A beautiful dinner with a few friends, laughing, cuddles and lots of food and wine & when the season permits, BEEKEEPING.
Can you tell us a bit about Honey Fingers?
is a creatively interdisciplinary practice between bees and humans that explores the nature between the two. Nic Dowse began Honey Fingers 6 seasons ago with a curiosity between how humans and bees interconnect. He is a seriously passionate man about a lot of things but his self taught knowledge of
bees and keeping them is something else.
I first got in contact with Nic via IG 2 seasons ago and asked to come beekeeping. He said yes (lucky me) and that kicked off my passion for all things honey bee related. I then pestered Nic almost daily, about when I would get to go out with him to another site - a difficult task being a full-time employee - and haven't stopped since that fateful day. He is a patient, resourceful, brilliant mentor, friend and beekeeper.
I've helped Nic rob hives in peak season when the honeycomb is bulging from the frames, golden or a rich, dark amber, extract the honey during one of Nic's famous 'honey extracting parties' (loud music and 3 people max in the honey kitchen, please), catch swarms from olive trees on Smith St or a letterbox in Coburg, night moves from rooftops, 8 bee stings and a bit of swearing later and that's only the beginning of the beekeeping adventures. I've learned so much about bees, the similarities between human and honeybee architecture, bee culture, et. met the most beautiful people during these 2 seasons of beekeeping adventures and have been exposed to a beautiful world of Nic's poetry.
Honey Fingers had to end the season early due to COVID-19 but thankfully, he got to have one last hoorah. He recently launched his first-ever poetry and beehive books, respectively, at a small event at MPavillion in March. We got to hear him and his wonderful friend, Stanislava read aloud their favourite poems from his zine and then break bread smeared with honeycomb from our hives with a lovely crowd.
Honey Fingers is doing it a little differently until the world returns to normal. Honey can be posted nationally or delivered (Melbourne based) and his zines are also available to purchase via his website. The Honey Fingers instagram is also a beautiful way of getting lost in learning about bees or seeing Nic's seriously amazing art sculptures collaborated on with his honey bees. And of course, reading his poetry musings.
And a bit about your art?
I never studied art. I discovered I loved painting during my Textile Design course at RMIT 3yrs ago. My creative practice is how I began trying to combat my depression. I was told to exercise or seek therapy but I didn't find any of it helped. Beekeeping was the first time I began to feel happy again after a long period of dark years and I found myself daydreaming of colours and lines often.. So whenever I got home from work or couldn't go out beekeeping with Nic, I needed something to pour myself into.
I would sit in bed and paint. I would sometimes be proud of my work and post on my Instagram
. And then some lovely friends started asking me to paint them something for their homes. It was a surreal moment in my world. I was feeling better within myself mentally. Art was actually making it possible to have the courage to leave the house. It's amazing what confidence can do for someone who suffers from depression. And it's even more amazing that, along with my best friends support, I wanted to share my art with my followers on social media.
As a small human, I always wanted my home filled with art. And now I can fill my home with my own art. I create for myself. That's what my best friends and mama have always told me. Whenever I create something that I didn't really want to, I'll paint over it. That's why most of my canvases have a thousand layers of paint, or dried flowers, under the finished piece.
About a year ago, a friend told me to join her ceramics course on a Tuesday evening. It was fun, relaxed and a community class so I wouldn't feel pressured or anxious. I went and I loved it. I began making plates and vases, the usual. Then I started playing around with the clay. I can't do perfectly perfect pieces. I would feel sad trying to make them so. My plates were wonky.
I was constantly daydreaming of chess and playing with my grandfather when I was little. He was my favourite person in the world. Black and white checkers swirling in my brain daily. I made my first big piece. A wonky, slanting bowl... I had to paint it in black and white checks. I was so nervous when I went to pick it up from the kiln. But it turned out, perfectly imperfect. I was so proud and happy with my little bowl. I of course, had to shout it from the proverbial mountain top - IG. I was blown away when friends sought to commission one from me. My chess dreams were being loved by friends and strangers. Its pretty mind bottling...
So during this uncertain COVID-19 era of weird, I'm able to make my bowls
and paint my paintings
from the floor of my bedroom.. with my cats in my lap. And doing my best to support my friends and local businesses where I can because I can't even begin to elaborate how much it meant to me that people wanted to support my work by commissioning my ceramics. It means so much.