On the occasion of The Italian Glass Weeks, Honey Garden, a sustainable project by artist Judi Harvest hosted in the Giorgio Giuman furnace in Murano, celebrates its (almost) 10 years with a picnic

A garden that intertwines - and safeguards - plants, bees, now even bats, and glass art. Between fragility and tenacity, protection, revitalization and the search for beauty.

This is the project undertaken at the beginning of 2013 in Murano, at the furnace of the master Giorgio Giuman, by American artist Judi Harvest and carried out over the years, cultivating flowers and passion, with strictly manual perseverance.

A special event is scheduled to celebrate the (almost) 10th anniversary of fruitful, creative and environmental collaboration: Honey Garden Picnic, a bucolic picnic in the beehive garden and the artistic glass that will be staged on 24 September, from 12 to 4pm, during the The Italian Glass Weeks, which this year unites Venice and Milan (read here).

The protection of bees, artistic glass and the ecosystem

During this glass celebating event, Judi Harvest presents a preview of Night and Day: Bats + Bees, a series of works centered on two endangered animals: bees and now bats, both essential for the balance of the ecosystem, operating in a complementary way and both in danger of extinction.

The exhibition, created with Silvia Sandini and Elvilino Zangrandi, is composed of sculptures and paintings in blown glass from Murano and exhibited from 17 to 25 September on the Sacca Serenella island at the Giorgio Giuman glass factory, where Judi Harvest has been working for 35 years.

The project is an evolution of her artistic career aimed at raising awareness on the interdependence between people and nature. This year's progran, enriched by a lecture, also invites visitors to create their own goto de fornasa to use for the picnic with the glass masters.

What is Honey Garden

Beneficial oasis, permanent art installation and habitat for bees that produces over 60 kilos of honey twice year, Honey Garden is the largest project undertaken to date by Judi Harvest.

Born in 2013, it extends over a plot of 250 sqm into the Giuman furnace. It took 6 loads of soil, 30 fruit trees and 500 flowering fragrant plants to create it, including lavender, jasmine, roses, sage, rosemary and wisteria, as well as four beehives of bees placed in the center. Over the years, this magical place has hosted many environmental and artistic projects, all focused on the revival of the Murano glass art, famous all over the world but not always adequately protected.

Who is Judi Harvest

The works inspired by bees and hives are made by Judi Harvest together with Murano glassmakers.

In this choral work - creative but tiring, poetic and at the same time tenacious - the goal of the artist is to support and give international visibility to the Giumanglassware  and to a glass art, often unregarded and in difficulty: in danger of extinction, just like bees. A commitment as virtuous as it is concrete that has been illustrated several times, even recently, by The New York Times.

The danger of extinction: for bees and artistic glass alike

“There is a connection between the disappearance of bees and the loss of importance of Murano glass production” explains the artist. “My project aims to bring the life of bees back to the garden to reproduce their contents in glass as a gesture of protest”.

Glass art as a testimony of natural survival

Representing the fragility of pollination, of seeds and the plant cycles in Murano glass manifests in a profound and emphatic way a conscious vision of the environmental condition.

The manual work of beekeeping undertaken with stubbornness by Judi Harvest leads to projects focused on hives and bees, in turn translated into works in glass, which, as transparent and fragile presences, become the material of representation of a process where art and handicrafts testify to the survival chances of natural ecosystems.

Beauty to help understand reality

“Thinking about the fragility of the seeds, I understood the vulnerability of the bee population. My subsequent glass works, paintings, drawings and videos were made to help understand this reality explains the American artist.

Does art have a purpose beyond aesthetics? Judi Harvest thinks so” says Barbara Rose, art historian. She wants her art not only to be beautiful but to do nothing less than change the world, or at least our perception of it. Her main preoccupation is how humans interact with nature, now challenging the survival of the human race.

Her research first into how bees are responsible for pollinating plants and flowers and now how bats help us live, inspire her art. Thus, her current Murano glass and encaustic artworks which involves both species, has an ecological as well as an aesthetic meaning. She uses beauty to focus our attention on the danger of extinction that face both flying species.