Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New box, new exhibit

I just finished my newest box, Victorian Roses, in time to send it to the "In Bloom" exhibit at the Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts in Duluth, GA.
The box does not contain a necklace but a journal and a pen. There is a small compartment inside the lid to keep "secrets". (I only have a couple of snapshots!)
"In Bloom" is an invitational exhibit featuring Steve Penley and will run from March 1 to May 12, 2012. For more information, visit

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Upcoming exhibits

Manipulated and enamled copper and fabric, piece on exhibit at the Focus Gallery, Folk Art Center in Asheville
It has been a long time since I wrote anything in my blog.
It seemed that creativity had just gone away, with the desire to work in my
Although that gave me a chance to do other things I was
interested in (like started my bee yard), something was missing in my life and
I was not quite sure of my identity anymore.

It seems that 2012 is starting on a more positive note with
2 upcoming exhibits of my work.
One of them is at the Cabarrus County Arts Council, titled “In
& Out” and I was invited to share the boxes of my Offerings series. The
exhibit will open on January 17 and run until March 8, 2012. The Cabarrus Arts
Council is situated in the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse in downtown Concord, a
really beautiful building. The exhibit rooms look wonderful.
If you are in that area and would like to see the show, here
is the contact information:
Historic Courthouse, 65 Union Street South, Concord, NC
Phone: (704) 920 (2787), website:

The other exhibit, for which I made new work, mostly in embroidered
fabric and manipulated copper, is in the Focus Gallery at the Folk Art Center
(on the Blue Ridge Parkway close to Asheville). The Focus gallery showcases the
work of members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, usually two artists at a
time. I will share the space with glass artist Cheryl Hevrdeys. The exhibit
opens on January 14 and will run until April 17, 2012.
For more information, contact the Folk Art Center, Milepost
382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, phone: (828) 298 2514, website:

Emberoidered fabric, beads and copper, Focus Gallery, Folkd Art Center, Asheville

So, back to the studio I go!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

After 2 weeks

I have now had my two hives for just over two weeks and I had to open them and check that things were going OK. First thing to note, I have NOT mastered the use of the smoker! But even without smoke, I could look into the hives and move the frames around:
Apparently, bees start building the comb, laying eggs and storing food on the frames in the center of the hive. So to speed things up, once they have been working on the 4-5 frames in the middle, it is a good idea to take one frame from the side and put it in the middle.
That is what I did in both hives. I did not see the queens but saw eggs, larvae, capped brood (which is when cells have been closed with wax for a larva to turn into a bee. She will have to chew the wax cap to get out) apparently things are the way they should be! I wish I could have taken pictures of what I saw, but it is kind of tricky to hold a frame covered with bees in one hand and hold the camera to take a picture with the other. It would not be a good idea to drop that frame!!!
What I could photograph though were pieces of comb that were sticking out over the frames (I had left too much space between frames in the first place, now I know better!) and these pieces had to be removed. Some of the cells were already filled with pollen (something with dark yellow pollen must be blooming right now) .
Other cells were filled with nectar (see the shiny stuff in the lower left corner?)
In any case, I will keep these pieces of wax until I have more and can do something with it. I was very surprised to see how white it is!
At the end of the class I took earlier this year at our local agricultural extension office, I had won a hive and its colony! So two days ago, I went to pick up the colony for that third hive from Mr. Holbert (Holbert Bee Supplies in Saluda, NC), who taught the class and gave away the hive.
Instead of being in a box like the other bees, these were already in a small hive (called a nuc, if you want to hear to proper term!)
So I had to take the frames (with the bees) and put them in the larger hive, among 5 other new frames. It was quite exciting.
The box was closed with some wire mesh to keep the bees in during transport. Those little guys were ready to get out!
Some of the bees were gathered on the lig of the small box. On the right of the photo, you can see the frames I have removed from the big box.
These are the bees on the frames in the small box. (phot above)
And now they are in the big hive.... (photo below)
Most of them anyway! I left the small box by the hive and by dusk, they were all in the hive. Good girls!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

