The series of artworks I am preparing and making as part of my artists residency at Bergby Konstcenter in Sweden are part of an interest and a need to make art which makes you question our right to be caretakers of our planet.
‘Bee’ mini lino print.
I have been looking at the effects mankind has had on many it’s surroundings and the bee is a prime example of the onslaught it faces from habitat destruction, air pollution, climate change and pesticides.
12 inch square, hand embroidered bee, sewn onto recycled fabric.
The worrying element, besides losing beautiful insects, is that bees are decreasing in numbers rapidly, yet they pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species which feed 90% of the World. If we are talking money, that is 30 billion dollars a year!
The bee’s wings are made using recycled net from one of my daughters dresses, this is then appliqued on with hand embroidery.
We also need to also consider the knock on effect if we began to lose the plants which bees pollinate. The chain reaction will be felt by the animals which eat those plants and onto the animals/people who eat those animals…
Detail of the bee with embroidered poetry and flowers. The background has been painted with inks to create a ‘hive’.
In my work, I use traditional textile crafts, to create beautiful pieces which address issues close to my heart. This piece has been made using recycled/upcycled fabrics from children’s dresses and upholstery fabric, painted with inks and very slowly hand embroidered.
As a parent, I feel very strongly about helping the world to be a better place for my children to grow up in.
Detail of the hand embroidered strawberry fruit and flowers.
My family are coming with me to Sweden and as part of my artists residency, my children and husband are also using it as an opportunity to be creative. They have been testing out their art equipment, planning what size paper to work on and looking forward to just being able to draw. My 8 year old has been researching environmental art and the work of Andy Goldsworthy .
At schools, there is less time factored into the curriculum to allow for artistic creativity, yet it acknowledged that is encourages us to ‘think outside the box’, look for new ways of addressing problems and it is very good for our mental health. Plus, we are not all going to be engineers. I am hoping it will allow us all a freedom to be creative which is rarely given.
Finished ‘Life giving bee’ pennant.
One last fact to give you, which I found on the Greenpeace USA site, is that a single bee colony can pollinate up to 300 million flowers each day – remember, that’s the flowers of vegetables, nuts and fruit besides the flowers in our gardens and hedgerows!
Life giving bee
Pollen detector, avid collector,
Constant in your drive
Frequent flyer, hard wired
To a life giving hive.
Black bold, fierce gold,
From flower to flower descend
Pollen taker, food maker
May this never end.
Louise Underwood July 2016