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.
I do some fun geek support projects for various other artists, and the other day I got to play with a remote control pan/tilt unit (from servocity.com) that some fellow Edmontonian artists are using for a film project. My job was to ensure that the parts for the motion control systems all talked to each other properly : batteries, transmitters, receivers and motor drivers. Intrigued by remote control toys, I taped my [relatively low-tech] camera onto this high-tech pan/tilt unit to take a scan around our studio (aka SpacePort), which at the time was covered with electro-mechanicals that we were working on for this film.
Big Fancy Camera Systems in Taiwan
In contrast to my “Red-Green” solution, the filmmakers will be screwing a Red Cam onto the system when they get to Taiwan. They are filming in Imax-Ready format, with some fancy remote controlled systems to get their vast cameras out of the faces of their subjects. The fly-cam they are building is pretty exciting – some heavy duty remote control car motors, a pan/tilt/focus and a gyroscope will all be mounted onto a hanging zip-line-like contraption. These devices will be controlled by a fancy Spektrum DX6 transmitter (a fancy remote control), and will take the camera on some long steady rides over the heads of the festival go-ers. It’s amazing how a different perspective in the camera angle can have profound impact on the perspective of the movie viewer. Maybe it’s about how our brain gets tweaked differently when we see something from a new angle.
Spirit Medium , the film
So, the film they are going to shoot looks pretty amazing. One of the group members did some sort of thesis work in Taiwan about this festival, and he is bringing the film crew back with him to get the story visually:
Taiwan is a small and often overlooked society with many gifts and treasures to offer the world. At approximately 5,000 years, Chinese civilization is the oldest existing civilization in the world. However in Mainland China, many traditional religious practices were purged as superstition during the Cultural Revolution. Although it is now being revived and treasured as a cultural tradition in Mainland China, these religious practices have grown in Taiwan along with its rise as a modern, economically prosperous, and progressive society. Taiwan shows in full colour its varied and extensive roots, which is vibrantly demonstrated in its ritualistic pageantry and deep-seated ancient religious traditions.
To check out their promo video and learn how to support their trip go to:
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!)