OPENING TODAY – Bees: the interconnectedness of all things at Bruton School for Girls 

The girls worked so beautifully hard and enthusiastically to produce a fabulous collaborative installation.

Three days, 80 plus students and a handful of staff produced a whole host of British bees which are now hanging in the gallery at the Bruton School for Girls.


‘Taught by Lydia Needle, Bruton School for Girls students will sculpt tiny, lifesize British bees in wool, representing just a few of the 260 varieties left in theUK. 

The bees become artworks as part of a whole school installation in the school’s gallery. To follow up this work, the students will research the habitats and ecosystems, the flora and fauna that rely on bees, to create companion artworks. Our objective is to raise awareness of the diversity of bees in Britain and to spread the story – using art as a medium – as far as possible.’ SAW guide 2017. 

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Change is good

#Change – what do we all think about it? 

It’s been a long time since I’ve introduced myself to you all and seeing as we have a few more of you along for the ride, AND I’m going through a period of change, I thought it was about time. 

So, this is me, Lydia Needle, last month at the private view of #fiftybees. This was a really pivotal event in my life, my first exhibition and a point which marked a massive change in my life, I felt like I was officially being ‘launched’ as an artist (like a big ship 🤣). If you have a look at the stickers I’m wearing, you’ll see the hashtag #beeartist and #queenbee, made by @foreverycloud – I loved wearing those!!!!

It was an event where all of a sudden I thought “Yes! People not only ‘get’ the concept of FIFTY BEES but they also appreciate my art”. It was heavenly.

And, in terms of change, it marked the point when I publicly announced that I planned to take the FIFTY BEES concept to other parts of the country which meant I could not conceivably continue with the day job.

So, yesterday was my last day working at MIND – no more financial safety net of part time work – I HAVE to make this work. 

One of the last session we ran was all about CHANGE – how difficult it can be, how challenging, and as we were discussing it, I came to the realisation that I used to hate it, the instability of it all. But without it, we have no new beginning, no new doors to open.

So, what about you? How do you find change, have you been through any lately or are you planning some. Let me know.

And perhaps you might also sharing a picture of you using the hashtag #changeisgood 

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#artist #beeartist #introduction #fiftybees #fibreartist #exhibition 

Now the party’s over….

….the work is down, returned to the artists or posted off to their new homes so I thought I’d just do a little recap before I let you know what’s coming next.

In the beginning, there was the book by Steven Falk 

and a publication by Friends of the Earth.


Then came masses of planning and administration and emails and social media postings and drawing and talking to fifty + artists. Phew!
And then finally, finally, I started working on the first bee, the Violet Carpenter Bee.

 And then slowly, juggling a business and a job and markets and teaching, bee numbers began to grow.
Sometimes it felt like I would never get them all made but it happened, they started to evolve out of the wool and the containers.


And I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see them all collected together – it felt like a real achievement.

But in the background, working away in their chosen media with total dedication, fifty artists were creating their own personal responses to ‘their’ bees, becoming experts and advocates for fifty special little insects.

The first proof was emailed to me by Sam Cannon. I can’t begin to express what that felt like, finally seeing evidence that the other artists had ‘got’ the concept of the FIFTY BEES project.

Huge thanks go to Sam and every single one of the artists.

Then before we knew it, it was time to set up the exhibition, my FIRST and we had a blank canvas of a gallery space. So, so exciting – I have no idea how I got to do this in my life – I’m a lucky, lucky woman. But also, I really had no idea how to hang an exhibition – the expert help, guidance and humour from the three ‘Beekeepers’ made it possible.

After the set up, to then host a private view with so many beautiful people turning up to see the amazing work by such talented artists, added to the joy.

Further information

Here’s a link to the Ecologist’s lovely article about the exhibition: http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2989106/uk_artists_showcase_the_plight_of_the_disappearing_british_bee.html

A copy of films of the artists talk given at the gallery by Lydia and four of the artists:

 

After the day job, popping into the gallery.

Popped into ACEarts today after the day job – sat on the very comfy chairs and nearly fell asleep. Lovely to see so many people slowly moving round to gallery, quietly taking in the work. Sometimes there’s a lot of chatter and other times people are taking in the work in a more solitary way.

Great also the the Wool Carder Bee has a new home to go to at the end of the month – I’d love to share with you who has decide to home this one because i think it will make you smile but need to check with them first. .


Exhibition from 1st to 22nd July, open Tuesday to Saturday – 10-5pm

01458 273008

Planning what to say 

Tomorrow evening, I’m doing an artists talk at ACEarts all about the FIFTY BEES project but haven’t yet made any plans of what to say. The only think I have planned is to have two or three other artists there to talk about their companion pieces. Thank goodness!! 


What do you think: should I wing it or plan it – if I plan it, will I stick to it? 

This will be my proper first artist talk to coincide with my first ever exhibition so it’s all a bit unknown. But I’d love your options – if you were to come, what do you think I should focus on – what would you want to hear about? 

As an aside, did you know that all proceeds go to charity: Somerset Wildlife Trust and ACEarts? 

Let me know your thoughts, dear people.

Bee gifts

On Friday night, at the private view, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Louisa Crispin, an artist of extraordinary talents and a bee enthusiast. 

She has a piece hanging in the exhibition – this is not it, though. 

This is a tiny, beautiful drawing that she gave to me on the night and is one of the preparatory drawings about the Short-haired Bumblebee, her bee.

I was absolutely blown away – so chuffed, so honoured. Thank you so much, Louisa – can’t wait to put this on my wall – I know precisely where it’s going.The gallery is open today so if you’d like to see the piece Louisa did for the FIFTY BEES exhibition, call in between 10-5. 

Polly Hughes is on duty too so she’ll be there to talk about her work and many of the other wonderful pieces on display.

Cat’s piece – the nomad bee

Second bee companion for sharing, this is by Cat Frampton and has to be seen to believed – the cirl buntings are so, so small but perfectly realised, and the Braille, well, it’s a challenge – can you rise to the challenge? 


It is companioned with Nomada sexfasciata.

This is what Cat says about her piece: 

‘The birds and the bees

My bee is a rare bee. A rare bee with a solitary, thieving life. It depends on another bee to steal from, that bee is also rare. These bees share a crook of land with a bird, a rare bird.

In 1989 the Cirl Bunting lived (in Britain) only at Prawle Point, Devon, 118 pairs, clinging on.

Then conservationists and local farmers stepped in and saved the birds (over 1000 nests now, all along the coast). Did saving the birds save the bees?

Farmers, rare birds and bees combine, for the good of them all.

Can you tell what the Braille says?’