The Buzz of the Pine Cone Honey Bee

Ok, this goes way back to the 90s’.

When I cut the dead cherry tree to make ‘Mountain Man with Raven’ for a tall chimney wall in Linville, NC, I stashed the hollow trunk under my workshop and got busy cutting forked boards for the 50 plus pieces I had to spline and dowel together.

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I don’t remember which came first, the bee or the bear (there’s probably a parable that would help to clear that up for me,) but at some point, I dollied that tree trunk up to the studio and got out my chainsaw.

I’d been making several large, layered heat-colored steel engravings with wood elements—all with bear themes.

I must have had bears-on-the-mind, and the hollow trunk had a natural opening that suggested a very hungry bear. I happened to have a large cherry burl that looked a bit like a big honey comb.

I attached it to a gnarly branch and tried to figure out how to get it up into the air above the bear.

Cherry carving of black bear after honey from a bee nest.

That’s when the bee must have buzzed by.

I got out a length of 1/2″ square steel bar and forged, twisted and shaped it to make the path of the buzzing bee, right from the hive down to the stomach.


It was a bit of a balancing act, but with the steel firmly attached to the bear in several places, the 40 lb bee nest appeared to be hanging from a nearby branch.

Cherry carving of black bear after honey from a bee nest.
Cherry carving of black bear after honey from a bee nest.

I couldn’t say whether the bear ever got any honey.


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