Tag Archives: beekeeping

Why Beeswax?

(BSH11) Sacred Heart Candle $20

(BSH11) 11" h x 3.5" w x 3" d

$20  Sacred Heart Candle.  Click HERE to purchase.

1.  I love the smell of beeswax!  I keep some close to my bedside because the fragrance is so relaxing.

2.  Beeswax candles burn without smoking, as paraffin candles do. Who wants to breathe in a petroleum based product like paraffin, anyways?

3. Beeswax candles burn longer than paraffin candles.

4.  Certain religious traditions favor the use of devotional candles cast in beeswax because the rich substance typifies well,  the blessed body of Christ,  born of the Virgin Mary.

5.  It takes a lot of bee work to create beeswax so it is a costly material.  I have blended a mixture of 1/2 beeswax & 1/2 soy wax (an all plant product) to cast my candles, allowing me to keep the prices reasonable.  You can request your candle to be cast in PURE  beeswax if you would prefer, for an extra $8.

Side view, Sacred Heart Candleback view, Sacred Heart

The Sacred Heart

sacred-heart-tinI was born and raised a Protestant girl, but I have been drawn for many years now to the touching symbolism of the Sacred Heart.  According to Wikipedia:  “The Sacred Heart is a religious devotion to Jesus‘s physical heart as the representation of divine love for humanity.”

As a novice beekeeper I have been intrigued with the shape of the natural honeycomb that bees build.  It reminds me of the Sacred Heart!  comb from the Barefoot Beekeeper

Soon I will make available candles cast in a natural mixture  of beeswax and soy.  The first candle beeing offered is the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It only seems fitting to me.   Here is a glimpse of the clay prototype, nearly completed. Please check back  for the finished product!  It will be available in both Natural and Detailed Colors.

sacred-heart-prototype1

Country Quips for City Chicks

All I ever really wanted was to be a cowgirl; no  mind that I grew up in a concrete block apartment in the city. The longer I live, and the more experience I have in the  rural community where I have settled, country “sayings” are starting to make more sense.

Tim-catching-beesYesterday I was so excited when Tim Lindley, a Bond County Illinois bee keeper knowing of my interest in keeping bees,  called  to tell me he had a swarm.  Was I interested? Absolutely! Tim had been contacted to remove a swarm of  feral bees clustered  in a local dairy farmer’s tree and they could be mine if  I wanted!  Here’s Tim up on the tractor lift gently coaxing them into a nuc box.

Before you know it, with Tim’s expertise they were safely ensconced  in my top bar hive back at  home. All afternoon I would go out and watch them, in awe of   the noisy,  rich and vibrant HUMMMM of hundreds of bees. I could hardly believe I had them!!! BUSY AS A BEE HIVE, was my new bee hive.bees inside hive

This misty Sunday morning, first thing I did was pop out of bed and mix more sugar/water to feed the bees and headed outdoors.  Where yesterday  was a hive raucous with new bees, I saw just a few lone stragglers and the hive was eerily quiet.  I lifted the lid where I could see the outer chamber I was keeping the sugar water in.  There was only a bee or two feeding. I’ve read that you can’t predict if bees will stay at your place, but I still felt  a HUGE sense of disappointment.  Don’t count your eggs before they hatch, my little mind said to me.  I really get that saying now.

I went back inside and left Tim a phone message, feeling very apologetic since gathering up a swarm is no small task: ” The bees are gone,” I told him.  “I had the entrance facing west. Should I have turned the hive in another direction?”

I called him back and left a second message:  “No, I Did have the entrance holes facing East, so they would have gotten morning sun.  That’s the right way to do it right?”

An hour or two later  I called him back a third time and this time Tim answered.    “GUESS WHAT?!” I said.  “I DO still  have the bees!” They were  there now buzzing and floating everywhere.  Tim explained that if it’s overcast in the morning, bees  just might not move around much.

sleeping-bee3I am so amused to learn that  even bees prefer to sleep in on rainy Sunday mornings!

The Beam in my Eye

Ok, so it wasn’t a beam.  But it was a big splinter that shot into  my eye, and I had to remove it with  tweezers. Ouch!  That will teach me   to never again make just one more cut without the safety glasses!!

Top Bar BeehiveThe top bar beehive I am building is almost finished, and except for the splinter in the eye,  has come together without a hitch.  Download this wonderful design for free at www.biobees.com.  I have ordered bees, which are slotted to come on May 2nd, and I just can’t wait.  Hope they stay with me for at least one season!

As a portrait sculptor, who really must pay attention to the shapes of peoples faces, I have found that eyes blank-eyeare truly the hardest feature to capture well.  It is interesting to note the many different ways that eyes have been sculpted through the centuries.  There is that strange blank stare of many Greek works, and a variety of ways to suggest both corneas and pupils. eye with cornea eye-with-pupilThese three eyes are by Richard W. Bock, sculptor for Frank Lloyd Wright.

Houdon,  the renowned 18th c. portrait artist who sculpted the faces of numerous American forefathers developed a style in which he captured a gleam in the eye. I think that is an important quality, and one I strive for in my own work.  These two eyes below are mine, the second one replicated directly from Houdon.

A  lively feel is achieved through various texturizing affects around the eye & in the cornea, textured-eyeor the addition of a spot of clay before the pupil which is perceived as a glimmer of light.Eye after Houdon

In with the gleam, out with the beam. 😀

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(Sculptor:  Lydia Shalanko, last two photos courtesy of Statue.com)

Diary of a Would-be Bee Keeper

DaffodilFor years now I have been finding small ways to combine my two biggest passions: making things, and the garden.  I have  grown living wreaths, crafted baskets out of vines from my local woods, sculpted topiaries out of herbs, day-dreamed of weaving trailing plants into fine “earthen rugs”, obsessively photographed field upon field of corn, soy and wheat, and lately I’ve been thinking of taking up bee-keeping.

It didn’t help that I saw and loved the movie The Secret Life of Bees, but in the end I rented the movie because I’ve been interested in bees for a long time now.   When my good friend Lena from Ireland was telling me about her childhood experiences casting candles at  catholic school in Belfast,  it dawned on me, that this is a way I could beautifully meld my interest in bee-keeping with my sculptural talents.

During this upcoming season of Easter, I have been inspired to sculpt small  devotional figures that I sculpting candle prototypesplan to mold and cast into fine beeswax candles.  Of course my own beeswax wouldn’t be ready yet, because I don’t have bees yet!  But I do have a bee box plan in hand, and I’m  off to purchase the lumber today.  Check out this interesting Top Bar beehive box at www.biobees.com. I’m so excited to learn about bees!

And together, with their help and the fragrance of my expanding garden, I want to offer the most beautiful, pure, artisinal candles cast with a lot of heart.  I have a million design ideas!  Please check back soon!