During our open day on Saturday, carver David Bignell delivered this carving of a skep, our dividers and some bees. This will perch upon our company’s sign in the window of our Covington storefront (the sign was also carved by David).
We have several of these emblems that we can swap out depending on our mood.
One reader pointed out that the skep or beehive is a symbol of capitalism and accumulated wealth. And that maybe it’s a poor choice of symbol for our company. I have two thoughts on that.
- Early mechanical societies used the skep and bees as a symbol of their membership. Busy bees. Worker bees.
- If it is a symbol of accumulated wealth, then the symbol is broken – it’s not working for us. Please open a ticket with the Capitalism Help Desk.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Thanks to David for the gorgeous dingbat. We love it. If you have carving needs for your business, please consider contacting him. He has done some fantastic trade signs.
33 thoughts on “The Worker Bees”
Your symbol means whatever it wants to mean – including perhaps a lovely motif for anarcho-syndicalism.
Some people find negativism in everything … perhaps they are looking in the wrong place.
Nice carving…I like the skep, dividers, and busy bees as a symbol of Lost Art Press’ hive of knowledge, tools, industry, and community of woodworkers.
Perhaps monetary wealth is not the accumulated wealth, but experience, wisdom or something less tangible.
The well-earned trust & respect of one’s customers perhaps.
Every time I see your hive, I think of the Mandeville’s “Fable of the Bees” which I read in graduate school. Your reader was on to something but obviously the hive has come to mean many things throughout history. The metaphor belongs to you just as much as it belonged to Mandeville. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fable_of_the_Bees
Absolutely nothing wrong with it being a symbol of capitalism. Capitalism is not evil. As for your #2 thought – you have accumulated unimaginable “worth” (the word you used in your thought) – the blog is worth more than I can describe. As for “wealth”, there are all kinds of “wealth”. You have survived through some very rough times indeed and that’s wealthy; you are running the business the way you want which, I gather, is one reason why you left others and started your own. That’s wealth. You are supporting your families. That’s wealth. You are providing good information and instruction to countless people who are hungry for those. That’s wealth.
Hear hear. Well put, sir
My comment: what Gregg said. Very nice carving!
Lots of symbols have been co-opted by other groups. Capitalism, by its very nature, tries to co-opt everything.
The skeptical has always meant work and industriousness. It’s perfect for LAP.
As for item 2, It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
I suppose the capitalist comment might have some meaning if spoken by a Tibetan Monk.
Bees also spread pollen so flowers and plants can grow and thrive.
LAP with their books and blog is likely closer to that aspect of bees and their hive. (I read the blog when I was broke and couldn’t afford the books).
The fact that the book sales also bring in honey for the bees is just the benefit on the other side of the equation.
My first thought and smile was of your daughter’s venture…
“Accumulated wealth” is no sin. It shows a restraint to immediately squander or distribute the gains of one’s enterprise, a wisdom to use that wealth as one sees fit. After all, you earned it.
The risk to start LAP was yours. The rewards should be yours too.
There is hardly a more pure example of a capitalist than a woodworker. Starting with no money, tools, or know-how, the woodworker sits at the feet of teachers (maybe on YouTube), learning the craft. By any kind of industriousness (or through the saving of birthday money) the woodworker acquires a tool or two, the initial capital of the venture. At a point, the woodworker changes from a consumer to a producer. Acquires more know-how and tools. Finds a market for the woodworks. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Maybe ends up with much capital (tools, building), much know-how, and sometimes a little profit. I can’t begrudge this industrious person her honestly acquired shekels. In THIS ideal of capitalism, count me in, and I hope you’ll all join me.
(It’s also nice to see “dingbat” used properly, but hardly surprising when the author is a publisher.)
What is the meaning of “dingbat” in the USA?
Here in the Antipodes it has the following informal meaning:
delusions or feelings of unease, particularly those induced by delirium tremens.
To a printer, at least, a dingbat is “an ornament or glyph, often used to create box frames or as a dinkus” (a dinkus being a section divider). I don’t know whether the technical or slang usages came first in either case; someone could check an unabridged if they care.
People are funny. This post is in no way a criticism or praise for an economic system. It is merely a funny (to me) observation. If this is the symbol of accumulated wealth, then it’s not functioning because we struggle to make ends meet every month in this house.
That is it.
No matter what you do, people interpret it in terms of their own experience, assumptions, and priorities. I’d argue that if you ever write something which doesn’t make at least one person grumble, you’re doing something wrong. Especially with a wide audience.
Still indecisive about the subscription stream. It’s over the price point for an impulse buy. Though I if you have a Patreon or Ko-fi account I should think about tossing a few bucks in that direction, and your writings have certainly caused me to buy LAP/Crucible products from time to time
The post itself isn’t a comment on an economic system. It’s not being interpreted that way. But the post mentions OTHER people making an economic statement. Their statement is being commented upon.
Sorry if it offends your reader, but i think it is a marvelous symbol for your business.
I always thought bees were socialists.
Yes, my thought also, what they accumulate is used by all members, like the Shakers. Also, the Skep and Bees always represented a group busy at their work, like the bees in their hive, working from dawn to dusk…
I have always understood bees as a communal society who selflessly work for each others good. This, in my opinion, is the antithesis of capitalism.
How could bees be the symbol of capitalism as capitalism is what kills bees and bees are keeping us alive ?
Um, What?? As a beekeeper, I’d say you may be misunderstanding the whole bee thing.
Good, good, good!
Skeps were used way before capitalism was even thought of, and used in many good ways. Personaly, as a former beetender, I believe a skep shows interest and honor in organic living, pollination, and sustinance from the lowly honeybee. Originally, skeps were dismantled to remove the honey, wax, pollen, propolis, etc. as bars were incorporated in the inside when created to assist bees propagation creating combs and a place for life. Skeps also represent future thinking in that our survival depends on keeping bees healthy and happy! I have no problem with your using that great carving by David Bignel. To me skeps represent life and living and have none of the political trappings that people shove on them to suit thier own purposes. You know, the swastika had honorable meanings before being misused by the nazis.
What does the “Nothing Without Labour” under the skep on my sweatshirt mean? Was it originally about organized labor or work in general? A 2018-12-01 blog post says it’s a “1905 image from the billhead of Bittner, Hunsicker & Co.” from Allentown, PA, so that much I know. Is there anything more we know about the phrase’s history?
Not to my knowledge. Bittner made workwear, so I suspect it is straightforward.
I was going to comment that I liked the carving and that skeps represent industrious endeavor, but after reading other comments, meh!
Comments are closed.