Fifty Bees

“Fifty BEES: The Interconnectedness of All Things” (ACEarts, Somerset 1 – 22 July 2017) is an exhibition of collaborative work, with fifty artists responding to their allocated bee.

Lydia Needle, fibre artist, has produced fifty small, life-size bee pieces in wool and the other fifty artists, makers, writers etc. have produced a companion piece, each in response to the habitat, linked wildlife, ecology, flight, sound, predators, (or whatever they choose) of a specific British bee.

My good friend David Costello produced a poem, “A Very Dark Bee: Stelis phaeoptera” which describes the bee’s cuckoo lifestyle. David says: “It lays its eggs in the nest of a host bee. The host then nurtures its offspring as its own. Extremely rare, it has only been reliably recorded near the towns of Shrewsbury and Wrexham. The Orange Vented Mason Bee, mentioned in the poem, is the host species. I originally imagined my bee was a colourful creature with distinct bands. In fact it’s universally dark and frequently mistaken for a fly. No doubt its inconspicuousness is of great assistance when going about its rather distasteful business!”

David asked me if I would create the presentation for his poem, which I was very happy to do. The poem mentions a guidebook of bees, which I imagined as a much-loved, thumbed and dog-eared edition, so I styled the typeface to suggest old texts. The paper, some of which I made from lavender and red onion skins, is torn and layered to echo the bee’s method of burrowing and nesting. The full poem will be revealed in due course! See my gallery of Bees here.

There are around 250 different bees in Britain, which include 24 species of bumblebees, 225 solitary bees and just one honeybee. Many are in decline, and this affects the survival of other species, plants and humans. The focus of the exhibition is to illustrate how diverse our bee population is, how endangered it is and how pivotal they all are to our ecosystem. (source: Fifty Bees on Facebook)

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