Late 2016 Amanda Collins from Backyard Ballarat Beekeepers asked me if I could make her a bee skep. I had to ask her what a bee skep was as the starting point! It was very interesting to meet her and talk about the tradition and purpose of bee skeps in beekeeping over time.The whole process was very professionally and creatively satisfying. Another beekeeper who wanted to learn the art of making a bee skep came to my studio to learn so that I had company and a wealth of knowledge to draw when creating the skep.
Setting up my materials in the morning.
Straw collected from fields in the community where I live. Collected in mid to late summer when the straw was still a little bit green and dried in the studio for the best results. Hand cut so that long undamaged lengths could be used rather than machine cut. Hand trimmed so that all the leaves and seed heads were removed before weaving.
The start of the bee skep.
Andrew made a flat topped bee skep and I made a curved one.
The half finished bee skep at the end of Day 1.
The final bee skep on its base and notice the small bee entrance.
The internal structure of the bee skep complete with ‘spleets’ which are made of small apple branches. The purpose of the ‘spleets’ are to hold the hive in place.