a swarm

I had the opportunity yesterday evening to learn and experience something new about bees. My friend Kathy was getting a hive from one of her friends, who also had a swarm. So yesterday evening, we went to get the hive and collect the swarm.
Personally, I had never seen a swarm before. It is a big "clump" of bees that leave a hive for one reason or the other (a lot of the time because the hive is over-crowded). A large group of bees, including the queen, leaves and finds a provisory location on a tree limb, or some other place.
Apparently, swarms are easy to catch (that is, if they don't choose the top of a 30-foot tree)because the bees, knowing that they would not have a "home" for a while, gorge themselves on honey before leaving, so they are pretty docile.
We put the hive box, minus most of the frames, under the branch where the swarm was hanging (fortunately it was a low branch, easy to reach), and we sprayed the bees with sugar syrup to make them even more quiet.
After a little while, Kathy just shook the swarm into the hive! Most of the bees fell in.
We waited a little while for stragglers to join the others then Kathy brushed the bees gathered at the entrance of the hive into a box and dropped them in the hive.
Then we closed the entrance of the hives, tied them down, loaded them into the back of the truck, and off we went to Kathy's yard, the bees' new home. Almost looks like Christmas, doesn't it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bees- day 3

I had to open the hives this morning to check the feeders and refill them. I was not sure at all what to expect. I must say, I was very surprised at how placid the bees were. When I removed the feeders, some bees were on them, but all I had to do was brush them carefully away.
It looks like they have been chewing on the sugar candy to liberate the queen, so that is good news, and may be the queens are out in the hive already. I have to be patient and wait another couple of days before I can check that for sure. So, so far, so good!
You can see the queen cage on the left half of the picture.
Next time I open the hive, I will have to smoke the bees (and try not to fry them!) and take out some of the frames to make sure the queen is out and has started laying eggs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

And here they are

Today was the day and this morning, I went to pick up my bees. Fortunately, my friend Kathy, who had kept bees before, came and stayed with me to take pictures and provide moral support!
So here I am in my little beekeeper outfit!

I sprayed the bees with sugar syrup (which I had prepared yesterday) to calm them. This is 3 pounds of bees and a queen.
Then I carry the box from the car to the hive.
I need to remove 3 frames from the middle of the hive so that I can shake the bees in the hive. On the pictures, I am spraying the frames I removed with sugar syrup.
Time to remove the box cover. Things are getting serious!

I have to remove the feeding box in order to get the queen cage out then let the bees in the hive. But it is not as easy to get that thing out as I thought it would be!

Now that the box is opened, I am pouring the bees into the hive. First I jar the box on the hive to make the bees fall at the bottom (picture on the left), then I just pour them in the hive. Some fall right in, the others I have to shake in there.
Most of the bees are in the hive. A few are
flying around and some are still in the box.

Then I must carefully replace the frames without crushing the bees.

Next, I must get the queen cage ready. One end of the queen cage needs to be opened. Even after I remove the cork, it is still blocked by "sugar candy", which she will have to chew away in order to get out. I supposed this is to give time to the colony to get used to her pheromones and recognize her as their queen. The queen cage is just placed on top of the frames.

At first the bees will need to be fed and I am placing jars of syrup around
the queen cage.
Just putting the top box (super) without frames around the queen cage and the feeders. The crumpled newspaper around is just to prevent the bees from building comb at that spot and to insulate the queen a little.
Some of those bees really don't want to leave the box and I am trying to shake them and make them fall into the hive.
Final step, I put the lid back on the hive.

So it is done! they are in the hive (most of them anyway), and I am exhausted! too much excitement!...but there is one more package to put in the second hive later today. I just have to wait so they don't get all confused!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ready for the bees!

Two more days before I go pick up my bees! it is exiting and scary too. I am not scared of the bees but there is just so many things to remember.
This is the back of the hives. The entrance of the hives is facing South/East.
A couple of weeks ago, John and I had dug the bases for the hives and stacked up cinder blocks. Yesterday, I brought the hives down on the bases. Right now, I left the frames only in the bottom box.
And here is the front. I blocked the entrance with newspaper so that no unwanted creature can get in!
The top box is without frames so that I can put feeders with sugar syrup in there. Once I don't have to feed the bees any more and they have built combs on just about all those frames, I will add the frames in the upper box.