Monday, May 12, 2014


A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful luck of crossing paths with Jarrett Mellenbruch. He was giving a talk on his HAVEN project at the local sculpture park and art museum, the DeCordova in Lincoln, MA while I was visiting with the kids (You have heard me rave about previous exhibits here). I had to revise the preconceived notion of 'some artist jumping the bee bandwagon' I had when I first heard of the HAVEN project (kinda humbling to confess that in public, isn't it?).

beehive, honey bee, public sculpture, bee hive, honeybee, public beehive, pollination, deep ecology
A HAVEN hive on its 15ft pole.
Photo credit: Jarrett Mellenbruch
Jarrett is not only a 3rd generation beekeeper, and extremely knowledgeable, but also has enlisted top notch support for his project, both on the artistic and the bee science side of things. I learned a lot during his talk, and was impressed by his ability to think about beekeeping from the perspective of the bees (who want to be living high up in trees, in cavities of particular dimensions, and don't really care to be disturbed regularly by a nosy, thieving beekeeper...). After the talk I offered him my help, being that he was installing two HAVEN hives far from his home in Kansas, and I am a local beekeeper itching to learn more about swarms and how to attract or catch them.

Fast forward a few weeks, and my friend Kaat and I found ourselves back at the DeCordova, learning from Jarrett about his sculptures/hives and how to install swarms in them. Turns out the rock climbing experiences of my youth will come in extremely handy here... I cannot wait to be able to show you action shots! Picture a bubble-headed beekeeper, armed with a box of live bees, climbing a tall pole that is swaying gently in the breeze! (Feeding back into the theme of: The worse the idea, the more excited I get about it ...).

Once swarms are installed, it is the hope that the HAVEN hives will continue to house thriving colonies, who in turn will issue swarms, and contribute to the health of the overall bee population. They will provide data about the habits and life of thriving feral bee colonies, but also (re)acquaint their human visitors with honeybees. Visitors will be encouraged to learn more about bees, and to submit observations of the HAVEN hives to the project. Knowing how interested most people react when I start 'talking bees', this is one of my favorite aspects of the whole project. So excited to be a little part of it, and hope many people will visit and come away with the same sense of wonder and amazement that strikes me every time I learn more about bees.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! Hope to see you again this week!
    Mary @ Back to the Basics