Ava Roth is a Toronto-based encaustic painter, embroiderer and mixed-media artist. She has spent the past several years working almost exclusively with beeswax with a holistic approach in concept, technique and medium.

She is guided and inspired by organic and local materials such as Canadian beeswax, reclaimed Ontario barn wood, birch bark, horsehair and landscape photography.

The concept of an inter-species art collaboration between humans and bees is fascinating.
How did you first start working with bees?

This collaboration began about 3 years ago, as a natural outgrowth of working with beeswax as an encaustic painter. Being immersed in beeswax led me to learn more about bees themselves, and a natural feedback loop soon started – the more I learned about bees the more that knowledge informed my work, which in turn led to more learning about bees. I soon found myself with an apiary in my backyard! The leap from taking wax out of the hive to use in my studio to just putting my work directly into the hive was almost inevitable at that point.

What a day at work looks like?

Bees are solar insects, and in Ontario, spend the dark winter months trying to stay warm inside their hives and not producing any comb. Because of the nature of our collaboration, their seasonal cycles dictate my work schedule. This means that I spend the vast majority of winter days in my studio, bent over an embroidery hoop or a wood panel, preparing pieces for the bees to contribute to in the warmer weather. Then, in the sunny months of summer, I spend as much time as possible in apiaries, sneaking peeks at bees and art!

What is your dream project

My dream project is a large-scale installation of honeycomb and embroidery. I’m not sure what, precisely, it would look like, but it would definitely involve transforming an entire room into a luminous golden den of comb and stitches. I’d love to create a visceral example of a place where humans and nature collide in a beautiful and inspiring physical place.

A productivity tip

My biggest productivity tip is to not wait until inspiration hits to get work done. More than anything, making art requires countless hours of effort. Every day I try to quiet my mind and just do the work.
A small business people need to know about

Toronto has so many small independent businesses, and one of my favourites is The Workroom. The Workroom is a wonderful fabric and sewing supply shop, full of treasures big and small. They also have a variety of classes, as well as very knowledgable and friendly staff.

Where can we see
more of your work?



Ava Roth is represented by Wallspace Gallery, in Ottawa.
In addition to exhibiting in both solo and group shows, her work has been featured in a multitude of on-line and print magazines and her pieces have been acquired by private collectors throughout Canada and internationally.