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Busy Bees Make More than Honey

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Busy Bees, More than Honey

If a budding design superstar created a Science Fair project, it might resemble Studio Libertiny's amazing "Made by Bees" vase.  This classically-shaped vase, made of honeycomb and – as the name suggests, made BY bees -- has to be one of the oddest, rarest and wonderfully weirdest design items we've ever run across.  The vase was originally created in 2006, when Rotterdam-based, Slovakian-born designer Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny teamed with the Entomology Research Center at Wageningen University for a rather unusual experiment.  The designer constructed a "vase-shaped" hive from wax sheets, and allowed 40,000 bees to colonize it and build a honeycomb around it.  The resulting honeycomb vase wound up in the MoMA collection in 2007.

Now, Libertiny has improved on the original, adding color to the mix.  He adds a red wax dye to the hive before the bees begin building, and the resulting honeycomb vase emerges in a bright, vivid red.  Since each vase takes a full week and the efforts of 40,000 bees to produce, no doubt they don't come cheap – and preserving the finished product requires temperature control and special maintenance.  Each vase comes with a numbered certificate from the artist – and is hopefully free of stowaway "workers" so the lucky owner doesn't get stung.  At least by anything more than the price tag…
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