Words by Jessica Hagemann and Sommer Brugal Photos by Eric Morales
It all started when jewelry artist Anna Gieselman read an article about colony collapse disorder: the phenomenon currently decimating western Honey Bee populations. Disheartened but inspired, she took a beekeeping workshop at Round Rock Honey, where she learned how to start and maintain an apiary (or beehive). After then taking a Lost Wax Casting class at South Austin’s Creative Side Jewelry Academy, she combined her two new loves and started casting metal jewelry from actual honeycomb cells.
The end result was a line of perfectly-imperfect hexagonal clusters, made chiefly of bronze or sterling silver, that Anna could transform into earrings, necklaces, cuffs, pendants, and more. She named the company Bee Amour and describes its mission as part environmental activism, part eye-catching design. “The jewelry is beautiful, but it also has a message,” says Anna. “My hope is that it leads people to feel connected to honey bees and inspired to make choices that help them, such as planting more flowers and not using pesticides.”
In 2015, Anna partnered with Austin’s Milk & Honey Spa to create an urban apiary for the sole purpose of raising healthy bees and teaching the craft of beekeeping to spa employees. The apprentices learn to care for bees and their hives, and in exchange, Milk & Honey sells the honey harvested by Anna and her team. Presently, Anna maintains 15 rooftop and backyard hives around Austin.
When she’s not protecting pollinators or casting their combs, Anna volunteers with the Chula League, which pairs elementary school students with practicing artists. “It’s so rewarding,” she says, to see kids sawing and soldering metal, and learning “what it takes and what you have to do to be an artist.”
To find Anna’s jewelry and support her efforts to save the bees, shop her unique pieces online or in-person on the East Austin Studio Tour, or locally at Parts & Labour and the Blanton Museum gift shop. On December 2, she will also be hosting her first solo art show, featuring an installation of cast bronze bees swarming the walls of Cloud Tree Gallery. | 3411 E 5th Street