Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Solstice Lanterns

Next monday is the Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For those who don't know, the Winter Solstice marks midwinter; the shortest day and longest night of the year.
From a Pagan viewpoint, the Winter Solstice represents the rebirth of the Lord, the Sun, in the eternal cycle. It signifies the end of the darkness, as the days slowly but surely get longer and life returns as the Earth once again is warmed.

Of all the things I miss about living on the North Coast, I think the Winter Solstice Lantern Parade rates the highest. Every year on the Solstice we would line the streets of Lismore to watch the beautiful spectacle parade down the main streets. The whole community was involved; school kids, local charities, groups and businesses. Everyone carried a lantern, ranging from small triangular lanterns decorated by little school kids, to huge dragons and Unicorns and earth mothers, some taking three or four people to carry them! The groups would be interspersed with different bands and musicians creating a celebratory atmosphere.
We'd follow the procession down through the town to the river, where a spectacular firey finale would await. Indi was only a baby the first time we went, but I still remember that awe-filled look in her eyes at the fireworks. Once the smoke had cleared, everyone strolled back into town to celebrate with a street party with market stalls, food, street entertainers and of course music!

So, in leiu of such a warming event, I've decided to create some little lanterns of our own to welcome the return of the sun.
I've used the Star Lantern Tutorial from CHILDHOOD MAGIC to create these lanterns (thankyou Ariella!)

First we painted the circles. We just used cheapo water paints.

Here are the finished designs. I painted both sides of mine (the red spiral one and the central sun/flower one), but Indi only painted one side of hers (the rainbow serpent-looking one). She decided that catching lizards basking in the winter sun was more exciting than painting!

Once the paint was dry, we painted the paper with olive oil to make it translucent. I did this on newspaper to minimise mess. We painted both sides of the circles (ideally, we'd have sourced some proper translucent paper, but what can I say ... I'm disorganised, a cheapskate, and I like a challenge!)

Blot off the excess oil as best you can, then hang them somewhere inside to dry a bit.

Once they are dry(-ish) it is time to fold! The actual folding part was bit tricky for Indi (almost 5), but she enjoyed watching. She took the job of cutting the edges off the circle to make it an octagon.

About halfway through. I can appreciate how origami is such an addictive pastime :)  

And here is the end result!

I have to get some electric candles to light them up for our weekend solstice celebration; real candles will be too dangerous considering that they are paper soaked in oil!
BUT I'm terribly impatient and just couldn't wait to see what they'd look like lit up ...
So I snuck outside with a candle and the camera while the kids were playing with Craig ...

Beautiful, don't you think?


Cords said...

absolutley wonderful! As much as I enjoy a bit of cold, I'm really looking forward to welcoming back the sun god. :)


they look amazing. I love how you painted them, so unique! They do look beautiful when glowing with a candle, don't they? Happy solstice to you and yours :)

'Joyce' said...

Kel, these are awesome. I love the colours you have used. How beautiful your memories of the parade in Lismore. In regards to the real candle versus battery 'candle'. I have some little shot glasses that I bought years and years ago from an op-shop, which perfectly fit a tea light candle in the base of them. I wrap my pretty papers around the glass and they just look so pretty with the flickering candle light shimmering and glowing through the paper. This might be the go for your lovely lanterns.

Kel said...

Great idea Joyce, thanks! I'll have to rustle through the cupboards and have a look for some little glasses.

Ariad said...

I love them, going to make some tomorrow! I love the sound of the lantern parade in Lismore too, I'd love to live somewhere with groovy stuff happening.

karisma said...


Kat said...

how nice they came out! great idea for tomorrow, gotta love ariella's inspirations they always make for a good time with the wee ones. blessings for the solstice. enjoy your celebrations!

Anne said...

They look beautiful...:)

I was going to say what Joyce said, you can get tea light glasses to put the tea light in they look like shot glasses. Thats what I did with my star lantern.
What I also did. I used water colour paint and when it was drying I put rock salt crystals on the paper when it drys it gives a pretty pattern that looks beautiful when the candle light shines through it.

Kat said...

I made my first one just yesterday, they are soo cool! Can't wait to make more. Really easy to fold too, but Free couldn't do it either.


Kel said...

Looking forward to your pictures Kat :)

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