“The whole pattern of nature is of cycles within cycles within cycles.” Medawar & Medawar 1983

Marlene Huissoud - Rhythm, Of Insects & Men

Rhythm in the physical world is everywhere present in some form or other. It is one of the most basic pattern in nature. No matter where you look in nature, rhythms are to be found. They involve all levels of the hierarchy of organic life. The natural world in which we live works on the basis of cycles. Cycles of Cycles. Cycles of self-sufficiency. Cycles of making and producing. Cycles of interactions. An abstract presence of two entities that are balancing in our way of behaving with an object. The rhythm of natural and artificial.

The rhythm is an abstract presence of two.

We always have been balanced between our natural instinct of building, making, expending what is around us depending on our resources. Back in the 4000 BC men used obsidian formed within the mouth of volcano as a result of an intense heat of an eruption melting sand, in 1500 BC, the first hollow glass container was made by covering a sand core with a layer of molten glass. Glass manufacturing techniques appeared later in 500 AD. Today what is our reaction to the natural and industrial? Can they co-exist and co-work in harmony?

Coming from a family of beekeepers, I am interested in the viability of utilising insects and their waste streams to create future craft artefacts. Of Insects & Men is particularly interested to challenge common industrial waste materials such as glass and to combine them with similar natural materials developed with the project From Insects, for example the honeybee bio resin.

We have been experimenting with a lot of traditional glass techniques with the honeybee bio resin: glass blowing, venetian techniques, engraving techniques... We don’t see those insect materials as materials of substitution because they give new properties to the materials that already exist. We see them as a way to challenge our way of making as the mini insect world is extraordinarily rich and has infinite potential to build a better future. The honeybee bio resin has revealed other properties that gave it unique and unexpected characteristics (eg colours, texture, facility to manipulate engraved glass).

The industrial look and feel of the honeybee bio resin push us to questions what is a natural material and what can be its relation to industrial waste materials. For the Edition #2 of the project From Insects we have been collecting discarded glass pieces from different companies in London. The project is a celebration of those two discarded materials that have similarities but various properties. The honeybee bio resin is used to bind the glass pieces together in those sculptural alien look pieces. It is questioning and underlining the way of how we use materials nowadays and in the future. It is as well questioning how two waste materials, natural and industrial can complement each other perfectly, giving us an up-cycling approach as it’s crucial to re-orientate ourselves to the natural world and find new ways of generating cycles in our making process. 

The honeybee bio resin and the glass pieces are very ambiguous, as they have a similar aesthetic but a different provenance. Of Insects & Men question us what is natural and what it is not, what is fake or real, testing our knowledges of materiality, a visual perception of materials and a textural vibrance.

Of Insects & Men tells the greater discarded beauties that surround us and celebrate the cycles of material interactions, a rhythm in the process of making where industrial meets natural.


Marlene Huissoud - Rhythm, Of Insects & Men / Image by Ronald Smith