You may already know that this little image of a bee finds its way into all of my pottery. It is either stamped into the wet or leather hard clay, or I stamp it on the bottom of each piece with underglaze. And then there are the bee-skep* inspired pieces, the honey pots and butter dishes I've already shown you. I've always loved bees- I've even been known to find bees, drunk on necter, buried up to their hind ends in flowers and very carefully stroke their velvety bodies (please don't try this with honeybees. You'll get stung. It really only works with bumblebees).
Yesterday I met with some "colleagues" (can you call us colleagues when we're vendors at the same market?) from the Memphis Farmer's Market, Richard and Rita Underhill of Peace Bee Farm. My family uses a LOT of honey- we've gone through 4 lbs since November, so I called the Underhills to see if they sold in Memphis during the winter. They happened to be coming into town from Proctor, AR, so they met me at the museum and brought me another 4lb of honey. I enjoyed visiting with them-they are truly the nicest people, have the most lovely honey, and also have wonderful handmade beeswax candles. They said that they would be at the Memphis Farmers Market beginning in April, and assuming that the Memphis Botanic Gardens opens their Wednesday Farmers Market again, I'd expect to see them there, too. Richard and Rita were featured this past October on our local PBS affiliate's "Southern Routes" program, both because of last summer's scary bee die-off, and because they are so knowledgeable and approachable.
I have an essay about bees, my love for them, and their important role in our ecosystem and our food production, but for now, suffice it to say that I love them, and what we love shows up in our lives over and over and over again. More thoughts on bees to come.
* a bee skep is a domed, straw structure that were used to house bees in gardens in England and Europe, particularly Northern Europe. They are no longer used for attracting bees (illegal for housing them, in fact), but are decorative only, because of two things. 1) no way to protect against predators/mites. 2) to harvest the honey, the entire hive had to be destroyed. Sometimes if you see a picture of a bee hive, you're really looking at the skep. The hive is what the bees made themselves inside the skep, hollow tree, or modern wooden bee boxes.