Bees as inspiration
October 16, 2019
I have a large flower garden in the summer and noticed someone put several beehives up on the hill behind my house a couple of summers ago. I live in an arid climate, and the bees went crazy for all of the flowers.
Bees always love flowers of course, but I also noticed that they were thirsty. They congregated at the edges of my flower pots looking for water.
So I built a not-very-fancy ‘water feature’ in my garden for the bees. Then they came in droves!
Making bee magnets
To make a magnet, I needed the bee to be flatter than the other versions and an ‘inconspicuous’ way to create the bee as a standalone piece.
I start with a little wire. That eventually becomes the stinger. I have the rods of glass laid out and I pull some ‘stringer’ — spaghetti size pieces of glass that I use to melt and spiral the stripes on. Then I make the bee. First the body, then the stripes (the tricky part), head, eyes, and wings.
Molten glass is the consistency of thick honey. Balancing honey on a small stick is similar to how it feels melting glass. It is a dance of heat and gravity to complete the design and not have it fall off the stick. An additional thing to deal with for these bees is that the wire is small and will burn right through if I am not paying close attention to where it is in the flame. ?
Off to the kiln to slowly cool down. They are in the kiln for about 8 hours. This is called annealing and it relieves the stress out of the glass for lasting durability.
Once out of the kiln, I wrap the ‘stinger’ in a small loop so no one gets poked. Then I attach the super-strong mini magnet with jewelry adhesive. They take 24-48 hours to cure.
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