Cross-pollinating with the Beehive in Machias, ME
The Beehive Collective is a fifteen year old hyper-functional political artist collective in remote Machias, ME. They began in 2000 as a women's collective, producing beautiful and intricate cut stone mosaics. Today, their main projects are visually intense, insanely complex illustrated commentaries on the economic and social effects of globalization. These posters, some of which take many long Maine winters to complete, are reprinted by the hundreds and thousands and displayed all over the world. According to their website, which is attractive and informative (the bee flies not far from the hive) they have distributed over 75,000 posters to date. All of their work is anonymously credited to the collective and anti-copyrighted to ensure free dissemination of "a more healthy, and visual representation of the complex and overwhelming issues our society is facing." I remember the first time I witnessed one of their posters, called "The True Cost of Coal". I was at once mesmerized by it's depth of composition, saddened and angered by it's content, and deeply impressed by it's message.
Since running a successful volunteer based grassroots political campaign left the unstoppable Bees with a lot of spare energy and free time, they have channeled their rejuvenating efforts towards their local community. The hive acquired a historic grange near Bad Little Falls, and completely revitalized it's structure and aesthetic, while preserving it's historic roots. The grange is now a gorgeous two-story public multi-use community center, housing a diverse array of cultural events. When the hive acquired the grange, there was a gaping hole in the second floor, and it was falling into serious structural disrepair. Last night, however, we performed in that same room on a low stage facing a flawless maple sprung floor and balcony under a stamped tin ceiling, bathed in warm light, bright acoustics, and the palpable presence of an engaging audience. We were touched by our reception at the grange, and it's nights like these that make this lifestyle so worth it. Adults and children lounged on a behemoth rug abutting the stage that was clearly the hide of some kind of abominable snow creature native to the Northeast. The fabulous reverberation of the grange allowed us to forgo amplification in favor of a more intimate acoustic set. Once again, the bar has been raised.
As I'm writing this post, the Bees are on lunch break from some epic group meeting, bustling around the kitchen of their early 1900's mansion, surely seeking sustenance to fuel further deliberation and compromise. Momentarily, they will reconvene and I will sneak through the foyer to capture this photo:
Thank you so much to everyone around the household, especially Rhiannon for being such an involved tour guide and immediate soul buddy.
Today we will head west to the southern tail of Lake Champlain, having reached the furthest North Eastern point on our journey.