The "Thresholds" show at 6 Gallery has been replaced with a show called "Delicious" for November and December 2007. For me personally, the words "delicious" and "insect" do, in fact, go together, because of a long research paper I wrote in college on Entomophagy (the eating of insects, visit link for full text of that paper: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=19470681&blogID=90540791 ) However, most edible insects are squishy (grubs and the like) and therefore not suitable to be dried and put into a frame. Besides that, who would really buy a piece made with grubs?? I'm happy (and relieved!) to say that I was able to come up with an insect-themed piece that might bring up images that most Americans might consider "delicious"! After much thinking, the answer was obvious: honeybees.
I consider myself extremely lucky that I happened to be in possession of several hundred bees. Bees aren't easy to come by in the dried insect trade, so when I heard that my step-brother's house had a bee problem, I ran to the scene where several hundred bees had met their maker at the hands of an exterminator. I didn't know what I'd do with 500 bees at the time, but they were too good to pass by. I'm glad I had the foresight to box them up!
I'm sure you're aware that honeybees aren't very large, but these particular ones were smaller than most of the wild bees I've seen in my garden. Therefore, in order to make a "master work" including bees, I knew I'd have to use a LOT of them! If one is going to make a display using lots of small objects, I'd say a good way to be effective is to use the small objects to make one big object. (As a child, did you ever read that book "Swimmy", where lots of little fish swim together to look like one big fish? http://www.amazon.com/Swimmy-Leo-Lionni/dp/0394817133 ) In order for everyone to make the connection between bees and the delicious honey, I decided to form the bees into a honeycomb pattern.
Easier said than done, I discovered. It took a little more math and geometry than I expected in order to form my honeycomb pattern from scratch and calculate how many bees I would need. I knew I'd need to spread about 200 bees for the piece. That sounded like a lot of work, but bees are small and don't require much skill, right? Wrong! The bees took MUCH longer than I expected, in part due to their small size, and also because their wings did not cooperate with being moved like a cicada or butterfly. Even after being softened up, the bee wings were fairly rigid.
About 20 hours later, 200 bees were ready for use. I spread the bees in three different positions: wings at rest, wings up, and wings out. The idea was that the bees that form the main body of the honeycomb shape would be "at rest", as if crawling around in the hive, and as you get further out to the edge of the honeycomb, the bees would begin to open their wings and fly off.
Here's how my idea turned out! The piece is for sale exclusively at 6 Gallery until around Christmas. After that, if it has not sold, I'll have it for sale in my etsy shop. I hope you like it!