Emma Bell

The Hives of Lepi Spomini

‘The Hives of Lepi Spomini’ is a culture specific series of wearable art works developed and produced as part of Emma’s position as artist in residence with the Guestroom Maribor programme in partnership with Pekarna Magdalenske Mreže Cultural Centre and European Capital of Culture 2012.

The concept of the works was to understand and integrate elements of Slovenia’s cultural identity, heritage and craft industries whilst combining influences taken from the city of Maribor’s visual aesthetic and folk art background intertwined with a personal documentation of experiences and thoughts provoked through living and working in Slovenia.

‘Lepi Spomini’ is a Slovene word that translates as ‘nice memories’ and the project presents a selection of encounters, ideas and first hand experiences taken from documentation through journals, visual motifs and photographs which are then represented in the works. The pieces draw upon the region’s beekeeping background engaging the idea that the ‘hives’ each contain a different entity or home and observing the concept of depicting without words as reflected through the folk art, painted hive panels.

Another core theme within the works is the traditional craft of using Gingerbread Hearts/ ‘Lectar’ as a method of sharing sentiments, memories or messages. This concept was used by recreating the typical aesthetic of the hearts and presenting them as a platform to express ideas and experiences collected in Maribor. Features within the city including the daily, changing tones and light of the River Drava and the region’s architecture were used as the influence behind defining the colour palette for the works. Techniques incorporated established, traditional methods including ‘kvačkanje’ ,or crochet, weaving, embroidery and appliqué alongside a contemporary approach and materials including upcycled medium, cotton, jersey, yarn, acrylic fibres, plastic and hand dyed fabrics.

Utilisation of the city’s resources and creative industries were an integral part of the project through initiating collaborations with local artists and the idea of physically engaging and interacting with the space and the city’s ethos. Selected pieces are created using locally produced materials from Maribor’s industrial textile area and one garment was generated by transforming the archways of the 16th century gallery into a board loom to weave and create within the surrounding space.

The collection of garments was accompanied by a collaboration with Maribor based photographer, Iris Aman Cara, and local creative team with the purpose of injecting the artistic vision of people who are living and working within the city into ‘The Hives of Lepi Spomini’. The works and photographic documentation were presented as part of an exhibition titled ‘Call Me Human Torch’ hosted at KOROŠKI 18 Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia  May 28th- June 1st 2012.

The project was further developed post residency using the concepts and active research conducted in Maribor. Additional elements of the project include  the production of graphic artwork design that was digitally printed onto textiles in the UK alongside the creation of additional garments and a final photographic collaboration with Tokyo/Paris based photographer, Yuji Watanabe, and a London based creative team.

Image Credits:

UK Collaboration:

Clothing Design: Emma Bell/ Photographer: Yuji Watanabe/ Make Up Artist: Sophie Cottam/ Hair Stylist: Marion Lemarchand/ Styling: Daisy Davidson/ Model: Olga B @ Leni’s Model Management.

SLOVENIA Collaboration:

Clothing Design: Emma Bell/ Photographer: Iris Aman Cara/ Make Up Artist: Mateja  Skočir/ Hair Stylist: Luis Roldan/ Models: Urška Lipovž & Tanja Popovič.