Brigit’s Bee Talk, Meet the Bees and Me!

I am delighted to say that Brigit Strawbridge of “The Big Green Idea”will be giving a talk at my “Buzz” exhibition on the 9th of June at at the Gallery.








Bees of all species are in serious decline – and we need to take action URGENTLY to help them!
In this inspiring, informative and passionate talk, Brigit Strawbridge explains the importance of (and the difference between) Honeybees, Bumblebees and Solitary Bees, addresses the myriad problems they face – and offers you loads of tips so you can go home and help them. “

You may recognise Brigit from BBC’s “Its Not Easy Being Green” but I somehow doubt she has much time to relax these days as “The Big Green Idea” is a very busy charity “dedicated to showing people how sustainable living can be easy, healthy, inexpensive and fun.”  They have a fantastic “Big Green Bus” which can be booked for events,







The entire bus is a showcase for sustainable living. We have carefully chosen the flooring, paints, textiles and lighting, all from recycled or sustainable sources, to demonstrate the choices you can make in your own home. The bus is packed with energy-saving devices, water-saving gadgets, natural products for skincare and cleaning, examples of eco-friendly insulation, eco-paints and clothing made from sustainable crops, wormeries, composting systems and recycled garden containers, and much more besides. Outside, we have more interactive displays and a ‘pedal powered smoothie maker’! “

Do go and watch the nice little animation a with cute bee and worm here. I also know that Brigit will be bringing a solitary bee home too. I will be at the gallery off and on for the first two weeks but definitely on that evening and will be happy to chat to people about the bees and the paintings. I will post some more definite times on the blog soon.

WHY BEES MATTER …. If my exhibition and Brigit’s talk go just the tiniest way to making people more “Bee Aware”, it can’t come too soon. I am not a prophet of doom particularly but if you do need convincing that things are not good in the bee world you only have to read this weekends reports abut the terrible USA decline in the bee population.
This is from the Guardian here, read more of this sobering article and do something!

“Fears for crops as shock figures from America show scale of bee catastrophe
Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

Flowering plants require insects for pollination. The most effective is the honeybee, which pollinates 90 commercial crops worldwide. As well as most fruits and vegetables – including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots – they pollinate nuts, sunflowers and oil-seed rape. Coffee, soya beans, clovers – like alfafa, which is used for cattle feed – and even cotton are all dependent on honeybee pollination to increase yields. In the UK alone, honeybee pollination is valued at £200m. Mankind has been managing and transporting bees for centuries to pollinate food and produce honey, nature’s natural sweetener and antiseptic. Their extinction would mean not only a colourless, meatless diet of cereals and rice, and cottonless clothes, but a landscape without orchards, allotments and meadows of wildflowers – and the collapse of the food chain that sustains wild birds and animals.”

I know my blog readers are already bee aware.. (or maybe a bit bee bored ?) but you need to get out there and tell everyone else! Plant some bee flowers, get a hive, make a solitary bee nest, stop using pesticides! Lobby your local  politician etc etc ..  and do come along to the talk if you can!

But to end on a more optimistic note, here is one happy honey bee foraging on the Blue Pickerel Weed which grows on the lake shores here.  I took this photo yesterday on a very hot afternoon.

There were also carpenter bees and mining bees busy around these beautiful flowers.

sm cp

Buzz.. The Bee Exhibition is all set for June, Lumen Centre, London

An Little Oasis of Bee Tranquility.. right in the middle of London!

There are lots of wonderful “Bee” events going on in London this year and of course mine will be one of them ( shameless trumpet blowing and self promotion!)
I am proud to announce “BUZZ …. a Celebration of British Bees and their Flowers” will be held in June from the 1st to the 26th at LUMEN.

bee banner 3

And the venue is just BEAUTIFUL! .. I really couldn’t be more delighted. It‘s the about-to-be-opened gallery of LUMEN the newly opened multi-faith centre in Bloomsbury.

