Carrie Reichardt – Bees

Bees Otherwise known as: Too many to list. There are 250 species of Bee in the UK alone!

Status: Endangered

Estimated number (UK): Unknown
Population trend: Decreasing

In recent winters, in Europe alone, bee losses of up to 53% became a reality.

Location: Worldwide

Why are they under threat?

The overuse of pesticides and insecticides for farming has caused many bees to, simply, die. Rapid urbanisation and diminishing green spaces in cities has left very few pollinator ‘corridors’ down which bees can travel, pollinate and multiply.

What can you do?

There are many things you can do to help save the bees. Plant bee friendly plants and seeds using Kabloom seedboms for a start, create natural habitat gardens, make a bee house and sign petitions banning insecticides and pesticides. Get your very own bee saver kit from Friends of the Earth.

Interview with Carrie

Mosaic perhaps isn’t the most obvious element to a mural project especially in England, why do you think that is the case?

Mosaic is a craft. It takes skill and time to make, and the materials can be costly. I tend to use as much reclaimed or recycled tiles as I can.   So where you can do a large painting in a few days, it would take weeks to cover the same surface area in ceramics.  But it’s a real shame that more local councils do not invest more in public mosaics.  Southbank Mosaics are running a campaign to set up the UK’s first mosaic school and want to train young people so they can beautify their local communities.  I have myself just completed the Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, travelling to Chile and Mexico to investigate the best methods  of making mosaic murals, so I am hoping to put into practice some of the skills I learnt.

How do you create your work? Could you explain it from concept to completion via your materials?

I actually work in a lot of different mediums – ceramics, printing, sculpture, photography and film but the process for my mosaics is usually quite methodical. Once I have an idea I start to make the ceramic tiles needed for the work. Sometimes I add ceramic transfers to tiles to make them the base colour I want to use. It’s hard to buy the bright coloured ceramic tiles I need.  I then re-fire them with up to three more layers of printed ceramic transfers to build up layers of images. If I am using horrific imagery I usually try to neutralise the image a bit with kitsch floral designs.  I think it makes it more palatable for the audience. Then I will construct the mosaic from all my printed tiles, ceramics and mixed media to produce ceramic collages. I use to work a lot with paper and card when I was at art college, and now see my work more as an extension of this method. I am just much more skilled now.

When I was at art school, mosaic most likely would have been considered arts and crafts, I’m not even sure what that really means.  What do you feel about arts and crafts? 

I try not to bother about labels and definitions. When I was at art college all you could study was printing, painting or sculpture and you had to remain in one of these disciplines.  Craft wasn’t an option.  This was when the divide was between fine art and graphic design.  I don’t think it matters how you define your practice, for me it’s all about being imaginative and finding expression through the creative process.

How do you feel that you are treated by the art world?

I suspect I am generally ignored by the ‘art world’. I care more how art can help society. I am not that interested in the ‘art market’.