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National Honey Show

Skep Making Workshop

Skep Making Workshop

Workshop Booking 2018 Closed

The Workshop Reception Desk will be open 30mins before each session at the National Honey Show and will be able to deal with all enquiries.

The National Honey Show holds a number of workshops to assist new or less experienced exhibitors in the art and skills of preparing some items for honey show classes and to help raise the general standard of exhibits as well as other beekeeping related topics.

Please be aware that only National Honey Show Members and those with a daily admission ticket can attend Lectures and book into workshops and or demonstrations.

We use TicketSource to manage the workshop bookings and PayPal as the payment processor. To complete the transaction there is no need to register with PayPal for paying by credit or debit cards.

Booking opens from 1st September 2018. All workshops include a £8.00 (£9.00 on the day) non–returnable booking fee. There is a small additional charge for some workshops to cover the cost of materials.

Workshop online booking ENDS one week before the workshop starts.

All workshops are scheduled for 2 ½ hours duration. Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the workshop.

e-Tickets are entirely electronic, sent by TicketSource as email attachments (PDF), you can print them out.

Start booking National Honey Show workshops on TicketSource from 1st September or use the individual workshop links below.

Before booking any workshops check the following

1. You have read the Workshop Synopsis?

2. You are a National Honey Show Member or are prepared to purchase a day ticket (needed to gain access to the building on the day).

3. Please book with care to avoid disappointment. Common mistakes to avoid are: "The workshop I booked clashed with a lecture" "I can't come to Thursday's workshop, can I change to Friday's?" "I didn't realise the workshop was for beginners"

Workshop Booking Enquiries

Workshop Booking Enquiries and FAQ.

Workshops and Booking *Direct Links

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(+) = Additional charge added to cover the cost of materials.

The workshop reception is located on the ground floor of the Eclipse Pavilion and will be open 30 minutes before the start of each session. When online booking closes and if there are still places you can pay and book at the workshop reception.

Changes to Workshop Schedule: Dan Basterfield workshop has moved from Saturday afternoon to Saturday morning and two additional workshops on Saturday, Identifying Pollen from Honey and Making Honey Beer at Home.

Thursday 25th October 14:30 - 17:00
1. Microscopy - Preparing Pollen Slides Alan Potter +£5 SOLD OUT
2. Pampering Potions Sara Robb +£5 SOLD OUT
3. Making Products from the Hive Iain Judge +£5 SOLD OUT
4. Photographing Bees and Other Insects Claire Waring CLOSED
5. Swarms and Swarm Control Phil McAnespie SOLD OUT

Friday 26th October 09:30 - 12:00
1. Microscopy - Preparing Slides of Honey Bee Parts Alan Potter +£5 SOLD OUT
2. Making Beeswax Flowers Liz Duffin +£5 CLOSED
3. Cooking with Honey Paul Vagg +£5 CLOSED
4. Candle Making Iain Judge +£5 SOLD OUT
5. BBKA General Husbandry Assessment Pam Hunter CLOSED
6. Demystifying Health and Safety and Risk Assessments Andy Pedley CANCELLED
7. Skep Making (all day) Chris Park +£15 SOLD OUT

Friday 26th October 14:30 - 17:00
1. Mead Making from Start to Drinking Ron Hunter SOLD OUT
2. Advanced Microscopy Marin Anastasov SOLD OUT
3. Pampering Potions Sara Robb +£5 SOLD OUT
4. Sustainable Planting for Honey Bees Sarah Wyndham Lewis SOLD OUT
5. Showing Honey John Goodwin CLOSED
6. Bee Disease and Pest Recognition Sandra Gray, NBU SOLD OUT

Saturday 27th October 09:00 - 11:30
1. Honey Tasting John Goodwin CLOSED
2. Identifying Pollen from Honey Dinah and John Sweet + £5 SOLD OUT
3. Cooking with Honey Paul Vagg +£5 CLOSED
4. BBKA Studying Beekeeping as a Group Activity Dan Basterfield CLOSED
5. Photographing Bees and Other Insects Claire Waring CLOSED
6. Food Safety and Marketing Legislation Andy Pedley CANCELLED
7. Skep Making (all day) Nick Mengham +£15 CLOSED

