Laney Birkhead is a printmaker and also a beekeeper. Her passion for bees has led her to develop the Swarm of Bees Project, which aims to highlight the declining numbers of bees and the devastating effect this will have. Members of the public are attending workshops where they will each print a bee which will be assembled into a large piece which will eventually contain 50,000 individually printed bees- the average number in a swarm.
Laney saw my hand-painted insect glass at The British Craft Trade Fair and invited me to make and exhibit a body of work inspired by the honeybee, in the exhibition which Laney is curating, Swarm- Plight of the Honeybee. The exhibition is being held at – Inspired By .. Gallery, Danby next year and will showcase the finished Swarm piece, alongside a number of other artists who are making work inspired by the subject.
I am also excited to be assisting Laney in one of her printing workshops in Knaresborough Castle this August. Whilst I am there, I am planning a visit to the North York Moors to sketch and photograph the bees on the heather moors and collect plants to use in my pieces.
I plan to make a large unframed triptych which we think will be lent against a wall of the gallery, and several smaller framed mixed media pieces. Alongside these will be a collection of ‘functional’ pieces, coasters and various sized and shaped dishes which will all be hand-painted with images of the honey bees and use plants which they forage on
It is a really inspirational project and I am so pleased to have been asked to take part. I thrive on challenges to create new work, whether is for an exhibition or an event and often find that this is when my creativity flows.