We promised to be in touch a little more frequently. Here we are: to share with you some moments of our wonderful and exhausting days at “Art in Action”, the superb Arts & Crafts spectacular taking place every year on the grounds around Waterperry Gardens near Oxford. From the moment we entered the site, we were touched by the magic of an event of great richness, creativity galore, multi-faceted art exhibits and beautiful crafts wherever one looked, workshops, painting classes, instruction in all things beautiful and sublime, and ….. the whole show entirely run by volunteers, several hundreds of people selflessly dedicated to making each and every exhibitor’s and visitor’s experience a pleasure. An event designed to lift our spirits, giving much food for thought! What a treat to be invited to take part.
And here’s what Rachel Hanney, sunhive maker extraordinaire, supported by Peter Brown and the rest of our team rachel and peterarranged as the the Natural Beekeeping Trust’s exhibit, evoking a clear message: This is beekeeping with a difference.
Judging by the responses received so far, infour days of four (sic) talks a day, delivered by Gareth John and Heidi Herrmann, and hundreds of impromptu conversations around the sunhives as well as Gareth’s ingeniously constructed “giraffe hive”, what came across is the uncompromising bee-centricity of the NBKT’s approach to beekeeping.
Call it natural beekeeping, bee-centred beekeeping or bee guardianship, the approach is far away from the grim reality of much of modern beekeeping and honey production. We’re open about it, and many others all over the country are too, because we all know that beekeeping must change, or there won’t be bees in all of our futures. As one visitor put it, we have to learn to ‘enable’ bees for all of nature rather than ‘keep’ bees just for ourselves.
It was a delight to experience how strong is the desire in the non-beekeeping public, and of course among existing beekeepers, too, to find out how best to help the bees – be it through growing flowers for bees, campaigning for sounder ways of growing food without pesticides, adopting more conscious consumer habits, buying less supermarket honey, or simply opening one’s heart to the bees and connecting to a higher reality, the exemplary world of the Bee. What we all share is a sense that we, the whole of humanity, need to grow for the bees, in more ways than one, to assure our future.
Art in Action gave us an unequalled opportunity to let the bees speak for themselves. Every tiny aspect of bee life manifests the beauty and wisdom of interdependence, and all there was for us to do was to try and convey the message of the value and wonder of a truly bee-centred approach to a very wide public.
For this great opportunity we are deeply indebted to the organisers of this unique event, which attracts around 20 000 visitors every year. We thank them for inviting us to “showcase” the Bee, perhaps Nature’s most accomplished artist.