I have a long history with insects in my art. It was many years ago in South Africa when I was doing a three year college art program that I first became fascinated with insects. Just across from the art school was the local museum. Many times when I became frustrated with whatever I was working on in the art studio, I would walk across the street and spend time alone in the quiet halls of the museum. I could be found making drawings or just contemplating in one of two places: the beehive with it’s busy little bees buzzing and working in their hive, or the dragonfly display cases. I loved to sketch the dragonflies even though many of them looked like they had crash landed and were rather mangled. I made a whole series of dragonfly etchings (intaglio and drypoint), whimsical drawings of dragonflies with helicopter wings. Some of these in fact became my first designs on textiles when I started with block prints years ago. I have since then created many textile screenprinting designs of butterflies, bees, dragonflies, beetles, moths and grasshoppers.
This newest design of a bee in a tulip is inspired by the bees in our garden. We keep our own beehives for honey and pollination of our large flower, fruit and vegetable garden. These sweet natured and hard working little creatures are my constant companions in the summer garden. I am fascinated by their strong curiosity – they love to investigate every nook and cranny they encounter. They play ‘hide and seek’ with me in the flowers, rocks and straw in my garden.
This organic cotton fluted skirt has been dyed and screenprinted by hand. The “Bee in Tulip” design has been printed in light blue round shapes created by using a shibori technique called itajime. Itajime uses clamped blocks to resist the dye leaving a pattern when the clamps are released.
This dusty pink and light ochre hand dyed linen cuff has a screenprinted design of sweet little bees on a cosmos flower in silver textile paint. There is a pretty shibori trim running down each side. The pink I have used here is almost identical to the actual colour of the cosmos flower.