Monday, 18 April 2011

Solitary Bees

During the Bee Project I found that the subject of identifying solitary bees interesting, but very complicated. I didn't know much about solitary bees and needed help with not only locating and catching them, but also identifying them.

My friend Brian, an ecologist, helped look for them and catch them and then we had to go through a very long key to try and make an ID. To confirm our findings we then went to Liverpool Museum where Carl Clee helped us.

It was this process that led to the solitary bee prints. Reading the key, written by George Else, most of the words are unknown to me - minute parts of bee anatomy, beautiful and poetic.

I emailed Mr Else and he kindly gave me permission to use extracts from the key for the Andrena bees and i've made screen prints of 3 species: Andrena denticulata, Andrena helvola and Andrena subopaca.

Photos by Jonty Wilde

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Bee Maps

So, as you walk into the Garden Gallery at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, you will first see a year of bee records on one drawing. I have used a symbol for each species I found around the site between March and October 2010 (9 bumblebee species, 7 solitary bee species and honeybee). I have omitted all references to the landscape, but if you're familiar with the site you can see some rhythms in the patterns (along the lakeside, flower boarders near the visitor centre, the field line up to the Longside Gallery).

I have also made a map of bees for every month, showing a key for the symbols and any notes (names of the experts who helped me ID the bees and plants). Each drawing / map is A1 in size. Under the maps are some of the pressings i collected - i collected many more, but the space isn't big enough to show them all. I might scan the extra sheets and put them on the blog in the future... we'll see.

As i've mentioned below I had to cover the pressings as they are light sensitive. So I put red velvet covers over them, each with a little embroidered bee emblem.

Photos by Jonty Wilde

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Opening Day

On Friday 8th it was the opening of my exhibition Diligent Observation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The whole project has been leading towards this date - months of research, hours and hours of thought and quite a few more creating the artwork.

And what a fine day it was! The weather was absolutely wonderful - hot and sunny with the park looking at its best. I was on duty from 11am: first there was a brunch with the Coop Membership who sponsored YSP for my project; then to the Garden Gallery to conduct a tour / talk in the exhibition; being filmed in the gardens; then the opening all day with lots of people coming to see the show. The speeches were at 2pm (pictured above) and drinks were served.

There were another couple of openings at YSP on the same day: Mel Brimfield This is Performance Art in the Bothy Gallery and also the main event was really for Jaume Plensa in the main galleries and outdoors too. You didn't really think all those people in the photo were there for me, did you?

I got away from the site by 6pm and then had a really great night out in Barnsley!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Bee Keeping Museum

My friend Chiara, who lives in Feucht, Germany sent me an email the other day with a link to a museum of bees and bee keeping in the town there.

The image is from Blackboard Illustrations for Object Lessons by F.Steely and BH Trotman

Monday, 4 April 2011

Displaying the Pressings

The pressing sheets i've made for the exhibition are light sensitive, and as they will be on show for 3 months they have been put on a slanting shelf with perspex frame and then on top of that there is a velvet cover - so the visitor to the gallery has to lift the cover and reveal the pressing below.

I decided (in what turns out to be a rash moment) to embroider a little bee emblem for each of the covers in gold thread. I started to sew the bee emblems only about 10 days before i went to YSP to install the work and the first one took me over a week to do (in the evenings). Also i didn't know how many to do as we were working that out on site after the shelf had been put up.

When i arrived last week I had only completed 3 emblems and we then worked it out i need to do 8 in total.... So after working in the gallery all day i spent evenings sewing like mad and managed to complete 7 and stitch them to the covers too. The covers have been beautifully made by Adrianne.

I've come home with one of the covers and am working on the last bee emblem today and tomorrow. That'll be the last thing to finish for the exhibition.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Here We Go!

All last week I was at Yorkshire Sculpture Park installing my work for the exhibition.

It's been a great week and the show is looking close to finished now. All the framed works were put up by Tuesday, but there was still lots to fiddle with: the plant pressings, the model, the dead specimens etc...

Here are Nobby and Cullen putting up one of the solitary bee screen prints.