Kingdom of the Bees
Tucked away in a garage in northwest Calgary, one may stumble across a unique enterprise known as the Bee Kingdom. This bustling glass-blowing studio belongs to four talented ACAD graduates: Ryan Marsh Fairweather, Tim Belliveau, Phillip Bandura and Kai Scholeﬁeld.
The four received their Bachelor of Fine Arts in glass from ACAD (currently the only school that offers these credentials) in 2005, and were motivated to turn their passion into a career. With a lot of dedication and commitment, the collective has gone on to showcase their artwork in countries such as South Korea, Germany, Greece, Turkey, and the U.S.
When Bee Kingdom was in its beginning stages, the bees learned business fundamentals using a “trial by ﬁre” method along with help from great mentors and contacts.
Bee Kingdom’s newest member, Sholefield, says that they are part of the do-it-yourself movement.
“In today’s world…you have to be your own marketing engine—you have to be your own business,” he said.
Scholefield believes that knowing how to operate all aspects of a business is a by-product of the changing art industry.
The artists have been successful in selling their pieces in galleries around the world, as well as in contracting private commissions upon request.
They have also expanded their target market to the corporate world by hosting team building events, such as An Evening with Hot Glass, an event where the bees entertain a group of 10 to 15 people by demonstrating the glass blowing process, giving the ﬁnished piece away to one lucky guest.
Additionally, the Bee Kingdom offers two-hour public glass blowing classes which are tailored to different skill levels. More information on the classes can be found at www.beekingdom.ca.
From Oct. 12 – Nov. 3, the Ruberto-Ostberg Gallery (2108 – 18 St NW) features Bee Kingdom’s toy culture inspired exhibit Supercute. Don’t miss the opening reception on Oct. 12, 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. and Oct. 13, 2 p.m. until 5 p.m.