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  • shaninottingham

A Hive Mentality

Since December 2023, I have had an installation of my work in Tasmania, at a wonderful place in Ulverstone, called THE HIVE.

I was the inaugural residential artist for them, doing the Summer/Autumn program, so quite an honour.

To get the installations to Tasmania, in December 2023 my husband and I hired a van, loaded with well over a million breadtags, and drove many thousands of kilometres, as well as venturing over the seas on The Spirit of ferry. We did another trip down to Tasmania in January, to do my residency.

In a few days, we are heading down again, this time to bring the installation home, as well as hosting a workshop while there. So I have been reflecting on the entire experience quite a bit in the last few days, steadying myself for all the emotions that will accompany this trip. Sigh. I will be so incredibly sad that this will be the last part of this opportunity, because it has been tremendously inspiring and has brought with it many rewards.

Amongst these are the connections made with other people, other creatives, and having the chance of meeting people IRL for the first time who I have had supporting The Breadtag Project for many years. This was an unexpected joy, that made my eyes go leaky several times.

I also had the chance to talk both art and breadtags, which is something that I love to do, sharing the knowledge and the awareness which I have learnt over many years. This is a rare privilege, to have such a platform and every day spent there I was aware of how fortunate I really was.

However, it was something unexpected that really caught me.

It was the staff and the people who run The Hive, the community they have nurtured around it - the volunteers, the admin, the community members who are there in various groups, doing the workshops and exhibiting, and the many people and families who came through its doors while I was there that really impacted me.

I saw and experienced how a place like The Hive enriches the lives of an entire community, across ages and abilities, interests and experiences. How art, science, education and history meld to examine past narratives and create new ones.

It is truly a place for the many, and a space that all those connected should be extremely proud of. I have grown very fond of this place.

Walking out the doors of the Hive in a week or so, for the last time, will be emotional. Because as well as the sadness is of course the contentment of that feeling of achievement, pride, and sense that all the hard work is worthwhile.

Now to use these experiences and emotions, to harness them and maintain the momentum, lessons learned, keep those connections and networks, remember all the positives and learn from things I could have done better or wisdoms shown and shared with me.

( With gratitude and thanks to all at The Hive, and in particular Jessie Pangas. I also wish to extend my thoughts to all of the Hive community who have been through a recent devastating loss. My thoughts have been with you all, and I share some of this pain. )

Specimans being prepped to go on display

Created at one of the kid's workshops I ran

Part of the Install in background, with avctivity table set up in foreground

Tag art colouring in

Brilliant kids art, created at one of the workshops

Tag houses, created at one of the workshops

Potato tag specimens, ready to go on display

Part of the install

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