Beyond Violet’s home, counting on color and for the love of a good repurpose…

I started taking apart the sculpture today… which means the home stretch is here! Before I did that, I made a handy little installation map.  Triangulation is the key to a good installation with multiple parts.  Here is the layout (imperfect but just what we will need):
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You might be wondering where this Bee Sculpture is headed.  Oh man!! It is going to a fantastic place.  Here is a link to the drawing of the site plan for our sculpture’s final resting place… .check out the hexagon plant sites!! : HR Pollinator Project Site Map

Bridget Mendel (another Bridget!!) from the bee laboratory sent us some info on the HR Pollinator Project site in Osceola, WI ( https://www.beelab.umn.edu/bee-squad/bee-squad-programs/hmr) which is where Beyond Violet will live out its days.

“A new venture has begun on the expansive farm of the late Horst Rechelbacher, in Osceola, WI. Flanked by forests that extend down to the banks of the Saint Croix River is a section of fields planted with bee forage. Each plot is an interlinking acre-large hexagon, hand-measured by Bee Squad to mimic the beautiful and efficient pattern of honeycomb. 

In June, acres of clover and expanses of thyme provide food for the 16 bee colonies and many native bees that call the HMR Farm home. In July, rows of Pollinator Tea–Menarda and Anise hyssop and rose–bloom and buzz with honey and bumble bees. The Bee Squad harvests some leaves and blooms for tea, and leaves lots for the bees. 

All summer long, swaths native prairie seed mixes from the Bees Kneez and Prairie Restoration pop with bachelor buttons, sunflowers, and milkweed. Throughout the summer, the U of M Bee Squad surveys the bumble bee populations, looking for increased numbers as the farm is planted intensively with forage. 

Beyond the landscape itself, the HR Pollinator project is a bringing together of diverse groups from the University of Minnesota and beyond, including plant and bee scientists, landscape architects and artists. These groups are using the space for research projects, demonstrations, creative expression and education. Whether a small, hands-on beekeeping clinic held in the apiary or a large talk, the space can support diverse learning opportunities around bees and environment. 

Now that the summer bends towards fall, the Bee Squad begins their annual honey harvest. This year, the bee colonies at the farm have an abundance of honey. The HR farm has a room (nostalgically called “The Distillery” because of its past as a place for making essential oils) with both an electric and a bicycle-powered honey extractor, so that visitors can enjoy learning about the process of making honey, while getting their hands sticky extracting it from the combs.” 

Joy and I made the final decisions on the color of each of the parts of the sculpture.  And I spent the day grinding metal and priming the first round of pieces. Grinding is my least favorite part of being a sculptor… but it has to be done… and when its done its over.  One more day of grinding tomorrow and then I can wear regular shoes and painting clothes.
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Here is a look at some other things that are coming together.  We are repurposing old industrial glass lights and combining them with a fabricated aluminum structure, colored acrylic and a cast concrete compound bee eye.  Here is the inside of the light before we sandblasted it:

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Both Joy and I love to repurpose materials in our work.  I love riffing off of old ideas and transforming them into new sculptural parts.

~Bridget

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