Attend To Your Community

 

bronze, silk, glass eyes, shellac

approximately 9inches X 9inches X 6inches each

Bees are one of the most social of animals. The cooperation in a bee colony is highly organized. Every bee knows it's own work and does it, without a king, boss, or ruler. The queen's job is not to direct the colony, but to provide eggs for the continuation of the colony. Bees have a form of communication that is nearly as complex as human's. The language of the honeybee is not a spoken language, but is built around intricate dances. The duration and the direction of the dances communicate the distance and direction of the flowers whose pollen is to be gathered, the declination of the sun as it relates to the flowers and the hive, and the the type of flowers.

Bees and humans have long interacted. The oldest known record of humans and bees together dates from 15000 B.C., in the Cuevas de la Arana, in Valencia, spain. It shows a man climbing up a wall, carrying a basket to gather honey from a hole in the wall, bees swarming around him. Written records indicate that migratory beekeeping up and down the Nile River in Ancient Egypt was common. The Greeks and Romans were well versed in Bee-keeping. Both Aristotle and Virgil write about their observations of bees social behavior. Not native, honeybees (Apis Mellifera) were brought to the the Americas in 1622, and possibly earlier.

The study of bees continues. The genome of the honeybee was completely mapped in the fall of 2006. It's transcription will help to shed light on the evolution of sociality in bees and humans. It will also help to save both honeybees and native, solitary pollinating bees, whose populations haved declined by 50 percent since the 1970's. The cause is believed to be two types of parasites, along with pesticides and the loss of native plant habitats. A new report shows bee populations have disasterously fallen with a new ailment called "Colony Collapse Disorder". This new disease could become perilous for the food supply, as well as for already endangered plants, as bees are the greatest pollinators on the planet. some of the crops that depend on bees for pollination are: peaches, apples, soybeans, pears, pumpkins, cherries, cucumbers, raspberries, and many more.

The definition of the word "Attend" starts with "To stretch to; to direct the mind or energies to; to watch over; to direct one's care to; to regard". An earlier piece I made about bees is entitled "Attend to Your Relationships". This installation of bees is about my relationship with my community. As I care for it, and attend, so it cares and attends to me.

I always forget how much labor is involved in bronze casting. The bees were made by the lost wax casting technique at the foundry at santa Fe Community College. The process started with a positive carved out of wood, which I then made a mold of. The wax is poured into the mold, then the channels where the bronze will run (sprues) are added. After the sprued waxs are dipped in eight coatings of ceramic shell, the shell is heated to vitrify it, and the wax burns out. The bronze is then poured into the shell. After being allowed to cool down some, the shell is knocked off. You then have the rough casting. Next, the excess bronze is chopped off. The two halves of the bee's body are then welded together, and then the welds are ground smooth. Chasing is the term used for treating the metal where the welds were, or any other imperfections, so that they have the same texture as the rest of the piece.Then, the main wing parts are added. Next, the bee is colored (patinaed) by dipping in a liver of sulpher solution. The glass eyes are then epoxied in, and the the patina is buffed off from the highlighted areas. I then add the wings, which involves soldering the rest of the wing veins, then glueing silk to the veins, which is then coated with two coats of shellac. In the final step, paste wax is applied to the metal parts, then heated and buffed off. !!!!!

 
     



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2007 Erika Wanenmacher