Saturday 27th October 13:00 - 15:30
1. Mead Making from Start to Drinking Ron Hunter CLOSED
2. Encaustic Art Julie Ann +£5 CLOSED
3. Making Beeswax Wraps Gwyn Marsh +£5 SOLD OUT
4. Making Honey Beer at Home Chris Sweet CLOSED
5. Beekeeping in Africa Richard and Jane Ridler CLOSED
6. Queen Rearing for the Small Scale Beekeeper Phil McAnespie SOLD OUT

*If you are unable to open our links either disable your popup blocker or allow the site.

The workshop reception is located on the ground floor of the Eclipse Pavilion and will be open 30 minutes before the start of each session. When online booking closes and if there are still places you can pay and book at the workshop reception.

Workshop Synopsis

Microscopy – Preparing Pollen slides, led by Alan Potter
This workshop covers all aspects involved in preparing and mounting microscope slides of pollen. This includes the collection and preparation of various types of pollen and its recovery from honey. The use of mountants, stains and ringing tables to make permanent glycerine jelly mounts will be covered in detail. All materials and equipment will be provided but individuals are welcome to bring their own pollen samples to prepare. The objective is that each participant will leave with their own mounted, stained and ringed pollen slides. Microscopes to study the results will be available.

Microscopy – Preparing Slides of Honey Bee Parts, led by Alan Potter
This workshop will cover in practical detail how to make permanent microscope slides from not only parts of the honey bee such as the head, legs and wings but also the whole insect itself. All chemicals, reagents will be provided to produce permanent slides mounted in a Canada Balsam substitute mountant. The process normally takes several days to complete but partly prepared specimens appropriate for each stage will be used. The objective of the workshop will be that each participant will leave with permanently mounted microscope slides showing honey bee parts. Microscopes to study the results will be available. Safety gloves and glasses will be available for use when handling chemicals.

Pampering Potions, led by Dr Sara Robb
Make your own glycerine soap with honey and beeswax. Learn to make your own melt and pour soap, also known as glycerine soap, from scratch. Dr Sara’s method begins with her speedy, no-cure method for making cold processed soap. A new beeswax and honey soap recipe containing coconut and castor oil will be introduced. This soap is velvety soft and is processed further to make a glycerine soap base, but can be used on its own. Making the glycerine base is easy using Sara’s method, as it needs only simple ingredients and common kitchen equipment. Advice on how to add fragrance, colour and botanicals to the base will be provided in order to produce truly personalized, quality bars of soap. Each participant will take home a luxurious selection of pampering products.

Photographing Bees and Other Insects, led by Claire Waring
Bee photography covers a wide range of subjects, from apiary meetings, hive inspections, candle making and close ups of our favourite insect. This workshop will give the opportunity to discuss the elements of a good photograph and how to go about achieving this. The main emphasis will be on composition but technical aspects will also be covered as appropriate. Participants are encouraged to submit up to three photographs beforehand so that a selection of these can be discussed by the group. Photographers can remain anonymous if they wish!

Claire Waring has kept bees in Northamptonshire since 1980. She soon became involved in both local and national beekeeping organisations and served as BBKA General Secretary in 2004–2005. She has been editor of Bee Craft since 1997 and is proud of the magazine’s achievements in gaining one bronze, two silver and three gold medals for popular beekeeping journals at Apimondia congresses. Following the establishment of a beekeeping project in Nepal in 1994, Claire was active in the foundation of the UK charity Bees Abroad which now has 26 poverty relief projects in 10 countries. Outside of beekeeping, Claire’s other interests include photography (particularly bees) and foreign travel. She has won gold and silver medals at Apimondia for beekeeping photography. Together with her husband Adrian, she has written Teach Yourself Beekeeping and the Haynes Bee Manual and also made a major contribution to the Collins Beekeeper’s Bible. She has written articles about beekeeping for Smallholder, Home Farmer and Smallholding.

