Bee yourself at Bee-mag

1,000 tapestry bees, 1,000 stitchers, one collaborative city artwork – get involved!

During February half term Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is hosting a tapestry bee stitching workshop as part of The Hive, New Standard Works’ 2019 craft challenge; the aim of which is to bring together 1000 Birmingham residents from across the city to stitch 1000 tapestry bees for a new collaborative artwork which connects Birmingham’s people and places, cultures, stories and heritage.

The team are looking for people of all ages to drop in to BMAG on Thursday 21st February, from 10.30am to 1.30pm to stitch with Tapestry Needlepoint Artist Tina Francis or pick up a bee tapestry kit to take away, stitch and return to The Hive, a recently restored grade II listed factory in Vittoria Street in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.

Suzanne Carter, Community Outreach and Learning Manager at The Hive, who is managing the craft campaign on behalf of the Ruskin Mill Land Trust, says, “We’ve been working with artist Tina Francis to stitch bees with schools and community groups from across the city over the past few months as part of the Bee Yourself project, and we can honestly say every stitched tapestry bee is different and unique, just like its stitcher!

“Through the artwork we want to celebrate the incredible diversity of the city and its people, and promote the message that being different is great, and being yourself is important. Why bees? Well, The Hive is located at the New Standard Works, which also boasts a rooftop microfarm, looked after by the students of Argent College.

“This summer we’ll be welcoming the first beehives into the Jewellery Quarter onto our roof – we thought we’d herald their arrival with a totally unique artwork where 1000 people have been working together, like honey bees, to produce it!”

Rosie Barker, Community Engagement Officer for Birmingham Museums Trust, added, “We are delighted to be joining forces with The Hive to help them reach their target of 1000 stitchers. Half term is a wonderfully busy time at the museum with our extra family visitors and we are looking forward to seeing people of all ages stitching together as well as enjoying our current exhibitions and creative workshops.

“This drop-in activity is for everyone; children, adults, families and individuals. There is no need to book, just turn up. If you work locally, you can even pop in during your lunch break to pick up a bee kit to take home? If you can’t make it in February, you can stitch bees at BM&AG as part of our event for International Women’s Day on Friday 8th March, and we’re delighted that our volunteer sewing groups and our Carers wellbeing group are also going to be stitching bees!”

The final artwork will be stitched together by artist Tina Francis into one large tapestry installation. This will be unveiled on 29th June at a celebration event at The Hive for all the stitchers. The tapestry will be on display from July 2019 for a year before touring to community venues across the city. The Bee Yourself project has been possible thanks to a National Heritage Lottery Fund grant and is part of The Hive’s ongoing public engagement and activity programme.

For more information about the Craft Challenge, contact Suzanne Carter [email protected]