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!
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:
New Years Eve, 2010. Our community holds an annual gathering for about 5 days to celebrate and reflect on the last year and imagine for the next year. We call it Intention Alberta, after the much longer running Intention on the west coast of BC. This year we put a project in motion to test and increase our capacity to assemble off grid shelter. The Hexayurt was the open-hardware building style we chose to work with.
There are a bunch of pictures and models posted previously; here we have a time lapse movie of the second stage of assembly. the base was put together the day before. As you may be able to see: we used a frame, square-edged SIPs (structural insulated panels) and triangular wedges to fill the corner gaps. Our next SIP-a-yurt will have beveled edges on the SIPs and just 2 posts (center+front) and one beam for framing.
Note the sexy bathrobes: this was the Steampod (the group tasked with assembling structures and fires, particularly the steam pod itself) uniform. These bathrobes had a powerful effect on collaborative will and function. Highly recommended for any other off-beat construction process.
this is a sketchup model that we worked from in building our first Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) hexayurt. we needed something on the base to level the floor, as the floor was also SIP based (because of winter snow). for this version we used full, square edged SIPs, with triangular foam to fill the gaps. We DON’T RECOMMEND THAT. Bevel your SIP corners instead. less (fragile) junk to keep track of.
to see how the situation turned out, check out one of the other hexayurt posts. the one we built had 4′ walls rather than 6′ pictured here. also not shown in this model is the inside frame, which may be excessive, but we felt that better safe than sorry principal.
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.