The Bees Showed Her What All the Buzz Was About

Lots of folks claim they felt “called” to move to Asheville. For Beatriz “Bea” Lothrop, the reasons were vague, but the impulse was urgent. Raised in Mexico, she had a 21-year advertising career in New York City, and then, one morning, at her home in the Hamptons, she simply woke up with the distinct feeling that she needed to relocate again. “I said it out loud: ‘I’m willing to move, but you better tell me where, because I have no idea where I want to go,’” Lothrop recalls. “And out came the word: ‘Asheville.’”

Although Lothrop had never visited the area before and had only heard of it in passing, she followed her intuition. She now occupies a 1200-square-foot cottage on an acre in Weaverville. At Bees’ Crossing Studio, she practices the traditional crafts of seed-bead jewelry, quilting, and rug hooking. She also keeps bees. Lots of them. “I’ve never been happier in my entire life than in the four years I’ve been here,” she says.

Photo by Paul Stebner.

Formerly a chicken farm, the property has been transformed by Lothrop’s diligent work in service of her bees, whom she fondly refers to as “the girls.” With the help of local farmers, she tilled the grass in the front yard and replanted the entire space with cover crops and pollinator plants.

For the cottage itself, Lothrop has made changes to bring more light into the space, which she finds critical for seeing fine details while beading or quilting. Glass doors illuminate the interior, while a wraparound deck provides an outdoor area for working while the sun shines.

But one of Lothrop’s favorite touches to the studio is inside, where a vibrant depiction of a bee on a rich gold background — by local artist Matthew Willey — adorns the den wall. Even when the sun goes down, she explains, “the bees keep me company while I do my beading.”

Bea Lothrop Artistry, Weaverville. For details, call 828-484-8958 or visit bealothropartistry.com.

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