Honeybees and Honeycomb

The arrival of springtime usually makes me a little bit nostalgic, as this is the season when I start seeing honeybees buzzing about, pollinating those pretty spring flowers and tending to the fields. You see, for many years of my childhood, my dad was a beekeeper and my mom ran a little shop in the town we lived in, selling honey and beeswax candles, among other beehive related items. I can still remember the sweet smell of fresh honey overwhelming our home whenever dad was processing a new batch of honeycomb, and watching in awe as he tended to his bees in the fields.

Even after all those years with hives right in our back yard, I’ve never been stung by a bee a single time in my life. Honeybees don’t actually want to sting you, because unlike wasps, hornets and other stinging insects, they need to be provoked (frightened or angered) before they sting – and they typically die after they’ve stung you. Honeybees almost always lose their stinger in the body of the recipient, and when that happens, it kills them. Those other stinging bugs do not (and can keep stinging you repeatedly if they want to!) Thus, the honey bee just wants to go about its business without any trouble. I see them as friendly little workers who make our lives better in so many ways.

I suppose it’s true when they say that your upbringing and life experiences help shape what you create, as I’ve had a slight bee and honeycomb obsession this spring. I’ve been making honeycomb shapes out of polymer clay, and fine silver metal clay – sometimes adorned by tiny little bees.

Here’s a few of my favorites (click on the images for more information)..

Fine Silver Honeycomb Necklace with Tiny Sterling Silver Bee

Tiny Gold Bee and Clay Honeycomb Brooch

Honeycomb Earrings on Sterling Silver Hooks

All of the honeycomb patterns were done individually by hand, one hexagon at a time. I made a tiny hexagon stamp, and pressed it into the clay repeatedly (both the metal clay and the polymer clay) to create the honeycomb pattern. As usual, I did not use any pre-designed molds or patterns! This leaves a slightly imperfect pattern. I think I prefer it this way, as it adds to the special handmade aspect of each piece, rather than a mass-produced item.

Happy Spring! Be kind to those honeybees who cross your path. :)