DESIGN BY REBECCA JOHNSON

DESIGN BY REBECCA JOHNSON


  The Beatles song, “Here Comes The Sun,” serenades with a soothing, harmonizing hum and the mantra, “it’s alright.”  As the sun comes in hot and heavy this summer we cool ourselves and bolster our immune systems with bee-pollinated foods. Nature’s generous bumblers give us a bit of a buzz- and a general feeling of being alright.
 
Bees sustain human life- producing nutrient rich foods by pollinating almost a quarter of the world’s harvest. Watermelons to wine and cheese soirees - cheese is made of milk from animals that eat alfalfa, a plant pollinated by bees - come courtesy of bees. Honey is nature’s super food. The only social insect whose colony can survive for years, bees stick together –literally- eating honey for sustenance during winter months. The human body can survive on water and bee pollen- the only food that contains in exact balance the 22 known essential nutrients, which maintain health and vitality. Added to yogurt, a smoothie, a piece of toast, or kept in one’s satchel, honey provides a quick energy shot. Honey, an antibacterial agent, applied to a skin scrape will accelerate healing. Madhu, as honey is called in ayurvedic scriptures, is used to treat asthma and diabetes, and balances one’s dosha (body type).
 
Bee derived ingredients in contemporary beauty products. Guerlain, Burt's Bees, The Naked Bee and Heaven Skincare use wax, pollen, and Royal Jelly in lip balms and lotions. Nature's Beauty Bee Venom Face Mask lifts tissue by mirroring the effects of a sting. The blood rush causes an increase in the production of wrinkle-smoothing collagen.
 
Alexander McQueen's summer 2013 collection “is about nature and femininity. There's always a sense of nature in what we do like referencing pollination in bees. It was meant to be quite celebratory.”  Sarah Burton makes a poetic connection between worker bees (female bees) and femininity. Celebrating the female queen bees of this world by creating a divine beehive- signature hip-accentuating jackets embellished with golden hexagons, accessories swarming with full-bodied bee details, sleek, black beekeeper-inspired hats, and organza gowns adorned with flowers, waiting to be pollinated.  Celine followed suit, with hive shaped cutouts on otherwise minimalistic silhouettes. Gucci mirrored the texture of the beehive on sky-high pumps. Delfina Delletrez’s little bee ornaments adorn the most surreal socialites. Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang models elegantly bumbled down the runway, hair swept into tight beehives.
 
From Kiki Smith’s flora honey to Wolfgang Tillmans Bio Bees, the art world is also stung. Ross Bleckner’s blurred images of flowers invite pollination. Tracy Emin’s neon pieces resemble bees caught in hypersexual linguistic fury. Pascale Marthine Tayou’s recent installation at MACRO was a 30 foot beehive made out of recycled plastic bags.  Aganetha Dyck honeycomb sculptures use flat metal pieces placed inside a beehive. Dyck’s studio is the apiary, and she dresses in beekeeping attire- all openings sealed, as she has been diagnosed with a bee allergy.
 
Pop’s Queen Bee, Beyonce’s, new single “Standing on the Sun” ties the bees flight and sting to a an image of rebirth and desire. Not a poor ode to a being that provides us with quite a bit, and may need a little help to keeping things, well, alright.
 
 
(Thirty-five of 100 species of bees are endangered, largely due to three pesticides that will soon be banned in Europe).
 


~Susan Brickell
 
July 2013