The Hive at Kew

The Hive installation and experience at Kew Gardens, London.

“The Hive is a unique world class installation and experience created by artist Wolfgang Buttress, Simmonds Studio, Stage One and BDP. Pollination is important for our food security – one third of global crop yield is dependent, to some extent, on bees and other pollinators. In highlighting the importance of pollination in our food chain, The Hive poses one of the most pressing questions of our time – how can we protect our pollinators in order to feed our growing population? Illuminated by almost 1,000 LED lights, The Hive represents a vast honey bee hive. It’s linked to one of Kew’s hives and the lights flicker in time to vibrations caused when the bees communicate with one another. Wolfgang was inspired by work of Dr. Martin Benscik at Nottingham Trent University, who has developed technology to monitor the health of bee hives. His research is a prime example of how British science and creativity is helping solve global challenges.”

“What’s the buzz?

Experience four types of vibration caused by honey bees as they communicate inside a hive. Hear these bee “messages” through bone conduction where vibrations pass through bones in your head, instead of through your eardrums. The vibrations have been recorded using accelerometers by Dr. Martin Benscik, reader in physics in Nottingham Trent University.”

Accompanying the 17 metre high structure is a beautiful symphony of orchestral sounds performed in the key of C – the same key that bees buzz in. Together, the sound and light swell and diminish as the energy levels in Kew’s beehive surge.”

Quotes from on-site information noticeboards at The Hive in Kew Gardens

Stillness Born of History II at Neo Bankside

Carved stone head by Emily Young displayed at Neo Bankside in LondonBeautifully textured and patterned onyx with volcanic pyroclastic breccia has been used by the famous sculptor Emily Young to create this fabulous head called Stillness Born of History II displayed (courtesy of Bowman Sculpture) at Neo Bankside in London, England, just south of the Tate Modern Gallery. Pyroclastic breccia is composed of fine-grained volcanic ash, pumice, and rock fragments larger than 2.5 inches (63.5 mm). When the fragments are smaller than this, the rock is called tuff.

Clastic Igneous Rock – Tempesta at Neo Bankside

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

This wonderful sculpture, Tempesta, is one of a group carved with consummate skill by Emily Young from multi-patterned and textured clastic igneous rock. I am unable to find the source of the stone.  It is displayed, courtesy of Bowman Sculpture, at Neo Bankside behind the Tate Modern Gallery in London, England. The rock is amazing in its complexity and the work has taken advantage of the challenging medium by exploiting both its natural beauty and its flaws.

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Carved head called Tempesta made from clastic igneous rock by Emily Young

Ai Weiwei’s River Crabs

Ai Weiwei porcelain river crab installation He Xie at the Royal Academy of Arts in London

Three thousand porcelain river crabs make up an installation by Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The exhibit is called “He Xie” which means river crabs but the word has the same Chinese pronunciation and spelling as the word for harmonious. Harmonious is internet slang in China for censorship.

Mosaiculture – The man who planted trees

Shepherd and dog - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

People can make a positive impact on the environment by their individual actions. This is the theme of the fable “The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jean Giona, and later turned into an animated film by Frédéric Back. The story is about a shepherd called Elzéard Bouffier who by his tireless and patient efforts, planted tree after tree after tree, and converted the barren terrain where he grazed his flock into a fertile green landscape of field and forest.

At the Jardins Botanique de Montreal, this tale is represented by an award winning tableau in the Mosaicultures Internationales de Montreal 2013. The figures are constructed in a larger than life format using living plants. The shepherd is shown planting a young oak tree in the desolate and arid area (the stones) where his flock of sheep are grazing. His dog looks with curiousity at the passers-by. The positive impact of the actions of this one man are represented by his cape that spreads across the site. The results of his patient activities are shown by the horses galloping through the prairies to one side and a goat drinking at a well to the rear of the scene. Truly spectacular.

Shepherd planting young oak - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

A mosaiculture sheep sculpture - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

Mosaiculture shepherd - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

Mosaiculture sheep and goat - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

Horses - part of a mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

A mosaiculture tableau depicting the shepherd who changed a desolate and arid land into fertile fields and forest by planting trees.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All rights reserved

Facts about Trees

Bronze tree sculpture at Kew Gardens.

This novel bronze sculpture is designed to get across the important message that trees are vital to the world we live in. It is an artwork feature by the Rhizotron and Xtrata Walkway at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, London. The photographs show the overall appearance of it with a selection of the individual leaf plaques that give information relating to trees and the environment.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2013

All Rights Reserved

Art and Nature – David Nash at Kew

Two Falling Spoons – bronze sculpture by David Nash (2006) in the Temperate House at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

One of the great delights of this year has been my discovery of the exhibition of sculptures by David Nash at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. I have visited three times in the last couple of months. David Nash has carved the works with chain-saw and axe from dead trees in the gardens. The sculptures frequently bear the marks of their making as well as of their intrinsic natural structure. Many pieces are deliberately and spectacularly charred black. Whilst all the works are hewn from wood initially, some pieces have subsequently been cast in bronze or steel – and it is often difficult to tell of which material a sculpture is comprised just by looking.

The works invite the viewers to think about their own and the sculpture’s relationship with nature. The sculptures are enhanced by their setting, whether indoors as in the Temperate House among the palms and ferns, or outside amongst the majestic mature trees. The sculptures distill the essence of their verdant surroundings – almost requesting that we compare and contrast the shapes, textures, patterns of the natural with the man-made structures as well as examine the thoughts and emotions that both invoke in us.

To find out more about the work of David Nash, and the exhibition at Kew Gardens, click on the following links:

Details of David Nash at Kew – A Natural Gallery

Keep up to date with the exhibition

Nash-inspired art courses & talks by the artist

Sign for the David Nash, A Natural Gallery, exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Red and Black Dome by David Nash (2006) in the Temperate House at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Pyramid and Sphere – bronze sculptures by David Nash in the Temperate House at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Red Throne – a bronze sculpture by David Nash (2012) in the Temperate House at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Plateau – bronze sculpture by David Nash (2011) in the Temperate House of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Red Frame – redwood sculpture by David Nash (2008) in the Temperate House at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Signs to the David Nash ‘A Natural Gallery’ exhibition at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens