Location: Mt. Vernon, OH
Describe your featured work:
The apiary provides me with inspiration for work in the area of social design. Honeybees, by their very nature are social insects. Throughout their lives, worker bees perform various roles for the benefit for the whole hive. For the first two days or their lives, worker bees clean debris from the hive before they move through a series of increasingly harder tasks. During the Spring of 2019, I created a series of perimeters for a performance piece that took place in Mount Vernon, OH. From Ash Wednesday to Earth Day, I worked with my husband to remove litter and plastic debris from the street gutters between our house and the Art department where we work. The performance culminated in the removal of 47 bags of trash.
When I was ten years old, a family friend installed beehives in our backyard. The day the bees arrived I was stung behind my left ear. Unrelated to that event, I had my left eardrum replaced a month later. My work with honeybees has always been associated with hearing.
My artwork connects human sensory experience (sound and sight) with current ecological issues. My studio practice is split between co-creating with the bees and exploring the impact of their work on the world.
I frequently work with the natural byproducts of the bees: wax, pollen, and the plants they pollinate. I see these materials as nature’s literary text and the structural fabric undergirding creation. I intentionally juxtapose organic materials with digital technology as a nod to our ever-changing and ever-evolving world.
What are you making now?
Last year, I established an apiary at Open Wabi Artist Residency in Fredericktown, Ohio. The apiary exists in partnership with the residency and provides educational opportunities for Knox County Ohio and the visiting residents. My work with bees has informed my work as a textile artist. I see honeybees as nature’s greatest textile workers. During the summer, honeybees live for approximately 6 weeks and spend about 3 weeks fabricating honeycomb. Legendary Ohio Beekeeper Amos Root (1839-1923) likened the production of honeycomb to sewing clothing. He described each activity as requiring “an economy of labor” and an efficient use of materials. In the last year, I have been researching the ecological impact of fast fashion. In Central Ohio, the slow fashion movement is quickly gaining traction as people are increasingly motivated to buy local and sustainable products. The work I am doing now is in response to fast fashion.
I belong to CIVA because…
I joined CIVA in 2007. During the last 13 years I have worn many different “artist hats” including: professional artist, academic artist, leader of an arts ministry and gallery director. Each of those roles, while similar, have had their own unique set of challenges. CIVA as an organization has offered me a network of professional colleagues that are both creative and supportive in whatever role I am currently playing. Unlike other academic art organizations, CIVA allows for the Christian perspective to infuse the vocational responsibilities of the studio.
Laura Tabbut is based in central Ohio and works in installation, new media, textiles. Her work considers current ecological issues and questions the rituals and routines of the American landscape. She holds undergraduate degrees in Fashion Design and Sculpture, and MA in English from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, and an MFA in Visual Art from Azusa Pacific University. She currently teaches at Mount Vernon Nazarene University and serves as the Gallery Administrator for the Schnormeier Gallery.