Bee Decking the Meadow

This community art project at the Brent’s Grist Mill Heritage Park pasture was held in August and September 2017.  It was inspired by artist Jaymie Johnson’s work with mentoring artist Sharon Kallis at the Richmond Pollinator Pasture in 2016. In collaboration with Border Free Bees and EartHand Gleaners Society, this event series was presented by the University of British Columbia Okanagan, in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the City of Kelowna.

WorkBee Series: Eco-Fibre Processing Circles
At Brent Grist Mill Heritage Park Pollinator Pasture

Participants learned about harvesting local materials, making rope and coiled forms as a contribution to the community installation, enjoyed music from local singers and songwriters, and met new neighbours.  The process for creating the “Bumble Baskets” occurred over several workbees (see list below) and then, at a final celebration, the Bumble Basket sculptures were installed at the Pasture.

See website for more details/ images on this project:


WorkBee 1 – Local Fibre Harvest
Friday Aug 4 · 9:30–11:30am
Location: Curly Frog Farm
Harvest and gather grasses, pine needles, and nettle in preparation for processing.

WorkBee 2 – Pine Needle: Coil
Tuesday, Aug 29 · 6:00–8:00pm
Learn to coil pine needles using stinging nettle fibre as thread.
Special displays and live music with Kelowna Museum Society and Parks Alive.

WorkBee 3 – Wild Grasses: Material Inquiry and Technique
Wednesday, Aug 30 · 6:00–8:00pm
Harvest, process, and learn about wild grasses.
Guest: Sharon Kallis

WorkBee 4 – Nettle: Harvest and Process
Thursday, Aug 31 · 6:00–8:00pm
Harvest, process, and create cordage out of stinging nettle.

WorkBee 5 – Weekend Intensive: Playful Discovery
Saturday, Sept 2 · 9:30am–12:30pm
Playfully create coiled bumblebee ‘pots’.
Guest: artist and natural sculptor Annabel Stanley

WorkBee 6 – Weekend Intensive: Playful Discovery
Playfully create coiled bumblebee ‘pots.’
Guest: singer/songwriter Leila Neverland

Final Celebration!
Monday, Sept 4 · 10:00am–12:30pm
Installation of this community project!
Guest: singer/songwriter Maiya Robbie.


Artist Bios

JAYMIE JOHNSON is an interdisciplinary artist who uses a variety of media to explore the connection between art, ecology, and community, including printmaking, sculpture, and plant and earth materials through fibre processing and community engagement. Since graduating with a BFA from Emily Carr University in 2015, she has worked on numerous community and environmental public art projects as a member of the chART Collective and as Project Assistant with Border Free Bees. In 2016 she apprenticed with eco-artist Sharon Kallis in blackberry fibre use, cordage processing, and community engagement methods. Jaymie is from the West Kootenays and is currently based in Vancouver, BC.

SHARON KALLIS discovers the inherent material potential in a landscape with
a “one mile diet” approach to sourcing art materials. Involving community in connecting traditional hand techniques with invasive species and garden waste, site-specific installations become ecological interventions. Based in Vancouver BC, Sharon has engaged with communities at home, the U.S., Ireland, Mexico and Spain. Sharon is the founding director of EartHand Gleaners Society, an arts-based non-profit that develops community projects that support makers being producers without first being consumers. Sharon’s book, Common Threads: Weaving Community through Eco-art, is published by New Society Publishers and is a field guide to ‘making with others’ with what you find close at hand.

ANNABEL STANLEY has her own vineyard in the Central Okanagan, from which she uses the vines and other natural fibres to weave her baskets and sculptures.

LEILA NEVERLAND, singer and songwriter, creates original percussive ukulele tunes, infused with poetry about resilience, the earth, love, and change.

MAIYA ROBBIE, singer and songwriter, has folk stylings and avant-garde leanings blended with vocal prowess. “Her ability lies in being able to pierce through the surface to a place of poetic authenticity.”