Visitors are invited to place aromatic offerings of beeswax and pine resin – materials utilized within honey beehives and some solitary bee nests – into a heated copper tray which resembles the interior of our bumble bee hive:


Anne Barros explains: “When asked by Sarah Peebles to make an offering plate for the exhibition, ‘Resonating Bodies’, I initially thought of electroforming a sheet of beeswax. Because the project focuses on bumble bees, not honey bees, I was given the remnants of a discarded hive (the colony cycle completed and the bees no longer living) from the James D. Thomson lab at the University of Toronto to work with.

“Electroforming is a process that deposits a thin layer of metal on a matrix, in this case the beeswax hive. The hive is first coated with electroconductive paint and immersed in a plating bath of sulfuric acid and copper sulfate. An electric current is passed through and copper is deposited on the hive until it is of sufficient thickness.

“After much experimentation and failure, I managed to put together enough of the fragile cells to reconstruct a hive. As the raised focal point for the offering plate, the bees’ naturally built structure picks up the patinated colour and surface of the copper plate itself.”

rectifier (left), electrolytic bath (right) with work to be plated (11)

Painting copper conductive coating on bumble bee wax hive

Wax matrix

Anne Barros demonstrates electroform bath (1)

Anne Barros demonstrates electroform bath (2)

Anne Barros demonstrates electroform bath (3)

This video has been sped up:


Anne Barros: copper offering plate, electroformed Bombus hive; silver bowl.