The Bilberry Bumblebee 

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.” 

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?’ 

Polly’s honey bee piece

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.

Bees up

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

Yesterday was good…

….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….​​

Yesterday, Penultimate day

It started so, so bright, the sky was blue and it was so lovely to see all the people who made the long trek up,
including my mum from Wales who arrived on a trecker.

And then the weather changed and it was a mad dash to get mum to the other end before the heavens opened; I went with her so it meant I finally had the opportunity to walk the Down, the first time since the beginning of the project.
We met a lovely bunch of lads who were enthusiastically and energetically enjoying the fort and surroundings in a way that made us old farts feel quite decrepit: running, climbing, laughing – I was so jealous of their agility. Thanks for sharing your photos and your exploits, gentlemen. 

So now, as I write this, we’re gearing up for the last day and the exhibition comes down and we say goodbye to the fort. I know I’m going to feel a whole range of emotions. 

But then at least Shaun can have his shorts back. 

A little bit more about Brean

Am I boring you yet? 

So, ‘Meet the artist day’ was a great success. It started with mad rushing found getting all work up, labels checked, but breakfast was a calmer affair. 

And here you can see the National Trust setting up the barbecue as people start to mill around. 


We saw lots of people but of course it was very special to see friends and family there and are very grateful to the NT for driving up the less physically able. 


And the weather was amazingly kind to us, starting with a little bit of mizzle but ending with this.

Truly mercurial. Here, the water’s calm, almost silver but before it was quite different, churned up brown – I love how nothing is predictable here.