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exploring lanterns, light and illuminations
I adore working with and exploring light and it crops up in projects over and over. Light – and dark – can be magical, enchanting and ignite stories within us.
As humans, we have been drawn to light throughout history and
across cultures. We are pulled in to snuggle up around a fire and share stories, music and food; we light candles for calmness, magical atmosphere, comfort, awe and warmth.
I’ve made lanterns on many projects over the 20 years I’ve been
working with groups – and the magical light they cast and they way they illuminate the dark always bring a sense of awe and wonder. I use willow (withies) with a tissue and PVA covering to make lanterns;
they have candles built into the framework so that they are secure, safe and weather-proof. Much bigger structures need to be lit with battery-powered lights, but it is candlelight that creates the magical atmosphere that a lantern procession can generate. I’ve noticed how people carry candle-lit lanterns with calm and care and reverence.
Lanterns look amazing en-masse and need to be seen in an area with as little light pollution as possible. They work wonderfully in community processions and can be an amazing focus for a celebration. They send out a glow of colour which seeps through the dark.
I’ve worked on lantern processions in many places, including
Boston (Lincolnshire), Aldeborough (Suffolk), the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Nottingham, Coalville (Leicestershire), Grace Dieu (Leicestershire) and Harby (Leicestershire).
I’ve made thousands of lanterns to carry and also several hundred floating lanterns with groups, on many, many projects. I was introduced to the wonder of making lanterns by Lee Sass around 20 years ago when I was Outreach Officer at Blackfriars Arts Centre in Boston – and I was hooked on the magic they send out into the night.
As well as lanterns I use light wherever possible in projects (see also shadows and light), which might include installations, projections,
light boxes or drawing with light.