“Messages for the bees are passed along the subconscious pipeline, shifting them from one person’s dreams to another until a memory becomes a daydream related over a cup of steaming tea at breakfast.” – Yolanda Doolittle’s Journals, 1916
A simple, sweet afternoon, communing with art and bees, at Van Dusen Gardens in Vancouver.
I saw and smelled labernum groves, catalpa trees, allium, lavender and roses and raspberries.
My friend Lori is a lady who wll pass your messages, your troubles and your hopes to the bees. A wonderful, quirky and imaginative performance artist, she has of late taken on the persona of Madame Dolittle, modelled on Yolanda Doolittle,a Victorian figure (fact or fiction?) who communed spiritually with the bees. She calls it The Beespeaker Project. Dressed in Victorian garb, Lori/Dolittle appears intermittently at farmers’ markets, festivals and gardens (this month, at Van Dusen Gardens), to remind us, in her wise and poetic manner, of the power, beauty, and value of bees – now, in North America, an almost endangered species!
“Whether you suffer from and seek relief from anxieties, ailments, sorrows, lost objects, or simply wish to share the gratitude of your recent joys, Madame Dolittle will pass your messages onto the honeybees.”- from Madame Beespeaker‘s business card.
I shared a picnic with Lori and her partner in love and art, Peter, in the gardens, next to the hives and just beside a verdant vegetable garden, most of whose produce goes to low-income people. We ate sushi, bean pate, bagels and dried mulberries, and talked about feminist art, parties with a single-ingredient theme (my suggestion to Lori: a honey party!), recent food experiences, and bees, of course.
Then Lori showed me other artworks that are appearing in the gardens as part of the Second Site Collective‘s show that runs to the end of July (with “sporadic interventions” in August) – check this link for Beespeaker and other schedules.
Delicate artworks intervene electronically and visually into the lives of plants. Robin Ripley mends wounded leaves.
Ken Gregory creates prosthetic devices, “Sun Suckers”, for flowers.
Lori Weidenhammer lets you listen to the bees and then listens to you. Send your hopes and concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any honey or bee stories to pass on?