|Redbud and the Bees, 18" x 24", linocut with collaged washi papers by Ele Willoughby, 2018|
|Proof of my Eastern Carpenter Bee linocut and block|
|My redbud linocuts on various pink washi papers|
It was Charlotte's suggestion that I focus on the eastern carpenter bee. Like the redbuds themselves, the eastern carpenter bee is at the northernmost end of its range, which is advancing northward with climate change and aided by urbanization (because cities are warmer due to the urban heat island effect, which likely helps them survive our winters). In fact, since people are planting redbud trees in their gardens, we're inadvertently aiding migration of both tree and bee. She points out that "redbuds are now starting to naturalize in ravines and woodlots across southern Ontario." What brings the X. virginica into conflict with its human neighbours is that female carpenter bees of course, build nests by boring holes into untreated wood structures, including outdoor furniture and buildings. Thus these bees are often considered pests by home owners and we are still working on 'learning to co-exist.' To emphasis this conflict, I printed weathered wood with round holes like thoses bored by eastern carpenter bees.
If you live in Toronto and own or know of a nearby redbud tree, you too can take part in the urbanredbud citizen science project. Check it out here.
I got a lot of positive feedback on my linocut of the redbud before I added the bees, so I think I will also make a simpler piece of the tree branches alone.