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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 March 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 MARCH 2015 23 BUSINESS Bee sustainable art Marina Nicolouleas presents a jewellery collection made of dead bees, gold and resin to raise awareness of the global epidemic of collapsing bee colonies NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Marina Nicolouleas is a 28-year-old Melbourne-based scientist with a passion for art and an artist with a passion for science. Marina has created an original handcrafted jewellery collection inspired by an era of collapsing bee colonies. She is entirely selftaught and has managed to mix her love for biodiversity and everyday life with her amazing crafting talent and eye for fashion. For her Queen Bee collection, she chose to go by the name Marzrian and answers my first question with an Albert Einstein quote. "If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live." "A third of the food served on our plates we owe to the bees," she tells Neos Kosmos. "If you haven't heard, bees are suffering from colony collapse disorder (CCD)." According to scientific sur- veys, if bees become extinct, there will be no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals and no more man. "There have been huge losses from 50-90 per cent of colonies in beekeeping operations across the United States as well as Europe and now New Zealand," she stresses. "Bees are not just some stinging bastards - they play a significant role in the preservation of all forms of life on this planet." Marina began hand crafting pieces for her friends and family while she was still at school. After she completed her degree in science and biology, she became even more inspired by Earth's incredible beauty, which is also why she is so passionate about conserving nature's balance with her work. "I've been artistic from a very young age, always painted and made things myself from pottery to candles, soap even," she explains. "I love learning how to make new things and for about a year now I've been focusing on making unique and sustainable jewellery." Marina has also previously worked as a marine ranger. Her day consisted of conducting tour activities, from rockpool rambles to snorkelling in marine parks and sanctuaries to educate people about protecting the diverse range of species in our local marine environments. "My previous collection was influenced by the sea and I have also created many statement pieces drawing inspiration from everyday jobs and the people around me," she adds. "It seems that I like to integrate what I am doing at the time into my work." The scientist turned artist has managed to live off her artistic side and stay true to her values, in spite of the many difficulties she came across. "My jewellery is made from resin and some types are really toxic and difficult to handle," she says. "After a lot of experimentation I have found which type guarantees the result I aim to have. "After collecting the dead bees from the hives I keep in my backyard, I have to sand, drill and glue my creations, not to mention wait for them to cure, which might take up to a week," she continues. Marina tries to make ten pieces at a time and already has several copies of every design that was released on 20 March. She has chosen to add an extra high-end twist to her collection by enclosing gold leaves in the resin, drawing inspiration from the days when honey was referred to as 'liquid gold'. "As I go along I enrich my collection with more ideas. I recently started making brooches, cuff-links and tie pins since a lot of men like my jewellery, and even make custom-made accessories," she continues. "I hope that my collection will not only be endorsed as a design statement but as an effort to educate the people who are afraid of bees or are simply ignorant of their great contribution to the environment." To Marina, the bees are her friends as they also helped her cure the heavy symptoms of her ongoing hayfever. "My family had bee n r f A beautiful image from Marina’s Queen Bee Lookbook. hives when I was little and when I was married, my dad offered a hive for our garden. My husband was reluctant at first but he is even more into it now," she admits. "I used to suffer from a very intense type of hayfever for more than ten years until I started having a teaspoon of our seasonal honey every day. "It has cured me, as I get no symptoms, but when I stop or when seasons change it starts again. Each season's honey from your area can work as a natural antihistamine," Marina adds. first to it Marina and her husband own two hives that host 30,000 bees, yet they have A stunning Marzrian neckpiece. never been stung b a bee.er been stung by a bee "They are some pretty amazing little guys and harmless," she insists. "Bees sit on you to rest. They get scared with abrupt or violent movement and will only sting you if you threaten them. "If you blow them away or softly brush them away they will just fly off peacefully." Scientists are trying to raise awareness regarding the demise of bees for years. Australia's honeybees are currently healthy, however, it only takes one bee carrying one Varroa mite to land on a boat that docks on Australian shores for a colony to be infected. Seven species of Australian bees have no resistance to this mite, which is devastating bee colonies around the globe. "The world as we know it partly exists because of the bees' good work." For more information about Marzrian and a sneak peek into the Queen Bee collection, visit www.marzrian.com.au/ queenbee only takes one bee Greece’s minimum wage to rise No worker will get less than 654 euros per month ROULA SALOUROU The first part of a government plan to increase the minimum salary is expected to be implemented in October, taking the level up to 654 euros per month for all private sector workers. The government's election pledge to raise the minimum monthly salary to 751 euros will not be fulfilled before the second half of 2016. The Labour Ministry is cur- rently planning for two regulations, which will bring the salaries paid to young workers up to the same level as those received by older workers, as well as the minimum salary of menial workers to that of office employees. That way, if parliament clears both measures, no worker should get less than 654 euros per month. These interventions are ex- pected to be finalised by the end of the week. Currently the minimum salary of under-25s stands at 510 euros, which is seen growing to 586 before climbing to 654 euros - the current minimum salary of menial workers. Currently, under-25s receive a minimum of 510 euros a month.
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