Jen Rose-Helping Pollinators Never Looked So Good

A guide to helping your local pollinators-Inspired by artist Jen Rose

By Grace Gutierrez

The current exhibition at the Firehouse Art Center, Flight of the Polychromatic Zooids, by Jen Rose, explores the world of a zooid, a single organism that makes up a colonial animal, an animal made of many organisms linked through tissue or an exoskeleton. The exhibition is dominated by the show-stopping Zooid windchime and sound installation, but as you exit the gallery is a small piece on a pedestal you also won’t want to miss. This work is a multi-tubed cluster of porcelain pieces woven into a sturdy fiber support. The artist explains this work is a prototype of a permanent outdoor installation aimed at helping pollinating bees. Rose has created multiple outdoor installations that serve as tools to help pollinators. Without our pollinators, most foods would cease to exist and our very lives depend on these small but essential creatures.

There are a few different methods her sculptures use to benefit bees. “Each year tunnel-dwelling pollinating insects lay eggs in tunnels found in wood or masonry. Most of these insects are native bees and were here long before the honey bee. The woven green tubes are created with this purpose in mind. They will house pollinator larva of non-stinging bees until the next season,” explains Rose of her multi-tubed work. The artist’s ability to create ways to support natural life is really amazing, but the work is oh, so aesthetically pleasing as well!

Photo By: Lisa Doane of work from Flight of the Polychromatic Zooid, by Jen Rose

Another project Rose has going is her Bee Cup pollinator Oases. Bee Cups are tiny porcelain funnels that catch rain or water from sprinklers and act as little watering holes for bees with just the right amount of water for these tiny creatures. The artist explains, “Each [cup] is made from hand-colored porcelain with color variations intentionally added to each batch. They are heated to over 2200 degrees Fahrenheit in a kiln using 100% solar energy. Because of this production process, they are 100% light safe and will never fade. They will not leach chemicals into the soil or water and contain ZERO plastics.” Rose installs the Bee Cups in a large formation she calls an Oasis. With every step of the process, these cups truly are designed to sustainably help pollinators. You can purchase Rose’s homemade bee cups from the artist’s shop here: https://www.bee-cups.com/shop

Jen Rose, Bee Cup Oasis

Here are some easy and affordable ways to help your local pollinators:

  • -For starters, you can plant some flowers! Here is a great list of flowers you should be planting in Colorado to cultivate a thriving pollinator habitat: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/insects/creating-pollinator-habitat-5-616/
  • STOP using insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and neo-nicotinoids in your home gardens and lawns that can harm bees. Instead, let those dandelions grow, use compost and fish amino to promote good soil health, and use lady bugs to help with pests.
  • You can make a small bee bath in a shallow dish using marbles or rocks and filling with water to leave some of the rock’s surface uncovered. The bees will land on the rocks and drink the water. (Or seriously check out Jen Rose’s Bee Cups here:https://www.bee-cups.com/shop)
  • Buy local & raw honey from your local beekeepers. Avoid honey sold in bulk or in the supermarket, instead get your honey during farmer’s market season. Learn about your local beekeeper’s practices and hive locations to help foster your knowledge of local bees. Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to start your own hives and become a beekeeper yourself.

Jen Rose, Bee Cup

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