Lantern festival

Well, January 2016 pretty much went by in a blur.  I’ve been crunching, trying to finish my museum contract, and my husband has been running a Kickstarter campaign for a project he’s been working on for the last two years.  I feel like I’ve been barely holding on by my fingernails for the last couple of weeks – we’re fed and wearing clean clothes for the most part, but the house is a disaster and I’ve certainly had no time for sewing or knitting, which are the activities I usually turn to for some semblance of balance and creative outlet in my life.  The good news is that I successfully completed my contract a few days ago – final report has been submitted, and boy does it feel good to have that off my plate!

And it was finished just in the nick of time, since another project deadline was sneaking up on me.  Way back in October, a friend asked if I would be willing to create a floating lantern installation for a festival she was organizing.  “Sure, sounds great”, I answered, thinking to myself that I’d have more than three months to work on it – lots of time (keeping in mind, of course, that I’m no lantern-making expert and would be making it up as I went along)!  Well, of course life and work happened, and before I knew it, January had arrived.  And then I’d chop one head off the work monster and three more would grow back, and before I knew it, February had arrived and there was only one week left.

So, I had to make the most of that one week – I buckled down, attempted one concept which failed miserably, panicked, tried again, and in the end produced 23 lanterns.  The good news is that pretty much anything looks good floating on a calm lake at night:)

Here are some lantern shots taken during the daytime.  The first type I made were tall, cylindrical shapes with cut paper flowers for a 3-D effect (the skewers were for hanging LED lights from):

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And then to round things out, I made a fleet of parchment paper lotus flowers.  There’s a video on Youtube that describes very clearly how to make these, which I would highly recommend should you ever find yourself need of floating lanterns.  Each lotus is made of 12 pieces of carefully-folded paper:

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The real magic was seeing them on the water at night:

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And some other images from the festival, because it was so pretty.  Lanterns on the beach, made at a community lantern-making workshop:

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An amazing chameleon lantern, made by a very talented friend:

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A shadow puppet play:

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Fire spinners on the bluff across the water:

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All in all, it was a magical night.  I felt kind of nervous going into it, tromping around in the freezing cold water setting everything up, and hoping it would look good!  I’d do some things differently next time (like starting three months in advance, ahem…), but in the end was mostly happy with how the installation turned out.  And there was so much positive feedback about the floating lanterns, and the festival in general, that I’ll probably say yes to doing it again next year:)  And now, it’s time to clean the house…

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