Saturday, June 30, 2012

bees are different than you think...

Meet a bee which is native to this part of the world (the new world, or western hemisphere). This is the Agapostemon Sericeus or sweat bee. Agapostemon755

It is metallic, iridescent, blue-green (though males have black and white or yellow stripes on their abdomens), and doesn't live in a hive. These are solitary bees. It generally lives in the ground, like most bees, or makes a nest in rotted wood. Though these are not like the familiar (but entirely non-native, introduced) honeybee, in appearance or behaviour, Agapostemon are also important pollinators.

This is a linocut with two sorts of chine collé papers (green saiko-shi with laminated threads, like the bee hairs, and non-woven metallic silver-blue paper) on Japanese kozo (or mulberry), 9.25" by 8.25" or 23.5 cm by 21 cm. There are 12 prints in the edition. I used the two coloured papers to try to replicate the insect's lovely iridescent blue-green sheen.

I have a longer term project in mind, with a collection of different sort of bees we find locally in Ontario, inspired by a conversation with artist-composer-musician Sarah Peebles, who explained to me the difference between solitary and communal bees and the importance of solitary bees in our own environment.

They are called sweat bees, apparently, because they are attracted to perspiration, so this seems an apt fellow for such a hot summer day.

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