Updated: Aug 31, 2021
In 2019 we began to plan for the Festival of Illumination “World of Lights” originally to be hosted in the fall of 2020 at Southwick’s Zoo, but by May of 2020 and due to the current state of COVID, we realized for the safety of all involved, that we would need to postpone the festival until 2021. Our team is global consisting of remarkably talented, hardworking and devoted individuals who each play an integral role in bringing this festival to fruition.
As a team, we are now well into the production of the Lanterns, having finalized the creative in early 2021. All lanterns are custom made, allowing us the ability to be uniquely creative in the design. Production begins at Zigong Lantern Group facilities, located in Zigong, Sichuan Province of China and then shipped here to Mendon, MA for installation over the summer months.
Each lantern is hand crafted from silk, steel, with LED Lighting utilized to illuminate the lanterns, and range in size from 2 feet to 60 feet or more. The first step after finalizing the creative is to sketch the individual lanterns at life size. The sketches are then used as a pattern to create the steel form of the lantern. By welding and bending of the steel wire, the Zigong team of artisans handcraft three dimensional realistic shapes, or lantern structures; these structures form the foundation of the individual lanterns.
Once the lantern structure is complete, LED bulbs are attached to the steel internal frame. These bulbs will illuminate the structure. The next step is to cover the steel structure with silk cloth. Silk is a very light fabric, that enhances the illumination of beautiful colors. The silk exterior of the lanterns is then hand painted, paying great attention to detail and the meticulous elements that bring forth realistic features. The colors that are used in the painting process are very important; colorful elements help bring out the beauty in these magnificent lantern structures.
The process of creating the lanterns requires much strategy, planning and careful consideration. As we continue to create and build the individual Lanterns for the festival, including some of our larger sets, we become more and more excited about the final outcome and the amazing experience we are creating for the Festival of Illumination guests beginning this September.