It is a fact that without bees humans would starve and I think we must inherently understand this fact even if not consciously, because the amount of artistic inspiration that has come from bee and hive imageray is asoundingly beautiful.
These hives have a cheerful almost flag like motif These brighten up the winter for sure!
(credit: dreamstime.com) (credit: blessed bees, Pinterest)
Exceeding far beyond decorative honey soaps, not that those aren’t rad, bees have been inspiring artists for centuries. Whether it is in the way a keeper decorates their hive or how a stylist creates your hair-do to cakes, toys, and jewelry, there is no escaping the influence of the hive. Let’s take a look!
Slovenian art hives (credit Pinterest) Lavender hives (credit Lavender by the Bay)
In researching hives, I quickly became aware of the aesthetic consideration keepers take when building and decorating their hives. I see this as a tribute to the bees. Adornment as art are vital parts of human culture and examples can be witnessed from centuries back to the present. We adorn what we care for and the level of attention given to hives, which could otherwise be simply seen as utilitarian is astounding and impressive. Painting imagery, many with a Christian motif, is especially in popular in eastern Europe, but painting the hives in bright colors is popular everywhere. Are these lavender hives not gorgeous? They integrate into the beautiful environment, but also stand out as beautiful in their own right. Can you imaging how delicious lavender honey would taste?
(credit: Sandy Sauter, Etsy)
Bee hives are a strong motif in the modern fiber arts as well. From spinning styles to knitting patterns to felted art pieces, the hive shape is a reoccurring pattern in this area of the arts. This makes sense to me since many of these hand arts are traditional craft just like beekeeping itself!
Hive lamp (credit: Anthropologie) 50s hairdryer (credit: Pinterest)
Beehives have also been inspiring utilitarian design for decades. I even remember learning about their influence in my 20th Century art history class in regard to the Bauhaus and International movements.
(credit: Pinterest) (credit: Etsy)
On to the topic of personal adornment, this wouldn’t be complete without a shout out to the midcentury beehive hairdo! (which is on the comeback I learned) Bees can be found in jewelry for centuries. Egyptian to Art Noveau, artists and fashionistas love bees in their designs. I thought these vintage glass hive earrings were especially cool.
(credit: Pinterest) (credit: hatchearlychildhood.com)
And no National Bee Month would be complete without a reference to the ways you can use both honey and bee imagery in cooking for the children! How cool is this cake and these bee hive toys are incredible! What young child wouldn’t love a “Bee Day” that included visiting a farm with some hives. a honey tasting, baking this cake to share with the family, and then receiving these wooden toys as a special treat?
What type of bee or hive imagery do you most enjoy?
Is it related to a nature inspired movement such as the Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, or American Craft?
Seeds to Sprout:
Check out the Beehive Design Collective, a radical volunteer group of artists making progressive politically inspired graphic arts and design with a mission “To cross-pollinate the grassroots, by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools.” They are super well know for their posters.
Bees in Art is an entire gallery devoted to bees in art of course! So cool!
Bees in the art of ancient cultures
Bee symbolism throughout the ages
Try your hand at making a beehive cake of your own with this recipe from the blog Salt and Serenity. This is a great post with lots of in progress recipe pictures, info on colony collapse disorder, what you can do to help prevent it, the importance of bees in our lives, and even poses the idea of making this for Rosh Hashanah. (Sorry I’m a week lat eon this recipe!) If anyone converts it to vegan let me know–well vegan minus local honey grown from a farmer you know who treats his bees well, of course.