Fifty Bees III: The Interconnectedness of Everything

I am excited to be involved in the third year of ‘Fifty Bees: The Interconnectedness of Everything’. This is the third in a series of exhibitions conceived and curated by Lydia Needle to raise awareness of the 270 recorded species of UK bees and their habitats. The past two years have seen this annual event grow in stature and momentum. The focal point is Lydia’s fifty needle-felted bees displayed in small vintage containers. These will link to the artwork from fifty different artists, who have each researched one of the bees.

As one of the team of ‘Bee Keepers’ helping to co-ordinate the artists, I have learnt so much of the variety and diversity of these amazing insects and their habitat. From the cuckoo to the mining bee and of course, the honeybee, their life cycle and future hangs in the balance as their habitats disappear. A recent scientific review highlighted the plummeting decline of insects including a 46% decline in global bee species in the last decade.

The variety of responses is always exciting to see. This year, I have been allocated the Sphecodes longulus, the little sickle jaw blood bee. One of its habitats is the Thames Estuary and the brown field sites whose flora and fauna provide a valuable source of nectar. I have based my response on information gathered from these sites that are rapidly disappearing as they are developed for industry and a growing London population.

The resulting collective exhibition will be at The Brewhouse in Taunton from 9 March to 6 May with artists’ talks and workshops, see website for full details.

Joy Merron

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