Swarms and Swarm Control, led by Phil McAnespie
Phil has kept bees for over 30 years and runs approximately 10 colonies near Burn’s Cottage, Alloway, Ayrshire. This workshop will cover reasons for swarming but have greater emphasis on the practical methods of its control/prevention using various artificial swarming methods, use of the Horsley and Snelgrove boards, Nucleus colonies and he associated benefits of simple queen rearing.

Queen rearing for the Small Scale Beekeeper, led by Phil McAnespie
Phil will outline simple, practical queen rearing methods suitable for beginners and experienced beekeepers alike.

Making Wax Flowers, led by Liz Dufin
Liz Duffin took up beekeeping in 1978, with her husband Mike, whilst living in Somerset and now lives in Hampshire. After taking up showing honey, she became interested in beeswax and then began her interest in beeswax flower making. Her early exhibits were shown at the Bath & West Shows in the mid 1980s and, at the request of the then Chairman of Yeovil Beekeepers Association, she gave her first demonstration to their Association, and has continued to give demonstrations in various parts of the country over the last few years.

In addition to her demonstrations of wax flowers, she also makes candles and beeswax for show. She has contributed to two books on beeswax crafts, Beeswax Crafting (Robert Berthold Jr) published in the USA in 1993 and Beeswax Crafts (Search Press) published in the UK in 1996. A frequent exhibitor at the National Honey Show since 1984, her success has led to several invitations to judge the candle classes at the NHS and at other shows throughout the country. At the workshop you will make your own flower to take home.

Cooking With Honey, led by Dr Paul J Vagg
This workshop will cover the essential basics to remember when cooking with honey. Topics include, substituting honey for sugar in recipes, Honey nutrition facts, Honey varieties & their versatility in cooking, the easy way to measure honey accurately, and why you should reduce liquid content in recipes, followed by the preparation of a simple 'honey & lemon’ drizzle cake. Participants will be working in pairs, and all relevant cooking materials will be supplied, however each participant must bring with them a pen and notepad, and a container suitable for taking away their very own cake after baking. The container required should be large enough to accommodate a 7 inch diameter cake.

Presented by Paul Vagg, owner of Bee Naturals and the current 'London Beekeeper Of The Year', former LBKA resources officer, and author, this workshop is a must for all those who enjoy 'Cooking With Honey'.

Making Products from the Hive, led by Iain Judge
In this fun, practical class, you will learn to make the following products:
Beeswax shoe polish, propolis tincture, honey vinegar, and a very simple salve from honey and beeswax. There will also be a chance to sample an easy to make alcoholic drink. N.B. Please bring with you an apron, a pen and paper for notes, and a bag for you to take away your creations.

Candlemaking, led by Iain Judge
This is a hands on practical class, in which you will learn about beeswax and its properties, how wick works and how to chose the best wick for your candles. You will also learn how to make different types of candle including moulded and dipped. If you have ever wanted to make dipped candles but have struggled, then this is the class for you N.B. Please bring with you an apron, a pen and paper for you to make notes and a bag for you to take home your finished candles.

Iain Judge has been keeping bees for almost 10 years. He is passionate about making products from honey, wax and propolis. In his work life he has previously run a candle making workshop for people with learning disabilities and also worked for one of the largest commercial mead makers in the UK.
Iain regularly runs candle making classes and also gives talks to groups on products of the hive.

BBKA General Husbandry Assessment, led by Pam Hunter
The Workshop is designed for beekeepers contemplating taking the General Husbandry Assessment in 2019 and who have managed several colonies for over five years. The workshop will entail an introduction to the day, how the assessment is carried out and what to expect. It may also involve audience participation and presentation and will explore the practical aspects of the assessment as well as the theory. Candidates should bring with them a copy of the prospectus for the General Husbandry Certificate (available online) as well as a note pad and pen.

Pam started about 28 years ago in a rural spot in the middle of Sussex, having been ‘going to’ for many years before. She is a member of the Sussex BKA, is a Master Beekeeper and currently chairs the Research Committee of the BBKA and the Exam Board.

