Flying Canoe Volant 2015

coat of arms- canoe with crossed paddles and wings, moon over with crown of stars, snowflakes beneath
new design for the flying canoe volant

The Mill Creek Adventure this year was a major stretch for me.  Scheduled for a week after my other biggest winter festival commission, I had to juggle 5 workshops, up to 10 workers, a whole class of artists,  dozens of projects, and hundreds of details.  Sometimes I felt like I was driving between sites for a month.  But in the end, it worked out.  and the last two days of installation were surprisingly easy.  Delegation to competent staff pays off… except in the visceral sense of feeling like I’m focused on making art.  I suppose that’s what large scale art management is about.

In the chaos, I managed to bring 3 new major lanterns to the event, and a much deeper colour palette to my older lantern work.  New LED colours… as fun as christmas for me!

This gallery is from Paula Kirman; you can find her edmonton events photography on flicker

Winter Light 2012: Mill Creek Adventure Walk

People passing thru the Gate of Winter Light
January 27 and 28, 2012, myself and the rest of the Winter Light team launched an ambitious project; to do more with less at our now hopefully annual Mill Creek Adventure Walk. The story this year was seeded by Carol and Bill, and told the tale of an Eager Beaver’s attempt to build a Lodge big enough to Block Out the Stars.

The cast of this adventure took their places thru the ravine: Beavers Built (when not on coffee break), Skunks Investigated disturbances in the light, Magpies Reported for the local weekly, Crows Appreciated shiny things, and Aurora and the Light People let everyone know it was all going to be okay.

Mill Creek Adventure Walk Flys Again


Adventure Walk Flys Again

February 1st and 2nd marks the 3rd Mill Creek Adventure Walk, and the first time this walk has been produced by La Cité Francophone. As you may or may not know, Winter Light, the previous producer has ceased operations in September, so myself and vast numbers of the public are grateful and excited that La Cité has picked up this amazing event.

This year’s event featured the legend of The Flying Canoe and The City of Light, an old French and native story about some Voyageurs who make a deal with the devil to fly their canoe home to visit loved ones. And they had to be back by midnight or they all turn into pumpkins. Or something like that, I never have much time to follow the story, to busy setting up lanterns.

Installation-wise, we had a limited new-work budget to play with, so the focus was on revising and re-arraigning. Fortunately I have a lot I material that has never shown in the creek before, so that plus some subtle upgrades and the new, shorter walking path made for fresh lighting experience.

The other big change was a fancy new home base at La Cité. Great venue for performance and gathering. Also an amazing workshop setup to develop and stage from.

I’m going to take this opportunity to
thank and recognize some people:
Robin, Brett, and Scott for throwing down without much notice, yet with enough understanding of my scene to deal with the work efficiently.
Memi for the use of her fabric lanterns.
MiHu, for his can-punching work for Crystal Cradle of last year that finally made it into something public.
Winter Light for putting all that material into the hands of artists and event producers.
La Cité (Daniel, Mirielle, Shannon, and the rest) for picking this event up.
Matt for being the full time winter guy that makes it all stick.
Marissa for keeping track of batteries an all the rest.
Hydrosion, for supporting my design with the robot-assisted cutting you all saw.
Rose, my boss, for all the time off to make this happen.
The weather for being awesome.
And my wife Janelle and baby for coming out to enjoy the walk with me, and patience thru the way too busy develop and install phase of the work.
And you know, everybody …

You can see more at the city of lights.

Send an email to someone ( La Cité, City Councillor, Edmonton arts council) if you want to see this event again next year!

Lanterns in the Snow

lanterns under the bridge... like trolls made of light?

Walking With Lanterns

last week some friends and i went for a walk in the local ravine.  we brought some lanterns and a firepit on a wagon. all accounts concur that it was a  great evening in the park.  the weather was perfect too, chilly but not dangerous.  and the snow that had been threatening for the last week held off until we were back at the beginning around a big fire. pictures by Luke Smith, thanks!

11:11:11 a flight of lanterns

dear ladies and gentleman of good intention:

you are cordially invited to join parastra intergalactic for a nov 11 tradition.

where ever you are, on 11:11:11 imagine walking meditatively with friends, family, and lanterns.

and then do so, if you can!

2 to 25 people and some lanterns is all it takes to transform a walk at night into a sublime adventure.

lanterns lend themselves to thoughts of peace.  so spend a moment examining, if you will, what it takes to be peace-full.

lanterns on the bridge in mill creek ravine


lantern workshops!

One of the things I get to do is help people make lights.

Last October, my mother organized  a lantern painting workshop for the St. Albert Garden Club (which she has been a member of since approximately forever).  This was fun, as I remember one of my early art experiences going to a flower arrainging workshop run by the Garden Club when I was 7 ish.

The Club wanted a simple, classy project, so we did an airbrush-and-stencil thing onto chinese wire and fabric ball lanterns.  Stencils came from plant material people brought in, and some floral/ foliage stencils in my collection, and some hibiscus and orchid flower patterns  my mother sourced.

People were pretty  happy with the results, but as usual, the best ideas happen after the fact.  So maybe everyone who plans a lantern workshop should plan for two or three?

Here are some of the pictures, taken by my dad.  (thanks dad!)