Keeping Bees – introduction to beekeeping


May 2013 – It is time now to get our interested beekeepers skilled up. Michael Black, Iain Dunne, George Robertson, Franco D’Acunto, Jason Thomson and Patrick O’Growney complete the Introduction to Beekeeping course run by EMBA in May 2013. This beginners course consists of eight weeks information based classes and four practical visits to various apiaries in Edinburgh and West Lothian. This is your first step into keeping bees and is a fantastic intro into the do’s and don’ts of bee keeping in your area.

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Keeping Bees – printmaking


April 2013 – The hives are to be complete for the 2013 bee keeping season critically no later than June to house new colonies. But before the hive is brought into action we manage to use them for four life drawing sessions in our Visual Art workshop. The Visual Art group are now using their drawings on an eight week etching and printmaking course at the Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop.

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Keeping Bees – James’ musings


January 2013 – George Robertson, Jason Thomson, Brian Kemp, James Carter, Iain Dunne, Franco D’Acunto, David Wright, Annabel Bartle and Patrick O’Growney are the backbone of the making group. Every possible part of the hive that can be handmade is – from the half blind dovetail joints of the brood and super boxes to the mortise and tenon joints of the hive stands.

Writer James Carter is always on hand to write down his musings of our visits in the workshop………………….

“The bee-hive really is taking shape!

James was involved in assembling honey-frames with a lot of help from Susan and Patrick.

David Wright, James and Bryan were busy bees at chiselling into the inner corners of the hive drawers so that we could line the drawers with rails for the honey-frames to latch on to.

Meanwhile, Ian was preoccupied with the stand for the bee-hive and he, David, Lucy and Annabel worked on the various segments that will fit together with fox-wedge joints, Ian and David largely chiselling, Lucy and Annabel sawing.

Jason again true to form was doing something creative: a skull-like wooden sculpture, half-human, half-apelike that demonstrated his unique skill as a brilliant artist.

Even without the dominating presence of our have-a-go hero George Cliff Robertson, Patrick felt that we made such progress it would require only one further session to complete our bee-hive-making project.”

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Keeping Bees – making hives

Beehive Making PictureNovember 2012The next stage involved us getting a skilled woodworker and venue for us to create the hives. Susan Harper just finished her furniture making course at the Chippendale School of Furniture and invited folk at Artlink to come and see her show. Impressed with her skills and the set up in Gifford, the school soon becomes our making base for the next months.

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Keeping Bees – designing hives

beehive designSeptember 2012As a result of our growing understanding of bee keeping we decide to try and construct our own Top Bar Beehive .  After successfully completing this it is still awaiting its final destination, for now it is stored in David Wright’s garage.  We soon look at the further potential of making our very own Smith bee hives. These are hives particularly specific to Scotland. Vic Macrae a participant and a graphic designer, initially draws up some 3D plans for our newly designed hives based on the groups design ideas. Although the hive needs to be a standard size and shape we get Vic to use her creative skills and design a bespoke roof for the hive.

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Keeping Bees

topbar hive2Over the next fortnight Patrick O’Growney, lead artist for Artlink’s work in community mental health, will tell you about a conversation that started when gardening in the summer of 2011 and has led us to work with a beekeeper and bespoke furniture maker over the past two years.


August 2011On a sunny afternoon at Whyte Place, Lower London Road, whilst busy gardening – a conversation strikes up between Brian Kemp, Patrick and Alex Wilde about his Brian’s grandfather who kept bees in Somerset. As often happens in these conversations it draws out other anecdotes and we find that Iain Dunne’s grandfather had been a beehive maker in Dundee by trade in the early part of the last century. As the conversation developed it becomes clear that there is quite a bit of interest in beekeeping amongst the people there and we soon decided to invite David Wright, Artlink Board Member and member of the  Edinburgh and Midlothian Beekeepers Association, to come along and give us some introductory sessions on beekeeping.

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Angel Wings

Angel Wings is work of fiction written by Anne Donovan and beautifully illustrated by Tess Wood based on the experiences of a selected group of people with experience of mental ill health. After discussion we commissioned  Anne to write imaginatively about a child’s experience of having a mother or father who experiences mental ill health.

This publication is also available in Braille, Tape and Large print formats.
Please contact us for your copy.