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Artist creates embroidery art with the help of bees in this golden inter-species collaboration

The partnership between thousands of bees and this Toronto based artist is symbolic of a pure human - nature relationship.

Artist creates embroidery art with the help of bees in this golden inter-species collaboration
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @avarothart

Although humans are a part of Earth's nature, in the age-old nature v/s man-made debate, nature always wins. However, when it comes to making the most graceful art, we don't have to pick a side anymore. This interspecies collaboration between a Toronto-based artist and the bees has birthed an unconventional yet golden partnership. The process involves creating graceful art by adorning wooden frames with collages and embroidery with an abundance of golden honeycomb. Ava Roth, an encaustic painter, embroiderer, and mixed-media artist, has spent the last decade almost exclusively working with beeswax. Roth uses foraged wood, birch bark, foliage, and horsehair to create these one-of-a-kind pieces in collaboration with the local bees.

Image Source: Instagram : @avarothart
Image Source: Instagram: @avarothart


When asked about her initial collaboration with the bees, she tells Upworthy, "The bee collaboration started very organically, growing out of my work as an encaustic artist. It took several years to be able to make something together that looked intentional and coordinated. The early pieces were experiments, and although they were fascinating and informative, they were not necessarily beautiful to look at." The process begins in her studio, creating encaustic collages suspended in embroidery hoops. After that, the hoops are attached to custom-made Langstroth hive frames and placed inside honeybee hives, where thousands of bees embed the work in the comb.

Image Source: Instagram: @avarothart
Image Source: Instagram: @avarothart/ Mylee Nordin


Addressing how the bees find their way to her work, Roth explains, "The bees don't find my work, but rather my work finds the bees. The pieces are designed to fit into one of the standard beehives which beekeepers use for harvesting honey. These are called Langstroth hives and are common throughout the world. After a piece is finished in my studio, I put it into a Langstroth bee hive, where the bees then take over the project and embed the work in their honeycomb." 

Roth is represented by Wallspace Gallery in Ottawa and is currently working on a body of work, which includes Encaustic Sewn Paintings, Encaustic Embroideries, and Encaustic Works on Paper. Her works have sold internationally as well. These collections, which combine techniques from fine art and crafts, also use natural materials and processes to investigate the relationship between humans and the natural world. 

Image Source: Instagram: @avarothart
Image Source: Instagram: @avarothart / @mnordin13


The designs of these unique frames have become more intricate and detailed as her project has progressed over the years. Sometimes the bees are offered circular spaces in the wood, or sometimes given rectangles and even more abstract shapes. The natural look of the honeycomb, which occasionally spills over into Roth's work or escapes the frame, gives life and soul to these works and makes them more in tune with nature.

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A post shared by Ava Roth (@avarothart)



While talking about her favorite part of the process, she shares with Upworthy, "Sometimes the bees build comb solely in the designated areas I've allocated for them, but my favorite pieces are the ones where the bees build outside the boundaries I've left for them. I love when they do something unexpected with their comb, and finding this adds an element of wildness to a piece that I could not have imagined." "This project, like all my work, explores the boundaries of where humans collide with the natural environment and imagine a more beautiful outcome of our encounter," she adds.

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A post shared by Ava Roth (@avarothart)



Roth's mixed media art is available for purchase on her website. You can also follow her work on Instagram.

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