Risk Assessment, led by Andy Pedley
Though they’ve got a bad name, risk assessments are both important and easy once you’ve got the idea! Andy will explain why they are important (including insurance implications) and how to go about doing one - there will be an exercise where you will do a risk assessment of your own. Certificates will be issued on completion of the session.

Food Safety and Marketing Legislation, led by Andy Pedley
There is a whole range of food safety legislation that ensures that all the food that we eat is safe - and the law applies to honey and honey production if you sell your honey. Andy will cover topics such as Registration, prime production, equipment (new, second hand and recycled).

Skep Making, led by Nick Mengham and Chris Park
Nick began beekeeping over 20 years ago and now has around 150 hives in Kent. In addition to honey production, he hires out his hives for fruit pollination. In recent years Nick has been running a number of beekeeping courses, from a one day introduction to basic bee husbandry and skep making; he holds a qualification in adult education. His interest in skep making stems from a wider enthusiasm for the history of beekeeping and he has demonstrated the craft at various events including the Kent County Show and the Step Back in Time working bygones event.

Chris Park is also a skep maker and skep beekeeper. He lives on an organic farm in the Vale of the White Horse. His work is wide and varied, from arts and craft, ancient technologies, experimental archaeology and educational projects to eco-building, professional story telling and raising the awareness of heritage beekeeping. You can see some of his work at He is chairman of the newly formed British Beekeeping Heritage Society and gives entertaining lectures.
Nick and Chris aim to teach how to make skeps and not just run a production line. Few will finish their skeps on the day but we hope all will go home with the knowledge and materials needed to finish the job.
NB. Skep making (all day) is spit over two sessions:
Part 1 - 09.30 Friday/09.00 Saturday - 12.00 Friday/11.30 Saturday.
Part 2 - 14.30 Friday/13.00 Saturday - 17.00 Friday/15.30 Saturday.

Making Mead from Start to Drinking, led by Ron Hunter
Ron has been making mead and country wines for several years and has exhibited at his local show and the National Honey Show. The workshop will include several aspects of making mead and melomels, together with discussion about preparation of show exhibits and tasting. Participants may bring a bottle of home made mead to include in the tasting.

Advanced Microscopy, led by Marin Anastasov, NDB
This workshop will study advanced dissection of the honeybee including the head and thorax to explore glands, nervous system and flight muscles. Workshop attendees should already have some experience of dissection of the honeybee, perhaps having studied for the BBKA Microscopy assessment. Candidates are required to bring their own dissecting microscope and tools.

Marin holds a BSc degree in Animal Science and MSc in Organic Farming from Aberdeen University and has recently attained the National Diploma in Beekeeping. He is passionate about sustainable food production and his entire working career has been in organic food and farming. He has kept bees for over 20 years and currently manages 25 colonies in Gloucestershire. His beekeeping interests are in honey bee-plant interaction, honey bee breeding and honey bee biology. Marin is a Master Beekeeper, Trustee of Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association and serves on the BBKA Examinations Board.

Sustainable Planting for Honeybees, led by Sarah Wyndham Lewis
A PRACTICAL CHALLENGE FOR US ALL. I'd like to address the challenge that so many beekeepers face in ensuring that their bees have enough to eat and that it is supplied from a wide variety of forage sources.
Only if bees are well nourished can the colony be strong in the face of mounting external stresses like pests, diseases and climate change.

Green space is shrinking rapidly in urban/suburban areas and, in rural areas, monoculture and other farming practices continue to place considerable pressure on bees and beekeepers alike.
We need to look beyond our own gardens and into the wider community for constructive and meaningful support in planting for bees. We'll be looking at the reality of the challenge and what really counts in forage provision.

I'll also be sharing some case histories of community planting projects which my husband Dale Gibson and I have initiated around our home apiary by Tower Bridge and then opening the workshop up for general discussion.
By pooling our knowledge and personal experiences, we can share ideas of ways in which we, as hobby or professional beekeepers, can inform and educate the public to help 'Save the Bees' in the most constructive way possible.

Sarah Wyndham Lewis co-founded the sustainable beekeeping practice Bermondsey Street Bees with her husband Dale Gibson in 2007.
Today they have over 100 hives in both urban and rural settings and were named 'Small Artisan Producer of the Year' at the 2016 Great Taste Awards.

