|Made from branches and milkweed fibers during my York Region Artist in Residence program.|
As a Chinese Canadian, making lanterns helps me connect with my culture because lanterns play a dominant role in all Chinese festivals and celebrations, such as Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival, the Harvest Moon Festival, weddings, and even at funerals. Red lanterns represent happiness, reunion, best wishes, and prosperity. White lanterns represent death and mourning.
Creating with natural materials is my way of side stepping mass consumption, mass production, and corporate greed; while at the same time, discovering more about our overlooked natural environment. Instead of turning to the store for materials, I turn to my garden. Branches and vines are arranged into a unique form. Next, cotton strings are wrapped around the joints to fasten the lantern together. I make my own paper from plants, and attach it to the frame using wheat paste.
In the final stage, the lantern is lit. The light, a symbol of truth, knowledge and guidance, shines through the materials, celebrating nature’s gift that surrounds us.