A little known fact about the Beehive is that we began our work together in 2000 collaboratively constructing stone mosaic murals and teaching this rare art form to dozens of apprentices! We collectively designed and knit our murals, like a team of ants, cutting and carrying all the little bits that make up the larger picture...
The initial project that we dreamed of building together was an elaborate public mural to be called the "The Biodiversity Crossroads." The project's mission was to create a unique, monumental, and nationally collaborative public work documenting desires for a sustainable future while illustrating the history which has led us to the grave circumstances of the present worldwide crisis in agriculture and biodiversity. The site for this project was to be the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association's “Common Ground Fairgrounds.” This dream, and it's overwhelmingly enthusiastic support is what propelled the Beehive into existence, and initially attracted volunteers from far and wide to our base in Maine to begin the rehabilitation of the Machias Grange Hall, and begin our work together as activist image makers... None of us could conceive then of the amazing adventures that would unfold instead!
Currently our stone mosaic work is on hold until we are finished with our illustrated trilogy about Globalization in the Americas... we sure do miss working with stone, and can't wait to get back to it!
Unitl then... here's some more about our mosaics!
Traditional hand-cut stone mosaics are some of the oldest documentary art still intact. Due to its labor intensive qualities, the craft has become extremely rare, even amongst the field of mosaic itself, where most mosaics are simple, two-dimensional designs, constructed from broken ceramic or glass fragments. Our works are highly detailed, figurative murals, that use individually cut shapes to describe form through contour and grout lines... conveying even the fur, feathers and skin on our creatures! We prioritize the use of recycled materials, excavating much of our scrap and odd lots from the small mountains of stone waste found behind countertop fabricators.
Mosaic has the fascinating ability to communicate the vast orchestra of detail between the microcosm and the macrocosm. The startling intricacy and richness of color in natural stone demands awe of nature from the viewer. It's the same humbling experience as discovering an iridescent bug... a little, but overwhelming reminder that nature is irreplaceable and pales human attempts to replicate its intensity. Adding theme to this, mosaic allows us to begin to convey the complexity of biodiversity, in an engaging, memorable way. Mosaics inspire a sense of permanence, outlasting lost civilizations and fallen empires... things we think more of us should be contemplatin' hard the way the world's going... When we depict endangered species in our mosaics we're asking the viewer to reflect on extinction...and sustainability... We're asking the viewer to imagine 10, 200, 3000 years from now. It's a opportunity to exercise foresight, to imagine the future that is rarely tended to in our society. Mosaic also gives it's audience, and creator, the opportunity to experience the nourishment of a hand craft which defies mass-production. In a culture that surrounds us with machines and manufactured objects, these opportunities are rare.
We cut our own squares of marble and granite from recycled slab and odd lots of tiles, using tools that run their diamond tipped blades through tubs of water, before being hand nipped to shape. This handcrafting process takes approximately 20 to 30 hours per square foot, and is a wicked healthy and addictive puzzlebrain exercise for us youngins that grew up on television and video games, and have the attention span of a flea as a result…. We LOVE it, it's our therapy!
The Beehive solicits commissions of custom mosaic to help fund it's apprenticeship and mosaic activities.
We design, fabricate, and install custom woodstove mats, wood floor inlays, tables, countertops, and other freestanding pieces. We have an extensive portfolio, and fourteen years of experience behind our work. We hope you will take a moment to pass the word along to someone you think might be interested in what we do…. Thanks!