Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ecological Artist Brandon Ballengee

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to share with you an artist I recently discovered, Brandon Ballengee, whose works bridge the worlds of art and science in wonderful ways.

Here is a link to a site about one of his projects, "Love Motel for Insects."

So exciting!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

summer love

To all my peeps in Calgary:  keep your ears open on Thursday morning.  I will be interviewed by Dana Martin of CJSW about the Bees Please project.  We will discuss how this might work in Calgary.

Very excited to have been interviewed recently by Michael Levenston from City Farmer, here in Kitsilano.  In case you missed it:

Here is the link to City Farmer News:

Mary Bennett, of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver,  is organizing Bees Please II in the roundabout at 6th & Trafalgar.  A Bees Please parade is being planned for labour day weekend, so stay tuned!

Here is the link to CACV, which is currently hosting a wonderful array of Eco-Arts Salons this summer, worth checking out.  The last one, with Ella Cooper, was so much fun:


 Kids seem to love 'Bees Please,' but please, hold someone's hand while crossing the street!

"Live through feeling and you will live through love. For feeling is the language of the soul, and feeling is truth.”
– Matt Zotti

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bees Please

Life has been busy since the last post.  This April, we finally installed the 'Bees Please' Mason Bee Box in the roundabout at Yew & 6th in Kitsilano.  The design process was fast and furious, as we raced to meet Mother Nature's deadline (mason bees emerge from their cocoons late March / April).  Thanks to Doug Patterson, Landscape Architecture professor at UBC, for his support and guidance. 

Michael and I bought the materials, and built the structure from scratch.  I'm glad that I wasn't aware of how much work this would be, because had I known, I probably would have chickened out, considering the pressure we were both under at school, etc.  However, I have learned sooooo much from this experience.  A huge thank-you to Michael, who is simply wonderful for helping as much as he did.

A big thank-you also to my friends, especially Kristen Frake, Charlotte Drache-Lambert, Christine Cooper, Christine Wilson, Sarah Sedo, Joey Rae and Dana Magee for their advice, plants, labour and support!  

All of our hard work paid off.  The project has been more successful than I had hoped for.  The bees that I bought at Wild Birds Unlimited survived and emerged!  

The 'Bees Please' box is in harmony with its surroundings, under the city's height restrictions, and most exciting of all, the bees have stayed!!!!!   What's even more exciting is that the project has caught the attention of Mary Bennett of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, who is planning a Bees Please II.  There are discussions of a parade from my roundabout to hers, along 6th Ave, so stay tuned!

Friday, December 31, 2010


Another way to look at sculpture in the garden is as 'habitart'.  Habitat + art = match made in heaven.  Here are some ideas...

Tucson artist and landscape designer Greg Corman and metal artist, Tidi Ozeri of Ozeri Metal Designs have come up with sculptural pieces that double as habitats for more than 4000 species of native bees in the US. They are made of recycled wood & steel.  I will write more on bees later...

Sculpture Habitat for the Gray Fox" by CEBRA.  "This minimalist sculpture evokes a range of mountain peaks and valleys, or perhaps fox ears. The work consists of more than 350 stacked, interlocking wood components and a central cavity or fox den. This sculpture habitat was assembled from surplus Presidio cypress removed as part of the Presidio Trust’s reforestation program and milled in the park."

"Animal Estates Snag Tower" by Fritz Haeg. "The Animal Estates Snag Tower is a prototype for a collective model home designed to accommodate six animal clients that would otherwise live in a snag, or standing dead tree, in the park. The structure features interior nesting cavities for the Pygmy Nuthatch and Bumblebee, a cantilevered perch for the Black Phoebe, louvered crevices for the Yuma Myotis bat, cover logs for the California Slender Salamander, and a hibernaculum or winter residence for the Coast Garter Snake."

"Western Screech-Owl Habitats" by Ai Weiwei-

"Owl Dome" by Taalman Koch Architecture. "Owl Dome simulates the type of nest that an owl might occupy within a tree trunk. An aperture allows the owl to enter and nest within the dome, and at a height of sixteen feet, affords protection from predators and serves as an ideal hunting platform for its resident. The hemp rope wrapped around the tripod support is designed to provide an easy grip for fledgling owls."-

Monday, December 27, 2010

Not Your Mother's Recycled Art

A spectacular sculptural piece in your front yard can transform the day-to-day lives of passers-by.  Consider buying (or making) a sculpture made of recycled materials, they don't need to be homely! Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

1.  'Hungry Gods' by Subodh Gupta. 2006. Stainless steel utensils.

 2.  'Line of Control' by Subodh Gupta. 2008. Stainless steel utensils.

 3.  'Sea Horses' by Heather Jansch. 2009. Driftwood.

 4.  'What's it worth' (detail)by Ron den Daas.2009. Plastic milk bottles.