Monday, October 21, 2013

The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men

Telling the Bees
Terry Jarrard-Dimond
wood, paint 

Last evening I participated in a gathering of a group of artists to discuss our favorite books.  There was no established criteria for choosing your book so we had a nice variety of subjects and types of books represented.

One Stop Bee Shop
Terry Jarrard-Dimond
wood, twine, wire
This work is now in the South Carolina State Art Collection housed at the
South Carolina Art Museum in Columbia, SC.

I choose a book I read some years ago, The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men by William Longgood with illustrations by Pamela Johnson.  Longgood introduces the book with this description: This book is about those marvelous and perverse creatures, the bees.  In a larger sense it is an appreciation of the daily miracles we dismiss as commonplace or over-look altogether, a minute examination of the small better to understand the larger canvas of life.

No Kings
Terry Jarrard-Dimond
wood and paint

I'm not sure why I was so attracted to this book.  I don't keep bees, I'd never read about bees or thought much about them, but I did buy the book and I took it with me on a two week artists retreat at the Hambidge Center in North Georgia.  I went to the retreat with only a vague idea of what I would be working on but I had taken lots of mixed media materials, wood and my bandsaw.  I began reading and the descriptive language of Longgood began to fill my head with ideas for new work.  The writer had managed to fill this small tomb with drama, science, myth, history, all presented in a way that made it impossible for me not to see the stories and revelations in relation to people as well as bees.

Honey In the Hive
Terry Jarrard-Dimond
wood, woven fan, paint

During the retreat I created 13 new sculptures related directly to ideas spawned by reading The Queen Must Die.  This was very unique for me.  While I've always collected titles, phrases, bits and pieces of information which touched me and seemed to point toward new work, I've never been so moved by one book.  I did additional reading about bees and bee keeping and I continued to make work on this theme, however nothing has ever inspired me to make as much work on a single topic as Longgood's book.

Terry Jarrard-Diond
wood, metal slats, wire, aluminum

Most of these works were sold through my gallery at that time, The Signature Shop in Atlanta, Ga.  I don't know where they are, who purchased them, if they are still hanging in some home or office, I don't even recall the names of all the pieces, but I hope they have given the owners as much pleasure as I received when I made them.


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  1. I love how casually you say "brought my band saw.' If it's like the one I was enchanted by in the scene shop at college, it weighs a short ton and is roughly the size of a small refrigerator.

    1. You dream BIG Melanie! My bandsaw is very functional but it is of a much smaller variety, free-standing but small enough to put in my car trunk. I purchased it from Sears and the only thing that I dislike about it is that I can only buy a replacement blade from Sears due to the sizing. Buzz on.