Posts Tagged 'bee house'

Solitary Bee House

Bees are a hot topic right now, and rightly so.

Bee populations are falling at an alarming rate, which isn’t cool when you consider how essential they are to our food system. The use of pesticides and monocultures of commodity crops (like wheat and corn) that sterilize the landscape of biodiversity are just two of the contributing factors to their disappearance.

Agapostemon, Solitary Bee

Last summer I attended a Pollinators workshop put on by the good people at TheStop.org. The presenter that day was artist and bee enthusiast, Stephen Humphrey. He explained the differences between solitary and communal bees and how important it was to encourage their presence in our yards through the help of bee houses and by growing native plants.

I was especially delighted to learn that a certain emerald wasp-like insect I had photographed in my garden (see above) was in fact a species of solitary bee called Agapostemon. In fact, it’s one of Stephen’s favourite species and it’s not hard to see why. They’re absolutely gorgeous!

Stephen is part of an ecologically-minded artist’s group called Resonating Bodies. I recommend checking out their bee house installations!

paper cut bee illustration solitary bee house

Flash forward 6 months later, and there I was, illustrating solitary bees for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s kid’s publication, WILD. (Thanks to AD, Steve Balaban)

Bee_Bungalow

The step by step guide teaches kids how to make their own bee house out of the simplest of materials: drilling holes into pieces of wood. Here’s another way of making a bee house I spotted at Toronto Blooms, using clustered bamboo sticks.

bamboo_beehouse2

The construction of bee houses combined with the replanting of native wildflowers is one small step we can all take to help improve our bee numbers.

I plan on making one for my backyard and I’ll be sure to post an update on how it turns out!

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A piece of summer

This time last summer, I was busy making sketches for Shaping Up Summer’s book spreads. I remember scouring the city’s public gardens for insects and flowering perennials with my camera in hand, crouching in funny positions to record their details and capture that-oh-so-right perspective. 

Since one of the aims of the Math in Number series is to educate readers on indigenous plants and animals, the ecosystems I sketched out had to be seasonally accurate. This meant learning which flowers bloomed around the same time as each other. For instance, a iris paired with a sunflower would be a very unlikely sight, as one blooms in spring and the other in late summer.

Lizann Flatt, the author of the series, was a great help when it came to suggesting which plants to group together. Lizann lives up in the Muskoka region of Ontario and is well-versed in her wildflowers. Her attention to detail is what makes this series so special, in my opinion.

coneflower&blue&bees

I wish I could share with you the cover of Shaping Up Summer to go along with this post, but I must first wait until the book has been fully released, come spring 2014.

So instead, I’ll hint at it in pieces, starting with the photos of the Purple Coneflowers and Blue Globe Thistles pictured above (including the bees), and this process shot of a Swallowtail butterfly coming together below.

swallowtail butterfly paper collage shaping up summer


Hello

My name is Ashley Barron and I'm a Toronto based illustrator. This is my online show & tell of new artwork and anything else I find inspiring. Thanks for taking a look :)

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