A professional writer for more than 30 years, Sarah's role centres on developing a wide range of bee-related information resources, educational initiatives and events. Her book 'Planting for Honeybees' was published by Quadrille in March 2018.

Honey Tasting, led by John Goodwin
This is a light hearted workshop which is short and sweet. Participants will be blind tasting differing honeys from the UK and Europe. Discussing the various tastes, colour and texture of various honeys.

John runs between 20 and 30 colonies in a number of apiaries from the southern to northern boundaries of Cheshire and operates apiary migration to various crops including: OSR, phacelia, buckwheat and heather.

John is a BBKA National Honey Judge and a BBKA Honey Judge Assessor. A normal year involves judging between 10 and 15 honey shows per year and he will normally enter and exhibit at a number of shows within the year.

He is a Director of Nantwich Show and manages the honey show and the honey /bee displays at the show. He also manages the annual Cheshire beekeepers honey show, which is held within the Cheshire Beekeepers Autumn Convention - both the above shows are sizeable shows with up to 2 to 400 entries.

Showing Honey, led by John Goodwin
John runs between 20 and 30 colonies in a number of apiaries from the southern to northern boundaries of Cheshire and operates apiary migration to various crops including: OSR, phacelia, buckwheat and heather.

John is a BBKA National Honey Judge and a BBKA Honey Judge Assessor. A normal year involves judging between 10 and 15 honey shows per year and he will normally enter and exhibit at a number of shows within the year.

He is a Director of Nantwich Show and manage the honey show and the honey /bee displays at the show. He also manages the annual Cheshire beekeepers honey show, which is held within the Cheshire Beekeepers Autumn Convention - both the above shows are sizeable shows with up to 2 to 300 entries.

Bee Diseases and Pest Recognition, led by Sandra Gray, NBU and Kirsty Stainton, FERA
Sandra Gray, Regional Bee Inspector for the South East will be running a workshop with Kirsty Stainton Senior Scientist in Bee Health at Fera Science Ltd, looking at notifiable honey bee pests and diseases. The workshop will consist of looking out for signs of both EFB and AFB as well as minor brood disorders. There will be the opportunity to look at Nosema spore under the microscope as well as Small Hive Beetle and Tropilaelaps.
Sandra Gray was appointed as Regional Bee Inspector for the South East Region in March 2017 and was a Seasonal Bee Inspector for the Eastern Region working at different times across Suffolk, Norfolk and North Essex from 2010 to 2017.

Encaustic Art, led by Julie-Ann
Make your own greeting cards using beeswax, apply coloured waxes using an iron, hot stylus, stamps and banners to create your own beeswax greetings cards.

Julie is an artist and paints primarily with beeswax... known as encaustic wax art. She creates bright, vibrant abstract paintings, full of texture and interest, and more recently, been doing portraiture in encaustic wax. She exhibits and sells her own paintings, sells encaustic wax supplies as they are so hard to come by in the UK, and runs workshops in encaustic techniques, both in the real world, and online if you're unable to get to a real life workshop. She also runs demonstrations for art and beekeeping clubs.

Making Beeswax Wraps, led by Gwyn Marsh
Plastic is a huge problem. The search for alternatives is on. This is an opportunity to learn how to make an alternative cling film food covering. All material will be provided and you will go home with 3 wax wraps to experiment with.

Gwyn Marsh is an experienced teacher, lecturer and education researcher, with a speciality in environmental science, She is an engaging and informative speaker who enjoys combining theory with practical activities in a workshop environment. Gwyn is also an enthusiastic bee-keeper, who is curious to explore and develop the many ways bee products can be put to beneficial use. Her wax wraps, a sustainable alternative to cling film, have attracted considerable interest at her local bee society’s stall at fairs and fetes and sell well

BBKA Studying Beekeeping as a Group Activity, lead by Dan Basterfield
This workshop is aimed at those who wish to set up self-help study groups for those preparing for the BBKA Module Examinations and Husbandry Assessments. We will explore how to establish and run effective study groups, and will consider resources that are available, a variety of study methods, the level of knowledge that is required by candidates, and how/where to get assistance and advice. We will also look at how to attract and include attendees who wish to learn within a group but who may not wish to attempt the assessments yet.

