Discipline: Visual Arts
Lori Weidenhammer is a Vancouver-based artist originally from Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. For nearly a decade she has been exploring the persona Madame Beespeaker, reviving the tradition of telling the bees. She also appears as The Queen Bee at schools and community events. Lori is a member of the Second Site Media Collective and Women Who Run with the Bees. Her collaborative media works with her partner Peter Courtemanche have been shown in Canada and abroad and she has also worked in devised theatre in Canada and the UK. As an artist and educator Weidenhammer works with students of all ages on growing and eating locally, planting for pollinators and community gardening. She is passionate about art that creates and strengthens community bonds and makes the world a better place for humans and bees. Lori has a background in classical singing, visual art, and performance. She has worked with several elementary and high school teachers to create tailor-made ArtStarts residencies to work with their students creating art with ecological themes. Lori has just written a book about gardening for bees: Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees, published by Douglas and McIntyre, which will be released in the Spring of 2016.
Everyone really enjoyed the workshop and the Gallery was abuzz with energy. When the workshop was over, no one wanted to leave. ArtStarts Blog, October 2012
Madame Beespeaker visits the class and helps students learn about the science and culture of bees. We explore the ancient tradition of telling the bees, and make messages for the bees sharing our hopes, joys, and sorrows with them. In some months the class will be able go outside on a bee safari to meet some beautiful pollinators.
Madame Beespeaker introduces seeds that are easy to grow to provide food for the bees. We then create clay sculptures embedded with seeds that the students can plant in their garden.
Meet the Queen Bee and have fun acting out the roles that bees play in the hive. Students learn how to tell the difference between bumble bees, honeybees and wasps and how to practice bee sting safety. Learn about the honeybees in our neighbourhood and what you can do to help our pollinators stay healthy. Students use drawing and creative writing skills to make messages for the bees, and learn about the mysterious tradition of Telling the Bees. (1.5 hours. $30 materials cost.)