It’s a tucked away, very beautiful space, in my very favourite part of London not far from the British Museum. Leafy squares, book shops, hospitals, Universities, the British Library. Home once to Dickens, Darwin, Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolfe, and Yeats.  Memories of the old publishing houses, Faber and Faber, and of course Beatrix Potter’s publisher,  Frederick Warne.
I remember seeing their office by chance, years ago. Bloomsbury is wonderful, such history, such learning, such literature. LUMEN CENTRE from an article in e.architect:

..An exquisitely designed new multi-faith centre for worship and contemplation by Theis and Khan Architects
Lumen Centre Lumen Centre London Lumen Centre multi-faith centre
Lumen URC and Community Centre Photos : Nick Kane

Created within the shell of an existing 1960s United Reformed church, lumen will be used regularly for Christian services as well as offering an open invitation to people of all faiths to use the spaces. The site has a rich history. The 1960s church replaced an older church, which was bombed during the Second World War, and backs on to an ancient burial ground for the people of Bloomsbury, now called St. George’s Gardens.
The new sacred space, known as the Shaft of Light is central to the design. A large-scale intervention, rendered in white, is a spectacular conical, shell-like space, which reaches through the full 11-metre height of the building to a single roof-light. The Shaft of Light offers people from any faith or belief a secluded area for worship or for private gatherings. The quality of the light inside the space subtly changes, depending on the weather and time of year, adding to the sense of peace and separation from the bustle of the outside world.
In addition, a tranquil garden at the rear of the building  offers a contemporary interpretation of a cloister, with slender brushed stainless steel columns supporting an arcade around a central courtyard planted with herbs and silver birch trees. The cloister will be open for people to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection or simply stop for a lunchtime sandwich.

Commissioned by the United Reformed Church, lumen has continued the ancient tradition of commissioning artists and craftspeople. Working with Modus Operandi art consultants, the church has commissioned two artists to create new three dimensional art works, which are carefully integrated within the building.
Internationally acclaimed artist Alison Wilding has created a trio of artworks: a new font, a drinking fountain and a garden fountain,a shallow bronze dish with the inscription “A spring of water, welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). The strong architectural form of the Shaft of Light, designed by Theis and Khan Architects is the key point of reference for both the drinking fountain and font.
Lumen Centre London multi-faith centre London multi-faith centre Lumen Centre interior
Lumen URC and Community Centre Photos : Nick Kane

The north window on the street front, features a spiralling, geometric sculptural screen, entitled North Elevation, by rising artist Rona Smith. Made of bronze, the sculpture is suspended within the alcove of the window, and arcs gently
into the main space. The design evokes the traditional imagery of many religions, including Christian, Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist. The artwork explores how geometry unites diverse systems of symbolism and representation and reflects lumen’s ethos of inclusive worship for people of all faiths.
The art works which have been commissioned aim to signify universal values, yet each are open to the interpretation of the individual viewer. We hope that they will encourage a sense of contemplation, and a further means of engagement with the centre, bringing together people of diverse beliefs and backgrounds.
Maggie Hindley, (former) minister Minister, lumen comments: “What impressed me about our architects and artists was that they listened, and asked questions, and brainstormed with us and really got to understand our vision before coming up with any proposals; and then they listened some more as the plans evolved. So we got a physical expression of our own goals, but more beautifully and imaginatively than we could have dreamed of.”

Read the whole article here.. although I have not left much out! Also read all about LUMEN, their history and wonderful facilities on their website here. I will be telling you more as the weeks go by.

Browse, Read and Relax The gallery will be sharing a space in part with the newly opened cafe, which we are hoping will be serving honey cake to have with a cup of tea… and maybe other honey themed foods! ..more on that to come…


part of lumen cafe and gallery. And while you are having a refreshing snack you can do some reading as well!

I am delighted to say we are getting support so far from: “the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates,  …passionately committed to saving Britain’s rarest little animals”.  

The Herb Society who are having a “BEE AWARE” year and whose conference this year is all about bees.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust two of whose bees, the Shrill Carder and the Great Yellow I will be painting  for the exhibition.
They will all  be providing  literature on bees, herbs, flowers and gardening  for bees….

And  Brigit from the wonderful “The Big Green Idea” the charity dedicated to showing people how sustainable living can be easy, healthy, inexpensive and fun, will hopefully be having an input too. ….all this and I have only just started asking, so lots more info to come and it will be on the blog and even, maybe, on Twitter..