As far back as the mid-18th Century, Slovenian beekeepers began the unique and beautiful tradition of painting their hive fronts. These wooden paneled paintings were attached to the front of each hive, giving the beekeepers and the bees a way to distinguish one hive from another. The paintings depicted biblical scenes, folk tales, and traditions of the time. Many paintings contain caricatures and satirical motifs as well.
There are more than 600 motifs known, dating as far back as 1758, you can find many of the originals in museums or as replicas available for purchase. I found the history of this tradition so charming that I set out to find some of these historical panels to use on my own beehouse. It took a while, but I was finally able to source six beautiful replicas straight out of Slovenia, and they came in the mail this week! I plan to use the traditional hive fronts in combination with my own designs to create what I hope will be a stunning modern twist on this unique, age-old tradition.
Luckily we’ve had two straight days of pure sunshine in Snoqualmie that have allowed us to work on our new beehouse and prep it for our exterior embellishments. I’m looking forward to sharing our progress soon, and I can wait to get these beauties on our hives!