Creating a Buzz; Saving Bees


Posted 9 months ago

Small, Devon based accessories company, Will Bees Bespoke has teamed up with fabric designer, Emma Mawston, to raise awareness of the plight of the humble bumblebee.

Will Bees Bespoke is a small independent accessories company based in the beautiful Devon town of Salcombe.

Will Bees turned an old boatbuilding shed in Salcombe into an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful, unique and artisan-made accessories and homewares. The shed backs onto the beautiful Salcombe estuary where Will can throw open the back doors to the stunning countryside beyond, and let the outside in.

It was important to Will that his  products were made locally and sustainably, minimising carbon footprint and without negatively impacting the stunning countryside and wildlife around him.

Will met Emma Mawston, former head of fashion fabric design at Liberty London, at the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show.  Their shared passion in supporting the local wildlife, flora and fauna, and a passion for helping to save the bees, led to a wonderful collaboration.

Emma has designed 3 different fabrics for Will since 2016, but it is the most recent, Bee Tree design, that is creating a buzz.

In order to highlight the plight of the humble bumblebee and the importance of pollinator planting, Emma set about creating a design more like a collection of short stories, told within the fabric. Emma describes herself as a textiles novelist, where nature, wildlife and the stories of people who help to conserve our bee populations, are interwoven in to the fabric.

Emma created a ‘bee collective’ by choosing 25 prominent women bee-keepers, or ‘passionate and inspirational women bee saviours and conservationists’ all with an important message to convey – and all great lovers of bees. Each woman in the collective chose a flower loved by bees, to add to the fabric, and after months of design, and crafted like a work of art, the Bee Tree fabric design was borne.

As well as highlighting the plight of the Bumblebee, Emma’s fabric also promotes the importance of pollinator planting. Meadows are as bio-diverse as a rainforest and can support up to 96,000 bees in one day. Tree and meadow planting are an essential part of our eco-system, but sadly they’re dramatically declining.

Bee supporters and collaborators in the fabric design include Martha Kearney, Arit Anderson (of Gardeners World fame)  and Jilly Halliday who has set about creating a wildlife haven on the Isle of Tresco. She is the resident beekeeper there and like all the women in the collective, works tirelessly towards helping the wildlife thrive.

When you buy a bag or a cushion, you’re buying a beautiful product with a wonderful story threaded through it.

The fabric is used to create beautiful cushions, lampshades, bags, purses, home accessories and can even be bought by the meter for a statement piece of furniture. These are conservation-inspired products, but they are also just simply stunning items to own, use and enjoy.

Will Bee’s (Bee is his actual surname), Salcombe store is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful accessories and homewares. The products are central to the business. Yet when you buy a bag or a cushion you will receive a packet of bee-friendly flower seeds and a donation will be made to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and B4 charity.

Will’s on-line store is as eclectic as his Salcombe shop and worth a visit for truly stunning, unique and handmade gifts that can be personalised for free. As you enter the shop you’re greeted by Bumble, Will’s faithful dog, who is very much part of the bee team! Find gorgeous items for personal wish lists as well as Christmas gifts.