Thursday, December 1, 2016

UNC Native Bee Sculptures Installed

The final step in the Fall 2016 Maker In Residence project was the installation of the student sculptures in the Coker Arboretum and the Community Garden.

Coker Arboretum curator Margo MacIntyre worked with me to display sculptures in trees near the arbor entrance of the garden.

Annie McDarris' little flower 

Ritam Chakraborty's "trompe l'eoil" tree branch

Nissa Coit's remembrance of Alice in Wonderland

Community Garden  staff and volunteers pause in their labors to pose with Zachary Gonzales' bright flower sculpture

Zac's piece 

Sarah Wright's colorful balloon. Sarah volunteers at the Community Garden 

Laurina Bird's abstract form

Helina Wolf also went abstract and finished her sculpture in bright yellow

Nancy Dianderas' "Curious" owl

Liza Zhytkova's Aztec sun god 

Zita Voros' tarnished bronze flower

We are blessed to have these excellent botanical gardens in our UNC community. Visit the Coker Arboretum and the Community Garden to see these creative student sculptures.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

UNC Maker Capstone Event

Students at the Bee Fair in the Makerspace in Murray Hall 
Our Maker in Residence project on Native Bee nesting sculptures held a Capstone Event for participants to demonstrate their works and explain what they had learned about native bees to fellow undergraduate students.

They set up stations and talked about a variety of issues related to native bee biology, including:
-the sculpture process;
-the difference between honey bees and native bees;
-native bee nesting behaviors;
-the dangers of insecticides to bees;
-direct and indirect threats of human activity to bees;
-the importance of bees to food production.

They set out a delicious array of snacks for their visitors.
Student leader Isaac Boulter offering refreshments
NC State entomologist Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, who had given a presentation on native bee biology during the course, had a bee display.

She even brought some live bumble bees.

Claire Lorch, who directs the UNC Community Garden, informed students of the activities of the garden. The student sculptures will be on display there over the winter and spring. Here she shows Sarah Wright's piece. Sarah volunteers at the Community Garden.

Student Leader Abby Gancz and Brooke Kilker from the Community Garden at the Garden display.

Zachary Gonzales with his sculpture. Zac left his piece with the original aluminum surface, and adorned it with bees that were produced on the Makerspace 3D printer.

Laurina Bird created an abstract form and coated it with a tarnished bronze patina.

Helina Wolf also went abstract and finished her sculpture in bright yellow.

Nancy Dianderas made a "Curious" owl, which she finished with multiple tarnish bronze and acrylic touches.

Annie McDarris sculpted a brightly colored flower.

Liza Zhytkova conjured up an Aztec sun God

Nissa Coit remember Alice in Wonderland with this fanciful creation with a tarnished bronze surface and a wood message made on the Makerspace laser cutting machine.

Ritam Chakraborty experimented with "trompe l'eoil" with this tree branch finished with extensively tarnished bronze

Finally Zita Voros created this tarnished bronze flower. She is shown here wearing the T-shirt that she designed for the participants of the Fall 2016 Resident Maker Project

As the Maker in Residence, I am so grateful to the UNC staff,

the student leaders and most of all the students who made this one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Thanks so much,

Sunday, November 13, 2016

UNC Maker In Residence Project

I have had the great privilege to be the Autumn 2016 Maker In Residence in the Maker Program at UNC Chapel Hill. Our goal was to introduce a select group of undergraduate students to Native Bees and create sculptures that would serve as bee nesting units.

Here are our students:

Environmental Studies and Journalism
My grandfather was a beekeeper, and I grew up in a very "bee-friendly" environment

Undecided major
…to use my creative problem solving skills in a setting that will challenge me.

Environmental Sciences
I am extremely concerned about the status of bee populations

Political Science and Contemporary European Studies
…perfect way for me to contribute in making a difference for the bees of North Carolina

Biology and Studio Art
…always been interested and concerned about the alarming decline in bee population

Biology and Statistics
I intend on becoming an entomologist with a focus on honeybees

Food and Agricultural Studies
Building things helps me think creatively, get to know materials intimately…

Environmental Science and Mathematics
Bees are rad … Gotta love natural pollinators

First Year
My main motivation… is simply to learn something new and to challenge my mind


Studio Arts and Graphic Design


The manager of UNC Makerspaces is Charlie Cummings

In our first class, NC State Entomologist Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt spoke to us about the biology of bees, especially native bees. Here, she is demonstrating Mason Bee nesting unites. Student Maker Assistant Isaac Boulter looks on.

Nissa and Annie with their wooden nesting unit
I gave a demonstration of how to build a Native Bee nesting unit using two by four boards. The students then created similar pieces.

In the second class, I demonstrated how to make a paper maquette as a pattern for a metal sculpture. The students set out to create paper maquettes for their sculptures.

Zac and his paper model

During the next three classes, the students created metal sculptures based on their maquettes. Read about their work on the UNC Maker in Residence Blog

The Maker students will share their experience in a Bee Fail on November 18th.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

How to Build a Bee & Bee

Here is as easy design to provide nesting spaces for cavity nesting bees.

I started out with a piece of 1 by 8 pine lumber. I cut three pieces 10 inches long for the the back and sides of a nesting box. The bottom is 8 inches and the top is 10 inches. I used a dray saw.

I assembled the piece, squaring, gluing and screwing it together.

I covered the top with roof flashing.

I gave the unit 3 coats of yellow exterior house paint. I painted a floral design on both sides. I applied a UV resistant spray to the design to protect it from the sun.

Finally, I filled the piece with commercially available mason bee nesting units, pieces of bamboo from our garden, rolled pieces of parchment paper for Mason Bees, and pieces of pine branch for Carpenter Bees.  

A Bee & Bee