I made two Bee tapestries in 2009; the first is of our hives over by the flooded Wabash river (the river is one field away from us, but in the spring the field floods up to our property line, where the hives live). The second came later, begun after watching in admiration and dismay as we lost 3 swarms of bees in May last year (“come back! come back! what did we do wrong?”). Swarming is a breathtakingly beautiful sight, when the air is filled with a vibrant buzzing audible from a long way away as the bees leave the hive and hover over it for a while, in a cloud, waiting for the next command from their queen. They then move up into a nearby tree and hang in a quivering mass as the scouts go out — for hours or sometimes for days — to find a new home. In our case, it took about 2 hours, during which we wrung our hands and wondered how to get a ladder high enough to reach them and get them down (Ben has experience with capturing swarms, but not a long ladder!). The as we watched, they suddenly let loose and flew in a huge mass across the field toward the river, never to be seen again. (“come home! come home!”)

3 thoughts on “bees

  1. Sally

    Love the story, and the tapestries. My favorite one of all of yours is the swarming bees. Like glimmering stars.

  2. Fiber Focus

    Oh, I hadn’t seen these! I especially like the second one. It’s so joyous!

    My cousins and I were attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets when we were kids (hmmmm….. were we where we weren’t supposed to be???) and my father was attacked by African killer bees out in rural Brazil when I was a teenager. When he got home he sat down and asked me to get a pair of tweezers to pull out the stingers from his head. There were at least 40! I love bees, but don’t know if I would have the guts to tend them…

  3. LFN Textiles

    I love being safe in my suit with bees buzzing around my head… I think they are rather wonderful creatures and can’t wait until I am at ease enough to tend them without a bee suit. Remember these are honeybees, not yellowjackets!

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