It is anticipated that workshop attendees are experienced beekeepers who wish to establish or support local study groups, and have passed a minimum of two BBKA Module or Husbandry assessments themselves.

Daniel grew up with beekeeping around him, earning pocket money by clipping and marking queens. Having spent 15 years working in large companies, he returned to the family beekeeping business in Devon, expanding the business and building a brand new Honey Farm. He is the Chairman of the National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) Board, a member of the Bee Farmers Association, holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping, and is a BBKA Master Beekeeper and Examiner. He runs 120-140 double-brood Modified Commercial hives, migrating between various farm crops in East Devon, and raises queens for prolific, productive and healthy qualities. Outside of the beekeeping season, Daniel undertakes teaching for the BBKA and NDB, for which he has developed a number of training courses.

Beekeeping Projects in Africa, led by Richard & Jane Ridler
This workshop is intended for those considering, or already involved in projects, which use beekeeping to help people help themselves out of poverty. It will offer practical advice based on case studies on all aspects of African beekeeping including:

  • How to start a beekeeping project in Africa
  • Which hives to choose and why
  • How to manage bees in Africa
  • Sustainability and cultural issues
  • Costs, Sales and Marketing
  • Best practice and what can go wrong
  • Sources of support and information

Richard & Jane have been involved in beekeeping in Uganda since 2012. They joined Bees Abroad in 2015 where Richard is now Chairman. They have had several articles published on beekeeping in Africa and also lecture on the subject. Both are BBKA Master Beekeepers, hold and have held positions in the Essex BKA and keep bees in both modern and top bar hives near Saffron Walden.

Identifying Pollen from Honey, led by Dinah and John Sweet
Participants in this workshop are encouraged to bring along a honey sample of interest of at least 100g. Following a short introductory presentation they will be guided into a practical way of preparing microscope slides for examination, then group discussion sharing views of the results. Participants will be able to take home their microscope slide(s) and will also be given a link to obtain a digital image by email.

If participants would like to use their own compound microscopes they are welcome to bring them along, but this is not a requirement as most value is obtained by sharing views and discussing what can be visualised.

Dinah Sweet completed a Diploma dissertation in Apiculture at Cardiff University on melissopalynology (the study of pollen grains in honey) supervised by the legendary Rex Sawyer, author with Robert Pickard of “Pollen Identification for Beekeepers”. Since then she has been examining honeys for commercial packers and giving talks on the topic to Beekeeping Associations.

John Sweet, Dinah’s husband, has also taken an interest in the practical aspects of preparing pollen microscope slides from honey samples and also linking microscopes to computers for projection to share microscopic views.

Making Honey Beer at Home, led by Chris Sweet
This workshop will introduce you to the wonderful world of beer making.
Come and meet Chris, the brewer of Zepto Brewhouse, (probably) Wales' smallest commercial brewery. Learn how to create a honey beer using just water, malted grains, hops, yeast and of course, honey.

Chris will guide you through the brewing process, offer advice on sourcing equipment and ingredients and share his experience and tips on producing award-winning ales. You'll have an opportunity to sample a home brewed honey beer (or two). You will also receive a copy of the recipe and brewing instructions so that you can reproduce the beer at home.

The workshop is best suited to brewing novices, but those with experience are also welcome to attend. Participants may, if they wish, bring their own homemade honey beers to form part of the tasting / discussion.

Chris is an award winning brewer and the founder and owner of Zepto Brewhouse
Based in the mountains of Caerphilly, South Wales, Zepto (which means really small) has become locally known as a producer of quality, flavoursome real ales that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Chris started his Brewing journey as a keen home brewer. He still regularly brews small batches of all-grain beer at home for friends and family, often using hops and honey sourced from his, and wife Tracy's, organic allotment. Both Chris and Tracy are also new and enthusiastic beekeepers!

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