Bee Kingdom

October 23, 2008

The three met while majoring in glass at the Alberta College of Art and Design. But it was only after a summer volunteering at Seattle’s Pilchuck Glass School, where glassmaking is a very team-oriented activity, that the three started collaborating.

It was around that time that Bandura’s grandmother was moving out of her house, so the trio moved in. They spent the summer extending the garage, and then much of their final year in school building the equipment they still use today.

At first, Bee Kingdom tried to make functional glass multiples, but their scale was too small to make that profitable. So, they returned to their true love—brightly coloured glass sculptures. It would become their trademark style.

“There’s a preconception to what glass artists make, which is more traditional, functional vessel work…we really weren’t interested in making any of that. We were more interested in glass sculpture. We could express far more conceptual ideas, which we were way more interested in coming from a fine arts background.”

The trio makes sure to maintain outside lives, to keep the crazies at bay. They have other contract work, and Fairweather has a yoga practice. Each artist also has their own artistic practice, complete with individual concerns and other mediums, like illustration.

Each artist brings their own very different aesthetic to their collaborative glass sculptures. Getting out of their house and heading to a coffee shop, they’ll make lists of what characteristics a piece should have. From that they’ll each do some drawings and discuss the merits and disadvantages of the designs. And because three people are working to create their work, Bee Kingdom can do designs that are impossible for one or two people to make.

“There’s a lot of pressure to get work down quickly to pay the bills, and we’re quite anxious to advance our careers as quickly as possible. So far it’s worked.”

Bee Kingdom Collective: New Works in Hot Glass Exhibition Statement will be on display from Thu October 23 – Mon November 3 at Calgary’s Axis Contemporary Art. Keep an eye on Bee Kingdom events and check out their work online here.

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