Tag Archives: terracotta

Make a bumblebee nest from a flower pot

Bombus terrestris cp1

Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) Western Canada. By Calyponte via Wikimedia Commons

Note: It’s always with great joy to post this story, as it means the year has rolled around to this point. Soon it will be spring! Here, in SW British Columbia, snowdrops and crocuses are blooming and tulips are coming up… It’s time to begin this project, as authors from some of the links below informed me that queen bumblebees nest in March and April. — Jan


My neighbor, Jean, likes bees and when I am around her, I like to hear of her ‘bee adventures.’ She is also my ‘go-to’ person whenever I have a question about bees. Several years ago, she told me how to make a bumblebee nest using an ordinary clay flower pot. Based on what she said, I immediately started saving dryer lint, which she uses as nesting material (inside an upside down pot). Since I posted about toad homes, this post is a natural followup. Click here to learn why it’s important to attract bees and to find out how they can benefit your garden. I have yet to see my first bumblebee this year, but it’s still only February. I’m sure I’ll soon see a big bumblebee motoring along slowly along. Now is the time to place your nests, though, so they’ll be ready to attract a queen bumblebee! I have listed some lovely sites which will show you how to make your bee nest. It’s so easy! Remember: an upside down pot and lint for stuffing. I am sure there is a bumblebee out there somewhere who will move into the abode I will prepare for it. The bumblebee is an important pollinator and its slow sojourns take it over quite a territory. If you want to attract more bumblebees, grow plants they like. Click here for a list of plants that attract bees…very important. And what post about bumblebees would be complete without Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee”? Below these links is a video of Croatian Maksim Mrvica’s thrilling version!

How to build a bumblebee nest – part 1 – a how-to about building the nest

How to build a bumblebee nest – part 2 – a how-to about nesting material and placing your nest

Plans for bumblebee nestboxes – how to plus diagrams

How to make a bumblebee nest – the BBC gardening site’s how-to

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

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A beautiful Leach Pottery soup bowl

Leach Pottery soup bowl. By Teapotgeorge (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons


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A beautiful goblet from antiquity


Terracotta goblet from Navdatoli, Malwa, India, ca. 1300 BCE, Ostasiatische Kunst Museum, Berlin, Germany. By PHGCOM via Wikimedia Commons

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Open Studio Update

Joan's pit-fired rattle

A New Year! Last night, I was up late pondering a full, fresh year in the Open Studio. I wondered where it might lead and what I might make. What it meant. I very much looked forward to pulling a chair up to the big table. I missed our communal work station! It was such a delight to walk in the door this morning and see my friends assembled there. Joan had made us rattles she had pit-fired over the break. Then, Pauline gave us a choice of pieces she’d made, as she’s begun to clean out her studio. Her tenure as artist-in-residence has ended, though, she will remain with us on Tuesdays for a time, which is good news, because I can’t imagine the Open Studio without her red-headed vivacity! Today, Pauline and Otto did a bit of vocal work. They are both gifted singers: Otto a tenor and Pauline an alto… During the holidays, we were able to attend a splendid concert by Pauline’s choral group, Ensemble Etoile. Oh, my, I just realized she got us tickets and I haven’t paid her back…oops. Big will do, P!

Wiped away excess Cottage White glaze for 'snow' stage on Snowfall tiles

Today, we pretty much continued working with ongoing projects. Over the break, I further readied ten terra-cotta tiles I was working on by wiping off excess glaze to reveal ‘snow.’ Light snow, heavy snow. Last night, I masked off the trees with liquid latex. Mark gave me a one-litre jug made by the Burma Rubber Co. for Xmas.

Dried latex glistens around the perimeter of the dry Green Oribe glaze

That much latex will last me a good long while… Dry, it is a bit stronger than the brand I’d borrowed from Pauline. This means I only need one coat, but it also means it disturbs the glaze more when I peel it off. I’ll have to do some touch-up work. I also used a face mask because of fumes and particulates.  Next, I painted on wide bands of Green Oribe glaze

Green Oribe glaze unmasked and ready for touch-up work

on the trees, which produces a dark, thick, matte green that I like very much. (There is some talk about possibly replacing this glaze with something else at the studio and, if so, I’ll have to come up with an alternative or make my own.) Before I left today, I’d reached the last stage: painting on thick bands of Cottage White for a ‘snowy’ foreground. I like a thick opaque patch on the Snowfall tile. It reminds me of virgin snow. What I’m doing here is production work on a small scale, small enough that the individuality of each piece is not lost. When I’m working on each tile, I sense the ‘personality’ of the piece and each does seem to say something different.

Liquid latex for masking, Cottage White glaze for the foreground


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