For this project Barbara Manning inherited the Bee Egg done by Natasha Bezuidenhout in 2019. With climate change and the use of pesticides, our pollinators (of which bees are the most important, but this includes moths, butterflies and some birds) are under severe threat.
Plants reproduce by means of flowers, which attract pollinators to fertilise plants as they visit flowers to collect pollen. The egg’s nest is made up of four flower petals – each symbolic of the main continents making up a globalised world: Africa, Europe, north and south Americas and Asia. Each “continent petal” features maps and handwritten names of plants and food crops associated with a particular continent, forming a pattern around the maps. Painted and stitched paper bees are placed around the egg. This is symbolic of the resurgence of the bee population – with our care and stewardship.
Being mindful of the project’s brief – recycling – materials were chosen for the construction which could be recycled at the project’s end. The petals were constructed from cardboard overlaid with newspaper paper maché. The petals were attached to the bottom of the egg using a mixture of torn-up egg boxes, water and flour and then paper maché. The petals were decorated with paper, water-based glues and acrylic paints. All nest materials, including the paper bees (paper, acrylic paints and cotton thread) can be recycled and reused.
Barbara’s concept for the Bee Egg nest is clear and free of artistic jargon – a concept that everyone may embrace. Taking care of our pollinators is vital to the future of sustainable life on this planet.