For the past several months I have been slowly working on an outdoor installation project that will be part of Lake Roland’s Art on the Trail exhibit in Baltimore. I have been fortunate to have created works for two previous exhibits, my book art pieces called “Field Guides as well “Social Network”, a crocheted and woven piece.

This year I submitted a proposal of a fiber art sculptural piece called Keepers of Life to bring to attention the health of the bee communities. Hopefully by now most people know of the Colony Collapse Disorder and the declining population of bees, which are a keystone species that entire ecosystems depend on. Without bees, the food supply for humans and wildlife would plummet as well as the planet’s biodiversity. It is a sobering thought.

work in progress 8.17

My vision was to create a hanging piece that would look like a honeycomb. I have been using chicken wire to help me with the base of the form. I want it to look beautiful and delicate and strong and have a glow when the the sunlight filters through the trees. I want for the people walking the wooded trails to stop in their tracks and go- what is that?! And come closer for a look and to read about Colony Collapse Disorder.

Some of the hexagon shapes are empty so that the nature around the installation can be seen through the comb form.

work in progress 8.26.17

Other hexagons have mirrors attached so that the viewer can see themselves reflected back. Human use of pesticides as well as climate change are part of the problem, but more importantly humans are part of the solution. Awareness can lead to change. We can stop the use of neonicotinoid pestcides which are thought to harm the bees and weaken their immune systems. We can also plant more native plants in our yards and garden to give bees ample opportunity to gather pollen and nectar to bring back to their colony.

work in progress 9.27.17

work in progress 10.27.17

At the beginning of November I brought the work in progress outside to see how it would look in a natural setting and what I saw spurred me on.

The deadline for installation is quickly approaching and as I am finishing up this piece, I am thinking constantly about how the piece will come together at the end. I always start with a vision, an idea…but it changes so much along the way. Adapting, problem solving, working away. Working on hexagonal shapes has also given me renewed awe of what the bees do so mathematically perfect. It is truly incredible.

work in progress 11.20.17

As Americans come to their Thanksgiving tables this week, I wish people would look at the food on their tables and give a thank you to the bees, who are key to the life and food that sustains us.

For more reading on the decline of the bee populations:

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