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I came back from New York at the end of September with a crash into playing catch up with my ordinary working life. October was upon me and I was facilitating a week of professional development alongside my longterm colleague Alan May.

Thanks to Bedminster Winter Lanterns achieving a successful Grants For The Arts bid from Arts Council England, I was delighted to co-lead a professional development in lantern making with Alan May last October. Blessed with a fabulous team of artists from those at the beginning of their professional practice to those with many years experience we set to work designing an experience in animated lanterns.

As a team of lantern makers it was an opportunity to explore light diffusion and puppetry within lantern making and develop new ways of working with colleagues in the region.

Hard on the heels of my return fron New York City it was a fabulous chance to Experiment with some new technical skills inspired by working alongside Processional Arts Workshop last September.

Alan May and I trained fresh artists from DNA arts and Boom Satsuma in the art of delivering a fast and furious community workshop. We collaborated with Richard Headen from The Desperate Men to develop a narrative for our large structures and built 3 new animated lantern structures.

FLO the giant girl, her jar of wonders and the moth were drawn to five different lantern events between October and January. Radstock Light The Night and Bath City Farm Bonfire Produced by DNArts and The Natural Theatre Company, Devizes Lantern Parade produced by DOCA. Church Road Lantern Parade produced by The Lamplighters and of course Bedminster Winter Lanterns.

Many thanks and credit to all the creatives involved Alan May, Steph Reeves, Megan Bentall Clarke, Ali Brown, Amy Peck, Ruth Ramsay, Becky Prior, Ruth Patchett, Niamh Peace, Dik Downey, Richard Headen, Phillips Haynes and Amber and Kathleen fromBoom Satsuma.ArtsCouncil_BritishCouncil_Lockup_Black


The lanterns for Morningside Lights are progressing well.

I haven’t posted much this week as I was a little confused by the process as described to me. PAW have a different approach to the one adopted by most lantern builders in the UK. It’s great but I was baffled for a few days.
Lantern frame building here is done with rattan and wire. In the uk it would be withies, rattan and wire and the principles are the same.

However the approach to covering the lanterns for the most part of the week left me baffled. Initially we covered the lanterns in a paper mache glue mix and till receipt roll which is translucent. Then there was much talk of a cheesecloth layer when dry which I had (wrongly) assumed was muslin. This turned out to my great relief to be muslin scrim!

imageThis layer is followed by white tissue and coloured tissue.

In the UK amoungst to my fellow makers we definately have a more minimal approach. Frame making, wet strength tissue paper ( 1 layer)  or similar and then colour tissue or crepe paper. Maybe this comes from our candlelight traditions, we definately wouldn’t have the luxury of the time taken to complete the layering process within the UK arts funding streams.

The storytelling element is as simple as I described in an earlier post and I look forward to seeing it in action.

The workshop is a busy one see a mini film on the Processional Arts Workshop Facebook page  and some stills below

Today is the day for colour on the lanterns…


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