Artist and beekeeper Laney Birkhead leads a collective of artists and makers in a creative response to the plight of the honey bee and other pollinators. 'Swarm' is unique - a collection of fine art and craft work responding to the decline of bees in our landscape and provides an opportunity for visitors to learn how to connect with this vital ecological issue.
A huge walk-in fabric ‘beehive’ featuring over 50,000 individually hand-printed bees will be the centerpiece of an exhibition of work, the result of a year of community workshops across the county.
Alongside the large ‘Swarm’ print, Laney’s new work on display features original paintings and prints using collagraph, carborundum and etching techniques inspired by facts about the decline of bees in Britain.
Laney says: “By bringing together installation, sound, film and innovative arts and crafts I hope to raise awareness of this issue and inspire a deeper love for our planet and its pollinators. I hope that visitors will see the strong connection between pollinating insects, our food crops, our own gardens and their own actions.”
In addition to Laney Birkhead, the collective of artists include:
- Barbara Cassell – a new collection of copper jewellery with silver fittings and incorporating other materials such as hemp, rubber and leather, inspired by textures and patterns in the biology of bees and their forage plants
- Janet Yeun Yau – with a collection of contemporary classic jewellery using silver and semi-precious stones inspired by the beauty and fragility of the honeybee
- Verity Pulford – introduces hand-painted, fused and etched glass homeware featuring honeybees, flora and fauna
- Anna Whitehouse – a new ceramic collection of carved and hand-modelled porcelain looking at repeating patterns and textures in nature and a range of porcelain tea light holders impressed with plant material foraged from the North York Moors
- Andrew Dalton – large insect prints, which explore similar issues in the morphology of the Apidae group, which includes honeybees, and bumble bees
- Pam Grimmond – limited edition colour lino prints depict the effect of the decline of the bee in the north of England
- Gill Kirk – Original prints featuring local flora and fauna - using microscopic detail. Stitched and waxed collagraphs and silk screens on cloth and paper in hexagonal shapes depicting local pollinators. Textile cushions and bags depicting fragments incorporating the artwork images as a basis.
- Sherry Doyal – woven baskets which include botanic materials, paper and pulps, inspired by flora from North York Moors using twinning, hexagonal plait and coiling techniques and dyes resins and beeswax
- Caryl Hallett – a new collection of stained glass framed light boxes inspired by local flora and fauna which bees forage on. Plus smaller window light catchers depicting bee friendly plants.
- Helen Petts - Like the Direction of Sunbeams. An artists’s moving image work exploring the patterns, textures and sounds made by bees in a hive. Petts frequently works in response to the natural environment showing her films as gallery based installations. Helen's film features a black and white close up of Laney Birkhead’s bees with a sound recording of the inside of the hive.
A short documentary film of the Swarm Project by Paul Harris will be available for viewing, following Laney as she tends to her bees, runs her swarm workshops and works in her studio. You can also watch the film here.
Bee-related arts and crafts workshops
Throughout the exhibition there will be a series of bee-related arts and crafts workshops, several run by the ‘Swarm’ artists including:
- Monoprinting Workshops with Giil Kirk (Monday 25 July 10.30am – 1pm and 2pm – 4.30pm)
- Silkscreen Printing Two-day Workshop with Gill Kirk (Friday 29 July – Saturday 30 July 10am – 4pm)
- Creations in Willow with Willow Expert Anthea Firth Bumble Bees (Saturday 30 July 10am – 3pm)
- Natural Beekeeping Day (Saturday 30 July 10am – 4pm drop in anytime, talks and demos at 11am, 1pm and 3pm)
- Be a Bee for the Day (Sunday 31 July and Wednesday 3 August; 11am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm)
- Coiled Basketry Making Two-day Workshop with Sherry Doyal (Friday 5 August and Saturday 6 August 10am – 4pm)
- Honeycomb Stained Glass Workshops (Sunday 7 August 10am – 1pm and 1.30pm – 4.30pm)
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