Wild Margate is an experimental project which spans ecology, artistic production, food and interspecies collaboration. It brings together my experience as an artist, caterer, beekeeper and horticulturalist.
At its core the principles around Wild Margate is the inherent alchemy and symbiosis within the natural world and taking a collaborative approach to animal and plant husbandry. Early experiments included the fermentation of waste bread into alcohol and cidermaking from lost apples.
In the garden plants are tended through a democratic process of coexistence and harm to any species is kept to an absolute minimum. Soil structure and the organisms below ground are equally cherished.
Bees and honey form a large part of Wild Margate. I have been keeping bees on a small scale since 2008, I currently have four hives in the back garden of our house in Cliftonville and sell honey and other products from the hive locally.
I see my relationship with the bees as collaborative. My methods are a combination of natural beekeeping and what seems to me good animal husbandry. All my bees are standard beehives but I only run foundationless frames. this means all the wax is completely natural and the hives are, as far as possible natural. The bees decide their own cell size and the number of drone (male) bees. I don’t use Queen excluders so the queen is able to roam freely and I try to avoid any manipulation which favours the beekeeper over the bees. I always leave the bees sufficient honey to overwinter without feeding sugar.
Though this may mean more work for me, the colonies themselves seem to flourish. The wax is truly amazing.
Each hive produces around 500g of surplus wax in a season. to make use of this I started producion of beeswax food wraps. The food wraps are made with unbleached certified organic cotton, they are dyed with vegetable dyes from plants in the garden or grown locally. The patterns are made by creating colour resistant areas by selectively soaking them in molten wax.
Fermentation is a large part of the food output of Wild Margate, another collaboration with our single cell friends the lactobacilli and saccharomyces. A recent endeavor has been to plant a small number of Riesling vines to form a micro-winery. The Riesling grape is known for varying its flavour profile according to its soil so will be unique and to Cliftonville. The vines should bare fruit in 2025.
Another alchemical process is mead and mead vinegar. Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic ferments known to man. It is produced using only honey and water. The cultures in the honey provide the necessary yeast for fermentation and each brew Unique. Mead Vinegar is an amazing and rare vinegar, retaining the flavour of honey but with very little residual sweetness. Currently I am the only producer of mead vinegar in the UK.
Please contact me for more information, sales or collaboration with Wild Margate.