Collaboration with the Irish Black Bee
The structure that holds the honeycomb sculpture was built as a utilitarian device when I was first learning how to properly check the frames within the hive. Because the honeycomb while in the hive is soft and malleable, the lack of an exterior frame as a supporting structure leaves the comb vulnerable. This collapsible holder allows me to inspect the comb and the bees' health without twisting the delicate comb.
The accuracy and skill of the honeybee's hexagon is juxtaposed against my crude frame holder while speaking to the relationship between myself, as beekeeper and artist, and the bees as collaborators
This a detail of the honeycomb sculpture.
This is view of the back of the sculpture.
The collaboratively produced honeycomb sculptures are created through a process called ‘Barefoot Beekeeping,’ a sustainable alternative to commercial beekeeping. Created in a top bar hive, the bees build comb as they would in the wild. Within the hive, I then make gentle interventions and aesthetic adjustments to encourage the bees to build irregular sculptural forms.