Every first weekend of February, in my hometown of Edmonton, we have this amazing weekend festival in the woods of Mill Creek Ravine. This is one of my favourite places in the city, and it is such an honour to be trusted with lighting it up for tens of thousands of people to explore.
This is a short video from Explore Edmonton that highlights a lot of what our event is all about.
In March 2016, I was funded by Make Something Edmonton’s Winter Project Accelerator Grant to run a lantern craft workshop and parade. It allowed me to offer a free workshop with a fairly fancy set of materials, so I was quite excited about that.
The Lantern project was based on twine, twigs (branches) tissue and twinkle lights, and has a diverse set of possibilities within a fairly unified colour scheme.
Jan, 2015. The University of Alberta’s Alumni Association turns 100 this year, one hundred years after the first class graduated. I got a call to imagine something special for their Winter Event. This became one of the best University events I’ve been to, and we produced a genuinely magical moment.
Had some deeper learning moments about high speed production of large numbers of objects… 100 lanterns is quite a lot of lanterns. Even when you have a cnc machine to laser cut your parts. The opposite side of that learning is that 100 lanterns is a good number of lanterns to have a parade with. Especially when they each put out 2 watts worth of coloured LED light. At the last minute I decided to walk in the parade with the prototype lanterns, and it induced a pleasantly expansive feeling
The Association produced a great video, and an image gallery follows below.
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!
New may be an exaggeration in this particular case, I’ve had this style for several years now. But I did do a recent run of new cuts and added some fresh LED options to the colour palette. You can find many of these on my ETSY store, which you can access from the menu above.
The lantern that won the People’s Choice Award at the IllumiNite event in Edmonton!
The RotoGoboScope is an innovative lantern that combines colorful LED lights with rotating mechanisms to produce a fantastic moving light-scape of patterned dots. It features custom electronics that are built into refurbished coffee cans, which are mounted onto a tower made of re-used metal scrap.
What does the name mean?
Well, “Roto” is for rotating. “Gobo” is short for “Go-Between”, and refers to an object that is placed in front of a light source to control the shape of the light emitted. And “Scope” like in kaleidoscope, a device that creates moving color patterns.
This lantern is a creative extension of my Can-O-Lantern series of decorative LED lamps, currently sold by Crystal Cradle. I have been handcrafting LED lamps using upgraded coffee cans for about 3 years.
RotoGoboScope was originally built for IllumiNite – and outdoor light design competition organized by Edmonton on the Edge. It was installed outside for a night, in the park behind Sobey’s on Jasper Ave. The nook it got tucked into was awkward, but the reception was excellent – the RotoGoboScope captured the delight of its viewers, and won the People’s Choice award!
Good news – this amazing lantern is currently on display at the Cool Stuff Exhibit! You can find it at the University of Alberta Museum in Enterprise Square (10230 Jasper Ave) from March 22nd – March31st.
What is it made of?
Composed of approximately 95% upgraded metal scrap, plus some custom-built electronics.
The upgraded scrap components include :
6 bicycle wheel rims – from the local Bike Repair Collective
steel EMT pipe – from an outfitter tent repair job
a laundry machine drum – scrap yard special
a clothing display stand – someone must have donated this to our pile without asking
3 coffee cans – readily available
hard-drive platters – from old computers
The rest of the parts are :
9 1-Watt LED’s — red, white, yellow, and green
3 rotating gear-motors
various electrical components – drivers, transformers, connectors and wires
1m steel tube and shaft
It runs on regular household electrical current (110V AC) via transformers, or directly on a 12V DC battery.
Sweet. What does this light look like in motion?
I thought you’d never ask.
Can I Get One?
Soon. There aren’t any ready made, but you can commission one. This one is rent-able for special events. The Can-O-Lantern series of lamps are available at Crystal Cradle.
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!
I’m involved in a festival project in my home town of Edmonton, AB, that takes on the colder half of our year. It’s called Winter Light, cause we light up the long dark days of winter. At our latitude, we can have as little as 4 hours of daylight in December. Which is crazy. Especially if you are stuck in school or work for those 4 hours. You can see all about Winter Light at our styley website here: www.winterlight.ca (website no longer maintained)
Last weekend we launched our new Season and our newly founded Non-Profit Society. Up till now we have been a City of Edmonton created and funded project, that startup situation is now over and we are free to find our own fate as a non profit. Comes with perks and challenges ;)
I get to be the Lantern Co-Ordinator and Artistic Director of one of our events, which is about the most interesting job title I’ve ever had. And it means I get to build really fun things. For our launch, I worked on some more vector design + waterjet cut wood construction, and built a really fancy stage.
Best Part was everyone loved everything. Food, Music, Art, Fires. Other best part was we got the whole thing installed with time to spare. Must be practice or something.
so, Pictures! thats what you and me are here for right? Here’s the pictures:
A big part of my art is site specific lighting installations. I created a new set of cad + waterjet woodcut Lanterns and Light Towers for Astral Harvest. Fun times.
Extending my scope of action is always a fun thing to do, even the painful learning curves (of Adobe Illustrator for example) become satisfying and even enjoyable after the fact. even if it is often takes months.
I had a lot of help from people: Scott Davis did pretty much all of the metal drilling cutting and welding. I’m borrowing a flamethrower from Dancing Wolf. Christy Boulter reminded me of the giant lenses from warehouse HID lighing, available at several re-used building supplies stores. And Austen at Hydrosion has been amazing at turning my vector pictures into finely sliced wood.
I have been a lantern co-ordinator for Edmonton’s Winter Light celebrations for the last two years. It has given me the opportunity to do some fairly large scale work, and get outside and do fun stuff in the winter.