Having a Lark with Lanterns at Love Oswestry Festival

Having a Lark with Lanterns at Love Oswestry Festival

2024 marks Designs in Mind’s third year of being honoured with the commission of making more than 100 lanterns for the  Love Oswestry Festival Lantern Parade.
Our members have been beavering away since we reopened after a much deserved festive break.
Our members and creatives, staff and volunteers, have been lantern making all of January and February. It’s been quite a ‘lark’ which ties in nicely with our theme for 2024. Lantern making brings a real sense of community achievement and accomplishment, as we hit our quota for our third year. All the lanterns were lovingly crafted with willow withies, masking tape, tissue paper and glue in our design studio by our Members, staff, volunteers and by local children and their parents, in our free public workshops.

beehappy - Designs in Mind

We loved running our free ‘Public Lantern Workshops’ as part of the festival schedule. There were some wonderful creations made by children attending the workshops, including ‘bee happy’ lanterns and one featuring a pirate scene!
We really love to be part of the full schedule of preparations for the annual Love Oswestry all day Festival.
Thanks to all who participated in our lantern making workshops, we hope you enjoyed making them as much as we do. They really are oodles of fun to make! We really appreciate your time, your skills and your creative input in support of our Members, who are adults facing mental health challenges.
This year we focused on triangular and cubic designs. Some lanterns were based on traditional Chinese lantern styles. Also in the mix were, a large crescent moon, plus a bunch of other unique and individually created styles.
On Saturday 17th February,  our Designs in Mind studio was a hub of activity! Members, staff and volunteers worked hard, attaching night light candles and carry handles to the mass of 140 lanterns! With much excitement and ‘larking about’ leading up to handing all lanterns out, it was a real team effort to get them along to the Memorial Hall for collection, ready for the dusk twilight parade around Cae Glas Park.
During the lantern parade it was wonderful to see all the lanterns glowing with the battery fuelled tealight candles, inserted into the base. They shone brightly through the designs drawn by hand, onto tissue paper. We chose the battery tealight option for safety reasons, while still providing that ambient glow, perfect for twilight!
The twilight parade started at Jubilee Square, proceeding around Cae Glas Park and finishing at The Bailey Head, where this year there were fire performers and bubble fairies ready to wow the crowds.
The day leading up to the lantern parade included live music at various venues, street performers and guided tours. Storytelling sessions, drumming and DJ workshops took place in venues around Oswestry. Meanwhile, at the Designs in Mind studio, a full house attended our block printed tote bag workshop.

blockprintingworkshop2 - Designs in Mind  blockprintingworkshop 1 - Designs in Mind

These workshops were not just about creating Art; they unfolded a journey of self-expression and well-being. Those who attended were under the guidance of our skilled artist facilitator, all working together to create a beautiful block printed tote bag.
Meanwhile, downstairs at Designs in Mind, the Rural Art Hub, run by local artist Joseph Schneider, led a fun and creative ‘Paint the Town’ workshop! Those involved had heaps of fun creating with Joseph on the outside canvas and in the workshops, as the participants ‘painted the town,’ filling photocopied pictures of local blank spaces from around Oswestry with our collages, drawings and painted ideas.

I asked Joseph to share his thoughts about his ‘Paint the Town’ project, he said

Paint the town 1 - Designs in Mind
The event was very well attended with around 11/12 people in each of the 3 workshops. We had a lovely mix of ages form 2 years to teenagers to older adults. The images I took along the images of places and spaces from around Oswestry, mostly buildings with blank spaces, so very much like the Designs in Mind Workshop last year. During the ‘ Paint the Town’ Workshops there was lots of different images created onto those empty spaces with wonderfully messy images from the little ones, as well as lots of lovely riotous, anarchic and energetic images from the teenagers and adults. I absolutely loved running these workshops and looking at the images that emerged”.
Thanks to Joseph for his comments and sharing the pictures with us.
Blog Written & researched by Willow, Member & Social Media Co-ordinator.