Have shamelessly neglected posting things on this website, the fall has been difficult, not least because of Covid. So, finally, here are some of the images I’ve been working on. Most of the images start their lives with a seed, seed head or pod and then other parts enter into play.
The exhibition I am sharing with entomologist and friend, Lincoln Best opened on Sunday at the Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver. We had a great time at the vernissage! Thank you to all of you who came out to see the show. Exhibition continues at the gallery until July 21, 2018.
We are offering 2 workshops in tandem with this show–the first is on Sunday June 17, from 2-4 pm. A free drop-in drawing and printmaking workshop with artist Cyndy Chwelos, for participants of all ages. Everyone welcome!
The second free workshop is on Saturday, June 30, at 2:00 pm. Artist and author, Lori Weidenhammer (aka Madame Beespeaker) of Victory Gardens for Bees fame, and educator and naturalist Erin Udal will engage participants in an interactive, fun workshop on identifying native bees and gardening for pollinators! Registration for this workshop is suggested and can be made through Seymour Art Gallery
Projection of Thimbleberry blossom: part of the exhibition.
I placed a blossom on my scanner to see what would happen to the anthers — would the blossom die, would the anthers open and shed their pollen? Leaving the blossom on the scanner, I scanned the progress of development over several hours and then joined the still images into a video. (With many thanks for Ace Media for the video help).
A print of an enlarged dissection of a Cranesbill Geranium blossom. One of the tricky aspects of printing on this thin gampi paper is that the printer does not like it, and the inkheads of the printer tend to clog and splotch, often resulting in a totally messed up and unusable print. You can see the bottom edge of the image has black spotches.
Close up detail of the bottom left section of the larger print (above). I’ve tried to rescue the print by creating little drawings around the ink splotches. Not sure if this is successful, but I am going to use the image anyway as evidence of this inevitable part of the printing process.
A little earlier in the season, the bumblebees had been very active on my rhodos and azaleas. I noticed that the bees would dive into the blossom head first to get at the nectar at the center of the bloom, but they would also hover at the ends of the long stamens, performing arial gymnastics, and buzzing away in a different tone,’sonic pollinating,’ coaxing the anther to release its pollen. This is so cool to watch. The change in tone is clearly audible. I read an article by Buchmann et als that states that bumblebees don’t actively collect pollen from rhodos, but these little guys certainly did and do.
Yesterday I went to the UBC Farm market to purchase their wonderful vegetables, herbs and flowers as I often do. Yesterday’s super treat was the Honey Extraction and sale by Jenny Ma of Vancouver Honeybees http://www.VANCOUVERHONEYBEES.com.
After the recent articles on pesticides and the dire problems with disappearing bees, it was so refreshing to experience something beautiful and joyful. Jenny uses “top bar hives” for her bees. She brought a demonstration hive for the participants to see; a hive which she actually made herself! She says the top bar hive is the least intrusive method of managing her charges. The bees form the wax comb themselves to the sizes that they naturally need, so the final honeycomb is more freeform in shape than the foundation-based Langstroth hives that are widely used in beekeeping. The bees have to work harder to make their own wax comb, but it is fantastic to see their own architectural creations.
It was great fun watching Jenny go through the extraction process and to bring home jars of honey and pollen still in the comb. The honey is so fragrant, it’s amazing!
“Golden, gilded, glad (2)” : last year, I posted a poem “Bees” by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, from her book entitled “The Bees”. Couldn’t resist using her work again as title to this post. Here’s an extract of the poem:
Been deep, my poet bees,
in the parts of flowers,
in daffodil, thistle, rose, even
the golden lotus, so glide,
gilded, glad, golden, thus –
wise – and know of us:
how your scent pervades
my shadowed, busy heart,
and honey is art.
March 9. A beautiful day finally after some grey days of rain. And wow! I came upon a little patch of crocus in my neighborhood, no more than 2 metres square, and there buzzing away, hard at work, were a dozen or so honeybees. I only had my cell phone with me, but couldn’t resist taking some photos of this year’s first sighting (for me, that is). Some of the bees were covered in pollen, and on others, I could see that they already had the beginnings of a pollen load forming in the pollen baskets of their back legs. What a treat.
The M-Webster dictionary gives the following definitions for threshold
“…a physical marker, like the plank, stone or piece of timber that lies under a door. The end or boundary, the place or point of entering or beginning; the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced. A level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not.”
The point of interest for me is that portion of that definition that speaks of the “end or boundary, the point of entering or beginning,” that ambiguous point that is both beginning and end, true and not true, real and unreal – and one which can be considered physically, psychologically or symbolically.
I think perhaps Nancy, with his poetic play on words, intimates the possibilities of the word – threshold – and places our involvement with the image in these multiple realms of experience, for (I have found) Nancy never leaves a word with one bound meaning, but enjoys the layered and shifting sense that each word can invoke.