You remember the Brazee bees, don’t you, Reader? According to Deb (and to me, and to everyone else we’ve let anywhere near any of the honey), the Brazee bees have produced the season’s most delicious honey. Bar none.
But this post isn’t necessarily about honey…it’s about last night’s “Bees and Beethoven at Brazee” Party of Note to benefit the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Sandy Gross, the owner and brain and heart and nerve behind the wonderful Brazee Street Studios asked me to share a little bit about honeybees with the party goers, and I was happy to do it. It was delightful…perhaps because we gathered outside in the Prairie area beneath a rising blue moon and we talked about bees. After that, we visited the two Brazee hives before watching JW May create a gorgeous honeybee in the new hot shop glass-blowing studio.
It was a sweet night…all the hor d’oeuvres were ever-so-slightly drizzled with honey produced by the Brazee bees; Sandy’s family and I dressed in yellow-and-black bee-appropriate attire; and I met some really nice new people. It wasn’t boring as so many parties are.
But I have to tell you, my favorite part of the night was discovering Sandy and John’s daughter’s lemonade stand. Chlo is in first grade this year, and from the moment I met her (in April, when we installed the bees), I liked her. You know how you do, Reader? Well, there she was last night, sitting perfectly on a little stool behind her pink lemonade. She’d strategically opened for business outside the big open doors of the hot shop from which billowed intense heat, and her sign read: Lemonade, 1 cent. Party goers stood in line for it.
I had no money in my pocket at this point, Reader…not even a single penny. And how do you ask for a nice glass of ice-cold lemonade without paying for it?! So I sat through much of the glass-blowing demonstration dreaming of pink lemonade. Seriously. At some point, Chlo came to me and asked me if I wanted a glass of lemonade. I confessed to her that all I could think about was pink lemonade. All night…pink lemonade in a clear cup. She poured a nice glass of it for me. The clear cup she gave me frosted with coolness. It was perfect…absolutely delicious…probably because she’d been so sweet to seek me out and offer it.
We visited. I told Chlo that I thought she was showing interest in becoming a business woman. She agreed. I asked her if she knew yet what kind of business she hoped to establish. And, Reader, do you know what she said? She sort of shrugged and said, “Lemonade?” She said it as if it were a question. And I thought, well, yes, why the heck not lemonade?! I don’t know of a single world-famous lemonade business, so it seems to me the field is wide open for a dynamo.
And I learned a great lesson from Chlo: Why always look to the future when you’ve got a great thing going on right this minute? And why seek to be a world-famous operation? Why not simply enjoy yourself as you provide lemonade to the thirsty people standing right in front of you at the moment, and let the rest take care of itself?
Chlo’s dad says she’s talked for some time about a lemonade stand. And there she was, making her dream a reality. As we talked, she asked her mother if she could sell lemonade at that spot on Saturdays; together, they worked out a plan: Yes, she could sell lemonade on Saturdays so long as an adult was with her. And she could sit right there at the entrance to the hot shop where there’s a steady weekend traffic of thirsty glass blowers and passersby—Chlo nodded as if to say, Yep, this is definitely gonna work out.
I discovered Brazee Street Studios and its owner Sandy Gross through my friend and teacher Christopher Daniel, owner of Blue Hell Studios and a wonderful metal artist…he’s teaching me to blacksmith and weld and how to fix beehives…I’d say Christopher teaches me how to think of possibilities. And how to simply try my hand at something and see what happens. And then he always finds something positive to notice in my efforts. In my book, this makes for a terrific teacher.
Christopher sees a problem and his brain goes about solving it. My brain sees a problem and it calls Christopher.
Fortunately, Christopher found me sitting out in the prairie strapping the beehives with those bungee cords, and he very sweetly began problem solving. And then he guided me in fabricating a fancy-dancy, metal-artsy contraption that has now replaced the bungee cords. This sweet solution solves all the problems: It simultaneously holds the lid on and the hive down; it allows the beekeeper to easily remove the lid and inspect the bees; it’s low profile and yet it shows an artist’s hand at work.
And all we had to do was:
- cut a lot of metal into exact little pieces
- grind out all the burrs and rough spots
- measure and mark and punch
- drill and drill and drill and drill
- smooth all the rough spots
- (I kept saying, “Christopher, these are for BEEHIVES. It doesn’t have to be perfect!” He looked at me over his goggles in silence, so I continued on with the angle grinder and the sparks.)
- Weld and weld and weld and weld
- (I love those awesome green welding jackets. They feel great, and I want one.)
- Sand smooth all the rough weld spots…of which there were many because I am not yet a good welder.
- Apparently welding involves more than permanently joining two pieces of metal together. It also involves looking as if there has never been a welder on the scene…as if these piece had been born joined together like this. Which involves smooth.
- I’m like, “Seriously? You want me to sand all of that smooth?” Again with the silent look over the goggles. Apparently so.
And that’s where I left it because it was getting late. Christopher offered to finish the as-yet-to-be-named brilliant solution and install it himself, which I think is a wonderfully sweet gesture. Artists are very particular about how things are installed, you know. :) I’m eager to see how it turns out when I go visit Blue Hell Studio’s open house tonight.
Oh, and then there’s the matter of rust prevention. We decided to leave the rust-prevention decision up to Sandy. See? Artists think of every detail, don’t they? And, let me tell you, Reader, Christopher and Sandy have a vision of how to either let something rust or how to prevent its rusting, and there’s really no way you nor I can predict what they see in their imaginations. And when we see the final result, we’ll say, “Oh my gosh…of course. That’s it! Why didn’t I think of that?”
So, keep visiting the bees at Brazee Street Studios…because it seems as if things out there evolve every single day. (There’s an open house there tonight, April 13th from 6-9PM.)
Oh. Someone at Brazee Street is hand-painting a sign that says “Bee Hives.” And there’s talk of a collaborative bee sculpture.
Did you know, Reader, that we’ve placed a couple of top-bar hives at Brazee Street Studios? Yes. We placed them in a nice spot, took this picture, and then when our backs were turned, the wind toppled them. Thank goodness there were no bees in them yet (the bees arrive in a couple of days).
So, I went out there yesterday and strapped the hives to the ground using stakes and a network of bright red bungee cords. It’s a temporary solution that works just fine, though the sight of bungee cords is never a sight I’m crazy about…and, let me tell you, artists are way pickier about aesthetics than I. I mean, I like a thing to look good, but I think my idea of looking good may not be up to snuff for some.
For instance, as we contemplated hive location, Sandy Gross, the wonderful owner and energy of Brazee Street Studios, had an idea of how the hives would sit. She simply began moving the hives to fit her mind’s eye. I didn’t see it, but she sees it, you know. When you see that someone sees it, you go with it. And there you go.
As a final touch, Sandy placed a heavy white stone on a hive to keep the lid from blowing off. But when she headed off to find even more heavy stones, I called out that I thought one stone would do the trick. To which she matter-of-factly replied that she prefers things in threes. :)
So, you see, Reader, it’s not only a matter of what will do the trick…it’s also a matter of how a thing feels to the eye. If it’s not right to the eye, it’s simply not right. So now there are three large white rocks atop each hive.
I totally get all of that, and I’m happy that these hives are assuming the character of Brazee Street Studios. And, let me tell you, it doesn’t take a Vincent Van Gogh to know that red bungee cords are not a good fit out there.
(I’ll have an update on the Brazee beehive solution in tomorrow’s post.)