Sun Hives are a beautiful sight to see but what I really love about them most is making them. The craft of weaving has been around for thousands of years-- they say since Paleolithic times! The fibers to weave with are endless but with these beehives eye straw is ideal.
The straw is known for being very tall, which helps the weaving process because it requires less material. It creates a very tidy , continuous coil. The silica content gives it structure and form.
In biodynamics we explore more than the things we can see and touch. There are other qualities that reveal themselves in a process or having certain characteristics that lend themselves to a plant or animal. Rye straw's high content of silica is important because there is a special relationship to the sun . It uses the sun's light to work with the formative forces that relate to to form and shape. In a way it sensitizes it and the bees are more receptive to it. I could go into this more but will save it for a later date. For now, I just wanted to share a bit about the weaving process.
Sun Hives take two days to complete. The cleaning of the rye is just as methodical as the weaving. In my workshops I try to include the cleaning as part of the weekend because it's so wonderful to work with. It's amazing how one can really get into cleaning.
Then the weaving process begins. It's almost like a dance. Your whole body gets into the rhythm of it and you simply don't want to stop. The stitching is very simple so it's easy to do this. Some workshops people share the process of weaving a hive and others the students get to complete their own.
THere are two skeps (or baskets) that makeup a Sun Hive and they are slightly different in size and shape. When out together they make an egg shape. These skeps are the protective skin to the colony of bees. There is a piece of wood that holds the two skeps together.
The colony of bees lives inside and draw out ther wax comb within. They are able to start their comb on a set of half moon arches. They have to freedom to make their comb as big or little as they feel is necessary. This is very different from conventional beekeeping.
After being mesmerized by the sun hive project as a whole, there comes a point where you must stop weaving. Some simple finishing stiches and it's done. Below is a photo of the very first skep I finished 6 years ago! And it's followed by my first completed Sun Hive back at the very fist SunHive workshop in the UK. Time flies..
As you know, this was definitely not my last.. I look forward to upcoming workshops!