BeeSpoke by Sophie

BeeSpoke by Sophie

I’m an artist and daughter of a beekeeper, so naturally, I started brightening up my family’s hives, turning each one into a work of art as well as a home to thousands of bees. What started as a bit of creative fun has recently led me to take the leap and set up ‘BeeSpoke By Sophie’, creating bespoke, hand painted hive boxes and other arty bee bits.

I always have a creative project on the go, and I've realised my favourites are those that add some beauty to a 'useful' object, something that is on display by nature, and might as well be a blank canvas for something special. This includes the painted flowers that now climb up the garden decking, the patterned storage boxes round the house, and of course, the wildflower meadow on mum's hive box.

Not only did this help differentiate between her two hives (I was soon hearing reports on the bees in the 'des res'), but it also brought plenty of smiles. I like to think the bees enjoy their decorated new home too, and perhaps recognise the patterns as they're coming home.

Soon, the second hive was looking a little bare, so taking inspiration from a recent holiday in the Lake District, the Catbells Walk appeared on the brood box. I love the depth and textures you can create with oil paints, so had a lot of fun with this landscape, letting the path wind over the ridge, and remembering how the overlapping peaks disappeared as far as you could see.

This was a couple of years ago now, and hive painting took a backburner while university got in the way. That is, until I received a request to paint another hive for a special birthday present. With a little help from his family, I borrowed a couple of WBC lifts from the birthday beekeeper's shed, and set to work bringing a photo of his favourite holiday spot - Polzeath Beach - to life on the hive. It was recently unveiled, and they've already said how much they'll love looking out at this piece of the Cornish Coast on their patio.

This was my first commission, and it helped me realise that I can spread these smiles further - whether people are looking for a special gift for a beekeeper, want to add a personal touch to their own working apiary, or would like a statement piece in their bee-friendly garden.

I started tentatively exploring how I could set this up as a little business, dreaming up different designs, working out logistics, and getting in touch with hive suppliers. Suddenly, things started moving very quickly; I'd been invited to exhibit at the British Beekeeping Show, just 8 days away! It was a very busy week, launching the Etsy shop, painting two more boxes, and creating an online presence, but by the end of it, BeeSpoke By Sophie was up and running, and show-ready!

I had a lovely day at the show meeting everyone, and seeing some wonderful reactions to my work - above all, it was incredible to be able to bring some happiness to so many people.

If my work has brought a smile to your face too, you can take a look at more of my hive art on...

Instagram (, Facebook (BeeSpoke By Sophie), and Etsy (

You'll also find some hand painted cards there, all inspired by local wildlife, with more designs added regularly.

If you'd like to turn your hive into a work of art, get in touch by messaging, or emailing me at Be inspired by my previous artwork, or we can work together to develop your own design. I can provide new British Cedar Brood Boxes, or arrange a drop-off so I can add some artwork to your own hive box.

Sophie used one of our WBC hives to paint at the British Beekeeping Show earlier this year. The WBC hives are on sale now, you can get yours here.

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