Do the Little Things is a major cross border public art commission by Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams, designed for two locations: Ferns, Wexford and St David’s, Pembrokeshire Wales.
It is commissioned by Ancient Connections, an EU funded cross border arts, heritage, and tourism project. Bedwyr Williams’ distinctive proposal was selected from a shortlist and has been realised with the support of Contemporary Art Society Consultancy. Do the Little Things connects the two communities of Ferns and St David’s through the practice of beekeeping, reflecting the medieval story of St David and his friendship with St Aidan, who brought bees back to Ireland from Wales.
Bedwyr says: "It is documented that one of Aidan's special duties as a young Monk was to look after the beehives in David's monastery. Such was the importance of honey production in the lives of the monks at St. David’s that story of Aidan and the bees: a tale of two communities connected by Aidan’s travels grew from it, echoing contemporary concerns of biodiversity and sustainable living.
“I’m interested in objects that invite communities to become active participants to make the artwork whole. St David’s last words were “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things.” This ethos has guided the development of my proposal, which is founded on the story of St David and St Aidan and steeped in the magic and history of these two intertwined locations.”
"My sculpture for both locations have taken the form of six oversized ‘skeps.’ Before the Victorian era, bees throughout Britain and Ireland were kept in straw skeps; upturned straw baskets under which bees form their honeycomb. Each skep sculpture is entirely hand constructed by specialist fabricators in natural cedarwood. The sculptures are at once familiar, yet slightly uncanny and unique as artworks. Their common form seeks to bind two communities through their shared history and create catalysts for dialogue, exchange and education for the contemporary communities of Ferns and St. David’s."
"Three skep sculptures are located at St. Edan’s and St. David’s Cathedrals, which provides the perfect twinned settings for the hives. Community beekeeping groups in each location are established and equipped to nurture and tend resident bee colonies throughout the year. The honey produced at Ferns and St. David’s will have subtle differences in taste and colour, influenced by local flowers and fauna, presenting the opportunity to establish a ‘new tradition’ - an exchange of Mel and Mil.”
Bedwyr Williams is an internationally regarded artist who lives and works in Wales. Williams’ work often focuses on the stories of ordinary people and the intersections between their lived experiences and ancient mythologies. The artist is concerned with creating spaces for meaningful connections between communities and art and making.
Ancient Connections is led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme.
For more information please visit www.ancientconnections.org.