Sunday, June 29, 2014

Giant Glowing Fish Return to Belmar

Today was the second part of the workshop on creating Japanese paper lanterns.  Instructor Brian Elstein was back, along with all the supplies necessary for the participants to complete their own paper lanterns.

When things ended last week, the wire frames had been constructed, and the electrical wiring completed.  Today they started making the paper surface of the lanterns.  A pattern was used to cut pieces of Japanese washi into panels that could be used to make the surface.  One at a time they were glued to the wire frame.  Once dry, excess bits were trimmed away until the paper fit the shape like a skin.

More washi was cut to make the tails, which were glued to the pieces of wire extending off the back of the lantern.

With all the paper dry, the next step was to start the design.  Three different materials were used to create it.  The first step was to draw with black sumi ink.  People had the option of carefully pencilling the shapes first, though some just drew freehand with their brushes.

Next, melted wax was applied to part of the surface.  The carefully applied wax soaks into the paper, keeping the colorful dyes from sticking to those parts of the paper. Those areas will always remain white, and can keep the different colors from mixing together.  Above, our participants gathered around the communal pot of melted wax as they continued working on their designs.

The last step was to apply colors to the lanterns. Brian provided a water soluble dye imported from Japan, about half a dozen colors, and they could be mixed together to make additional hues.  Like the ink and wax, brushes were used to add the color.

Once the dye was dry, everyone plugged in their lanterns so we could see how they'll look when put to use.

Brian also showed everyone how to create fins out of white paper (similar to tissue) that they had the option of adding later.  Everyone seemed very pleased with their results, and planned to make more in the future.

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