Nothing gets the creative juices flowing more readily than the idea of 3D printing with food–and especially the sweet stuff. While we’ve reported on everything from 3D printed chocolate to 3D printed honeycombs, we’ve not yet reported on anyone 3D printing in pure honey, or taking such a unique and noble stand for the honey bee.
Artist Katrin Spranger wants to bring the issue of colony collapse disorder (CCD) worldwide to the forefront. While many of us know something’s up with bees that we should be worrying about, most don’t have time to focus on in-depth research. It’s pretty simple though, and it’s also an issue that’s cropped up numerous times in history, recorded over the last couple hundred years.
Crops are where the true worry lies, when inspecting the human agenda behind many reports. While we are certainly sorry to lose any of the industrious, fascinating bees, the bottom line is that when they disappear, it can affect agriculture substantially.
Spranger is a conceptual jewelry designer and artist who looked up Netherlands-based 3dChef, founded by the uber talented Julian Sing. The London artist had a show coming up at Collect Open 2015 and knew she wanted to find a way to mix striking aesthetics with some major food for thought. Sugary confections have been used in many different 3D delights, and Spranger wanted something that would stand out. Honey was the perfect medium all around.
Spranger uses the 3D printed liquid gold as an avenue to point out what a commodity honey itself is. Together, she and the 3dChef team were able to spin its sweet goodness into a showstopping piece of art, “The Future of Apis Melifera,” that depicts the precious metal amidst a gilt jewelry box.
“Armed with little more than [an] old school collage and a brief meeting, 3dChef set to work digitally designing this complex piece down to every last link, claw, and clasp,” Sing reported on his blog. “Designing the piece was only [half] the story. The other was making the parts print out in this untried material, honey. Before too long we nailed it and the results even amazed us. The detail, the crispness and strength were perfect.”
With CCD, bees are disappearing for unknown reasons throughout many locations in the world. Researchers and many others speculate that the causes are due to pesticides killing them off, which certainly sounds logical. Others theorize that we are losing our precious bees because of reasons like parasites, malnutrition, changing methods in beekeeping, habitat stress, and on and on. The fact is that many countries are losing their bees, and the US has seen significant losses as well, which were reported heavily in the last decade, but seems to have tapered off recently, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA stresses how important it is that pesticides, when used, are always administered correctly, and that along with many other aspects and concerns, that bees are considered as well. Because their lack of presence means lack of pollination to crops, they can seriously affect an economy.
Spranger certainly made a statement for the bees, with size, talent, and taste. The artwork, said to be the largest 3D printed edible known (by 3dChef), was shown off to incredulous viewers at the Saatchi Gallery in London, who were truly shocked and delighted at the end of the exhibit when the glass case was lifted off and those in attendance were allowed to take pieces of the 3D printed honey to taste. One hopes that with each delectable bite they were considering the plight of our precious honey bee.
Discuss your thoughts on the way Spranger used 3D printed art–and edible materials–to shed light on an important cause. Have you tried any 3D printed food or sweets? Share with us in the 3D Printed Honey Artwork forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
[Source: 3dChef] [All images: Theo Cohen]