Saturday, August 08, 2009

::Lumiere Festival 2009::

ast year I was contacted by the producer of the Lumiere Festival about my lanterns. She was hoping to book me for a possible lantern workshop. When I responded favourably she said she would be sure to get in touch closer to Lumiere 2009. She did.

Rather than a workshop, Joanne asked if I could produce enough lanterns to put on display. She was asking me to be one of their featured artists. So tempting. Of course, while oblivious when asked last year, I now knew I would have a week-old baby girl by Festival time... But I was determined to try and make it work. And I did.

Twelve lanterns were dropped off at the Crichton Community Center in time for the festival. I didn't expect to be able to see them on display, still being in recovery mode. But Elaine and I found a way-- public transit.

The buses took us right to the mouth of the park--little girl in fairy wings, baby in a snuggly--and we began to explore. Superficially, it was, in a word: Pretty. Lanterns hung from every tree. A forest path was lit up with toadstool lanterns. A string of lights floated on the water. . . Whimsy & romance . However, there was an undercurrent that pricked my senses. I tried to block it out and enjoy the prettiness. But there it was-- a decidedly uncomfortable vibe about the place. It was a celebration of mother earth, feminism and New Age weirdness. Strange masked creatures flitting about. Odd chantings rising and falling. . . This world I had stepped into did not welcome me. My lanterns fit snuggly into the atmosphere, but I did not.

If I were asked to contribute to the festival again, I think I would have some strong reservations. I am rarely struck with a need to set myself bodily apart from a place or circumstance. But, as I mentioned to someone in hindsight, it felt like "my invisible crew" was warring with "the other invisible crew" above my head while we were there. Ugh. Anyone ever felt this? So, this is not an anti-endorsement of the Festival so much as a warning for those who are sensitive to things unseen.

I was grateful for the chance to showcase some art. And Caelah was able to freely enjoy the carnivalesque atmosphere, free of an awareness of the taint. But I believe our first Lumiere will be our last.