Bees will be flying off to new homes…..

By the end of day 2 of the FIFTY BEES exhibition, all of these creatures below had found new homes which they will be flying off to at the end of the exhibition.

Now, obviously, not everyone who wants to give a bee a home can get to the gallery.

Therefore, over the next few days I will start listing an occasional bee on my website.


And it’s a big BUTYou’ll need to purchase via the gallery.

tel:01458 20273008

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.

Curation Day

Today is curation Day at ACEarts in Somerton .I’m exhausted/excited, you know that kind of feeling you get when you’ve built up to something, worked so hard on something and fixated with it….?

Well, I’m in that today and I’m sure that’s why I had an accident in the car yesterday and why, obviously, I struggled to sleep…

However, I KNOW it’s going to be a great day because I get to work with the fabulous bee keepers, Polly, Joy and Donna who have been so wonderful, so supportive throughout the whole process. 

And I finally get to see and to hang a multitude of excellent artworks from some great people who, also, have been so enthusiastic about the FIFTY BEES project. 

Thanks everyone – I’ve got a feeling there may be #tearsbeforebedtime but for now, here’s a snippet of a piece called ‘Giddy Dance’ from Maria over in Wales – thanks Maria xxx

The book of the bees

I’ve finally got a little book of the fifty bees in my grubby little paws and I’m so pleased.

It’s an A5 book published to coincided with the exhibition FIFTY BEES: The Interconnectedness of All Things. 
Fifty full colour pages of each of the fifty art pieces created for the exhibition by me, Lydia Needle. 

I’ve only got 25 copies printed so far but more should follow if they prove popular.

What do you think? 

14% = sharing finished bee pieces to celebrate

Thanks everyone for the wonderful support, we’re up to 14%

So, I thought you might like to see a few finished bee pieces.

These are the five Nomadas that I’ve made for this FIFTY BEES project and they are nomada armata, nomada conjungens, nomada fulvicoris, nomada roberjeotians and nomada sexfasciata.

Look them up and find out about their lives and ecosystems – you might discover something quite surprising ….!

nomada finished small

 What does ‘Companion Piece’ mean?

long horned bee and companion piece
The Long-Horned Bee by Lydia Needle and companion piece ‘Sunday Walk’ by Faith Needle

The exhibition FIFTY BEES: ‘The Interconnectedness of All Things, brings together 50 of my own art pieces which will be shown alongside 50 companion pieces by 50 of my fellow artists.  I use the word ‘artists’ in its broadest terms because we have painters, printers, sculptors, installation artists, sound artists, poets etc – and we have some amazing work coming in.

But what do I mean by ‘companion piece’?

Well, I have included above the first of three companions that I will share before the exhibition – I’m afraid all of the others will be under wrap until the grand reveal on the 30th June.

So, here we have the Long-horned Bee made in wool by me – it’s approximately two times its actual size and I’ve created it to fit into this vintage stud box.  I’ve added some embroidery including the use of some gold thread which was was made from genuine gold leaf/dust. Called Kamibari, the gold thread is made by sticking gold dust to very thin Japanese paper backing and wound on a silk core. I just love it! 


The companion piece for this was painted by Faith Needle – and yes, there’s a family connection. In true Interconnectedness of All Things, Faith is my mother, an exceptional painter – and I love her work, so I HAD to ask her to be part of this process. 

eucera longicornis - long horned bee - Faith Needle

This is what Faith says about the piece:

‘My focus for this work is the long-horned bee (eucara longicornus), whose main favourite food is the everlasting pea; this led to my use of these colours. I walk along the coastline near where I live in South Wales; it is one of few places where the long-horned bee survives. The painting is all to do with air, open spaces, freedom; where the land meets the sea; a time when your senses are fully alert to your surroundings. The interconnectedness of all things is, to me, such a stimulating phrase; bees, pollination, survival, protection, awareness, colour and light. We co- exist, we need each other.’

What so exciting about this project is that every artist has a ‘relationship’ with their bee – as you can see with Faith’s work – there’s an understanding there about how pivotal bees are to EVERYTHING.

And that’s what’s going to make the book such a lovely piece of art and research – there’ll be 100 unique works, all inspired by Britain’s beautiful bees.

If you’d like to support this project in any way, you can do that by sharing these posts or donating or pledging – there’s some great prizes. 

And thanks for reading

Lydia xx