The Honey Bee and the Hive curated by Wendy Ramshaw CBE RDI

Some of the artists will
be in the gallery for an
informal discussion on
Thursday 25th March

Sarah Denny–silver
Joseph Harrington–glass
Matthew Harris–textiles
Cecil Jordan–wood
Suleyman Saba–ceramics

The London Bee Keeping Association are giving various
talks throughout the exhibition. Click here for details.

FREE Spring Workshops for Children will run throughout
the exhibition, click here for details.

The Honey Bee and the Hive “Bees, it is said are the most studied creatures on the planet after man”

In 2008 Sarah Edwards the Director of Contemporary Applied Arts asked me if I would curate an exhibition. I said yes and thought about a possible theme to draw together a group of craftsmen and women working in different materials and in different ways. I came to no conclusion until listening to Michael Wolff, co-founder of the renowned design practice Wolff Olins at the Albert Hall. During his speech of thanks to the Royal College of Art on behalf of the 2009 honorands he told the audience that the most important thing he could say was “Bees.” He continued: ‘Einstein once predicted that, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” No more bees, no more pollination …no more men’. I had found my theme. Twenty eight artist craftsmen and women have worked in their studios to create a magical exhibition of useful and decorative objects inspired by the honey bee and the hive. Through their work and inspiration they have brought unique objects into our world, which aim to demonstrate the wonder of the bee. All share a common concern for our dramatically diminishing bee population. In this exhibition they speak through their work to others who care for both bees and

Wendy Ramshaw CBE RDI




Vicki Ambery-Smith

Rupert Williamson

Wendy Ramshaw

Above:Zoe Arnold, Below: Joanna Veevers

Bee Facts
Bees have been producing honey in the same way for over one hundred and fifty million years

• Bees fly about 55,000 miles or one and half times around the world to make
just one pound of honey.
• Romans used honey instead of gold to pay their taxes.
• Edible honeycomb more than three thousand years old was found in the tombs of the Pharaohs
• Royal jelly is the food fed to queen bee larvae.

Why Do Bees Make Honey? Honey bees are special in that they over winter as a colony unlike wasps and bumblebees (see Biology). The colony does not hibernate but stays active and clusters together to stay warm. This requires a lot of food stored from the summer before. Although a hive only needs 20-30 lb of honey to survive an average winter, the bees are capable, if given the space of collecting much more. This is what the beekeeper wants them to do.

Bees have:
Six Legs: the rear pair are especially designed with stiff hairs to store pollen when flying from flower to flower and the front pair have slots for cleaning their antenna. Four Wings: the front and rear wings hook together to form one big pair of wings and unhook for easy folding when not flying. Five Eyes: two large compound eyes and three smaller single lens eyes in the centre
of their head.
• Honey bees are the highest form of insect life. They live in a well organised
colony that does not need to hibernate.

In high summer a maximum of around 35,000 bees live in a beehive, dropping to around 5,000 in the winter.
• It is not understood (by humans) why bees will tolerate only one queen
• A worker bee lives for about 40 days
• Bees need to communicate with each other to pass on the location of food
sources. They have evolved a unique dance language in order to do this.
• To navigate bees use the position of the sun. There is evidence of their
sensitivity to the earth’s magnetic field.
• Bees see colour. Their eyes are sensitive more to the blue end of the spectrum
• They can fly as far as five miles for food. A strong colony flies the equivalent
distance of to the moon every day.
• The normal top speed of a worker is around 15-20mph (21-28km/h).
• During swarming, bees dance to pass on information about a possible new
home. This can continue through the night, so, without the sun, what do the
bees do? The answer is that they dance at angles calibrated to the sun on
the other side of the world. Bees knew the world was round about 25 million
years before man.
• Honey is anti-bacterial – in the Napoleonic Wars it was used as a medicinal
treatment on open wounds
• Mead is still made with honey as in mediaeval times.
• The driveways to stately homes were often lined with lime trees, producing a
honey with a distinctive taste

and from the BBC Radio 4 broad cast, by Shelia Dillon, from the National Honey
Show,16:00 broadcast Mon, 9 Nov 2009:



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