Author Elizabeth Lawrence said “The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.” This quote embodies for me the importance of bees in our natural world. They pollinate about 80% of our crops and are therefore crucial to our food security. I admire their highly organized social structure as well as their very aesthetically pleasing built physical structures. As far as animal communities go theirs is a great example of a social structure with division of labour, complex communication and social interaction. All insects are fascinating to me in different ways, but bees are special to humans.
I was planning to do my piece about ants. I monoprinted a piece of fabric with black scribbles, and then dyed it in what I thought was a pleasing dark brown colour only to discover that it actually came out in shades of a slate blue/gray colour. There went my plan to go underground and depict an anthill. I decided to be flexible and go with bees instead, which I’m happy about now as Lisa Walton did a great job doing the anthill! (see here)
I painted a large sheet of Lutradur, a non-woven material, with gold (and a hint of red) fabric paint. I don’t own a fabric cutter, so after ironing on paper backed fusible web to the backside I sat down and marked and cut out a lot of hexagons. I used both the negative and positive shapes in my piece. Each single shape is stitched on, which was the quilting for this piece.
For the bees, I used ultra lightweight Lutradur, as I wanted them to be a bit transparent but still strong enough to applique. The bees are drawn on the Lutradur with black markers.
May the hum of bees never disappear from our gardens!
The Hum of Bees
w 26" x h 40"
cotton, Lutradur, paint