Not all stories are told with words. Mixed-media artist and Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) alumna Melissa Hagerty spins a narrative for a more sustainable, environmentally friendly future using sustainably sourced fibers. Created in collaboration with students attending SCAD Lacoste, Hagerty’s current project, “The Heart of the Hive,” is a hive-inspired art installation that raises awareness about the possibly declining bee populations and explores the importance of the hive mentality in the global community.
The Heart of the Hive takes inspiration from the traditional yarn weaving craft Ojos de Dios—Spanish for “eye of God”—used by many indigenous peoples in the Americas as a meditative and spiritual practice. Hagerty modified the Ojos de Dios’ standard four-point shape into a hexagonal form akin to the shapes found in honeycomb. The colorful hand-woven pieces are made from threading and yarn sustainably sourced from a variety of places, including donations, local antique markets in France, and Etsy shops with ethically sourced and naturally dyed fibers.
The meditative process of weaving the hexagonal Ojos de Dios ‘cells’ is opened up to SCAD Lacoste students who contribute to the hive building with the creation of a unique ”honeycomb cell.” The weaving takes place in a group setting, where stories and conversations on topics such as declining honeybee populations, environmental issues, and community engagement are shared and discussed. Once all the cells are finished, they will be strung together and hung like a hive from a ceiling or other raised surface. The installation will immerse visitors in a hive-like environment complemented with recordings of buzzing bees.
“The hive mentality focuses on the importance of the individual’s role in the local and (ultimately) global communities,” writes Hagerty. “By seeing ourselves as playing key roles in the greater picture, we then can start to honor our own paths, as well as those of others, and make more conscious decisions regarding our health and prosperity. By encouraging us to participate more in our local communities, we can start to support each other and collaborate in ways that sustain a healthy lifestyle. And by highlighting the importance of the Self, this project promotes a sensitivity to our individual needs. In these ways, we might better serve the hive using our gifts, creative tools and passions to propel us forward to a brighter future— for ourselves, the earth, and future generations.” Hagerty is completing the Heart of the Hive as part of her summer artist residency at SCAD Lacoste. You can follow her and her project’s process on Facebook and Instagram.