The Lanterns at Chester Zoo

In September 2018 I joined Wild Rumpus as a freelance Artist, primarily working with metal bending and welding, to create lanterns and site decorations for Chester Zoo’s annual lantern event. Having sketched the animals out I then scaled the drawings up to life-size, or over-size, in various poses. I bent the rods using a jig without any heat – definitely one of the most physical projects I have worked on so far! I then used a gasless MIG welder to connect all the sculpted rods together into an animal form. These were then illuminated and covered – I worked on the sculpting, lighting and some of the covering processes with a team of Artists.

Although I was on the ‘structural’ side of things I was keen to try some painting, having tried this for the Rose Queen puppet last year I fancied the challenge of realistically painting a 3D lantern again. I painted the larger of my Sun Bear lanterns which was a fun challenge to undertake – Sun Bears are mostly black, and light still needed to pass through the lantern for it to be effective!

I also worked on some decorative elements of the project including an installation of Giraffe heads, designed by Rowan Taylor. These were created using batik and fabric dye, and then rodded with fibreglass and sprung wire. There are many ‘rock’ lanterns throughout the ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ section of the event which I assisted in creating.

For the final week of the project I had a lovely week working onsite at Chester Zoo where I helped to install the creations. 

More pictures coming soon when I visit the event as a spectator!

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