The Shaggy Furrow Bee – The Fifty Bees Project

As you probably realise by now one of the things I am really interested in is pollinators – especially bees- so I was delighted to be selected to make a piece of work about a British bee.

The Fifty Bees Project is initiated and organised by artist and curator, Lydia Needle. This is the fifth Fifty Bees exhibition (I participated in the 4th one too) which aims to show how diverse our British bee population is and how endangered and pivotal they are to our ecosystem. Lydia creates fifty bees for each exhibition from wool and stitch and asks 50 collaborators (visual artists, makers, writers and musicians to join her in the project. To each one she allocates a specific bee and asks for a companion piece of work that relates to, but is not of, that bee.

I have been allocated Lasioglossum villosulum also known as the Shaggy Furrow bee.  The exhibition isn’t until 2022 so I have plenty of time to do my research and create a piece of work.

The best starting point for any bee related research is a wild life guide called Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland by Steven Falk. I have listened to him give a talk on bees and he is very knowledgeable and entertaining. You can follow him on twitter and see his fantastic photographs on flickr.

book cover field guide to bees

I have been looking for the Shaggy Furrow on my daily walks as it is fairly common and visits flowers that are in bloom at the moment such as cat’s ear, hawk’s-beards and buttercups and umbellifers – and there is so much cow parsley out at the moment. Anyway, I haven’t spotted one yet but I am collecting and pressing these flowers.

You can find out more about the Fifty Bees project on Facebook and Instagram