refund policy can be reviewed here


Review our media here

Private Label

Isms considers private label on a case by case bases, as we strive to ensure brand visions align. Let's talk about it: contact@findisms.com


Our pre-origin story is rooted in boutique retail. We provide exceptional wholesale partnership skills for businesses who align well with our vision. We would love for you to fill out a quick application, so we can get you more information.

Gift Messages

We're happy to include a gift message for your order. Drop a note in the checkout or send us an email with your order number: contact@findisms.com

Rush Orders

Isms may or may not be able to fulfill a rush request depending on the artwork ordered, and the order timing. We will do our best to help how we can. Drop us a note in the checkout or by email, if you have a deadline for delivery: contact@findisms.com

Local Delivery

All local deliveries must be accepted manually. Order confirmation will be followed by an email to schedule delivery, if the order meets criteria for acceptance.

Local Pick-Up

Local pick-up is an option instead of Local Delivery and can be arranged by email after your order is accepted.

Studio Address:

Franklin Arts Center
ISMS Studio 1001 Kingwood Street, Ste 216A, Brainerd, MN 56401


Isms LLC PO Box 194 Nisswa, MN 56468



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