This is the Bilberry Bumblebee, paired with its companion piece by Helen Hickman of Nellie and Eve.
This is what Helen says about her work.
“My creation is inspired by the landscape that Bombus Monticola (Bilberry Bumble Bee) and I live in.
Surrounded by species rich heath and peat bogs in the Welsh hills, Bilberry feeds on plants such as gorse, blackberry and of course, bilberries, which line banks.
As a spinner, weaver and dyer my material of choice is local wool, a much undervalued, sustainable fibre.
By carefully foraging for plants that produce rich, natural dyes for my hand spun yarns, crochet hexagons become ‘honeycomb’ inside a used ‘brood’ frame representing how it is possible to mindfully interact and interconnect with our natural environment.”
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.
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?’
As promised, I’m going to start sharing the work of the other artists in the FIFTY BEES exhibition. And I thought I should start with Polly Hughes as she has been working on the honey bee, the most well know of the bees.
What I absolutely adore about this piece is Polly’s use of patchwork, a very traditional, often overlooked women’s craft, to make us look with fresh eyes on the dance of bee.
She writes: ‘This bee is not only a honey producer but also one of the most important insect pollinators of both crop plants and wild flowers. Today, as never before, the honey-bee faces the danger of careless spraying of insecticides and weedkillers on plants in bloom, as well as disease and adverse weather conditions.
Bees communicate the finding of food by dancing on the vertical comb. The Waggle Dance is used when the food is more than 100 metres away from the hive. The dancing bee runs in one direction, waggling her body very quickly from side to side. She then turns round and runs in a semi-circle back to the starting point, repeating the performance again and again. The angle of the waggle tells both the sun-compass direction to fly, and how far.
The silhouette footprints are a recreation of dance step guides. The beaded Waggle Dance is embroidered onto hexagonal patchwork cells.’
And this is my companion piece.
I’ve been buzzing around at high speed, making work, organising and curating for months.
Last nights private view #beesup was A M A Z I N G – around 250 people came. I am absolutely over the moon, blown away and flabbergasted.
Thanks to all at ACEarts and the team of beekeepers @mDonna Vale, Joy Merron and Polly Hughes for all of your hard work and to all of the artists and visitors.
Today, I find myself exhausted so I’m going to have a little lie down and start sharing the works with you tomorrow. Xxx
….there was a little bit of this:
And a little bit of that:
And also some deciding whether the hanging system makes a nice art piece.
And a bit of curating,
And a bit of hanging work.
But there’s still loads to do….