Thursday, 24 February 2011

Solitary Bee Prints

I finished the series of solitary bee prints today in the print rooms at Uni in Preston.

I chose 3 of the bees we recorded on site at YSP in the summer: Andrena denticulata, Andrena helvola and Andrena subopaca.

I wanted to show how complex the subject is and how it's not that easy to identify them without a complicated key with obscure definitions and a microscope to look at the bees so very closely.

I've had lots of help with this part of the project - firstly it was Brian, the ecologist, who helped me survey the site and catch the bees; then Carl Clee at Liverpool Museum helped us to make an ID; and again, later on, at Liverpool Museum Guy Knight let me go and take images of their bees in the collection; and finally the amazing Magda Stawarska-Beavan who guided me patiently through the screen print process.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Imagined Meadows

For the exhibition in April I have worked on three Imagined Meadow plots to be considered at YSP.

I have painted on top of the screen prints I produced at the end of last year, and then i've drawn flower species on top of that. It's to give the viewer the impression of a landscape that could exist at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Meadows can support a huge diversity of animal and plant life: worms and caterpillars, spiders and beetles, bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies, dragonflies and damselflies, birds, bats, moles, shrews, rabbits and foxes*

The land at YSP has been locked into a funding structure (the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme) to restore the grazed parkland listed as 'at risk' by English Heritage. YSP is in a tricky position here - money is being given to help restore a landscap
e created as a pleasing vista to be looked upon by an upper class landowner - the whole reason the park exists in the first place. It was never a nature reserve with habitats suitable to sustain a diversity in flora and fauna. As with all land it's about money. It's always about the worth of the land. And in this instance 2 acres can't be excluded from the scheme and made into meadows.

So, no matter how important the meadows could be to the local populations of bees at YSP the Imagined Meadows will remain just that, imagined.

*there are lots of websites giving info about diversity in meadows, i like this one

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Big Bumblebee

Today, for the first time in a while, i went with my friend Helen to our allotment to do digging, weeding and drinking tea and chatting in the sunshine.

We weren't there long when we saw a big furry bumblebee slowly flying around the edge of the plot and then over to Eric's plot next door. I had my camera on me but wasn't able to get a shot - the bee was off and away before i could get it out of my bag. It made me think how much i miss the bees! And how i can't wait for spring to come. Nearly there now...

I found this "Song of the Bumblebee" in Enid Blyton's Book of the Year earlier this week too.