About The Vintage Bee Company & Patrice
I’ve always had a heightened sense of my surroundings and have loved nature for as long as I can remember. Living in the woods and close to Lake Michigan gives me a daily front-row seat to bees, dragonflies, butterflies, flowers, open sky, trees and an absolutely glorious body of water. I grew up in Michigan and lived in St. Louis, Missouri after college. It was there, as a young adult, that I really honed my artistic sense. I am the youngest of three children in a very “normal,” non-creative family. I was lucky, though, to have a mom who would buy me paint, paper and whatever art supplies caught my attention.
When I think about when I started creating, I think back to making a dollhouse out of shoeboxes and wallpapering with paper kitchen napkins. I was voted most artistic in high school and loved being seen as an artist. I was fascinated by creating miniature figures from clay and remember being paid as an instructor to teach adults how to create their own pieces. I was fourteen years old at the time and still recall their wonder at how well I saw and captured the smallest details. My own middle-aged eyesight now tells me that some of that just came from having young eyes!
It’s hard for me to think of a time when I was not creating or imagine my life without creating. My earliest memories are in school art class where others would ask me to draw or make them things. I feel happiest when I am in my studio creating. Creativity in my personal life creates balance and grounds me…I love getting lost in the process when time takes on that strange quality of being totally meaningless. That creative grounding spills over into everything I encounter in my home, garden and life.
My creative process begins with background and layers and builds from there. Armed with a collection of paper from trips to Europe, paint, images of birds, natural artifacts and old photos, I create each piece from the bottom to the top. The layers offer the depth and texture I want to achieve. I love watching pieces come alive and the way my eye knows when everything is just right and sees a piece as done.
“I love watching pieces come alive and the way my eye knows when everything is just right and sees a piece as done.
My biggest inspiration for my work is drawn from nature, transcending to items I sell under my Vintage Bee Company Brand—with the Napoleonic bee serving as an iconic image symbolizing strength and bravery. Spending time working in my greenhouse during Michigan’s winter—watching plants stay green and flower during an icy winter feels like I’m both defying and celebrating the wonders of nature. And, having creative space around me in my home is as nurturing to my creative soul as plants in a greenhouse–ideas just pop into my head all of the time!
My favorite item is a 1932 loving cup trophy for state playground ball champs that I use to hold large bushes in my studio. I collect trophies and this is the biggest one I own. The tones of worn metal and details on the rim make me happy to see in my studio every day. Plus, I love the idea of being the playground champions—we won recess!