Sunday, October 22, 2017

Launching paper lanterns in the desert with 8000 people

Saturday was much anticipated for us. We were going to the Lantern Festival! Even my kids were excited (as teenagers they are generally against getting excited about things).

Mike by the food trucks

After driving an hour out to the desert (Casa Grande, AZ) we waiting in long lines, to get some food.
Outside food was strictly prohibited, they check bags and took it, but vegetarian options were very slim.

People decorating lanterns while waiting for sunset
We waited for sunset on an abandoned stage out of the crowd. Many people decorated and wrote on their lanterns, so we did too.

These are the folded lanterns they gave us at the entrance. Even though I'd never done this kind of thing before I was very careful not to rip or tear the paper as I carried them around. I had a bad feeling about it.

After eating and gathering our things we moved into the crowd by the performance stage and the fire pits. Naomi was very happy that we all received our own "Lantern Festival" lighters at the entrance. We also received s'mores kits which I let everyone else have mine, dinner wasn't sitting well for me.

People all around us started getting their lanterns out and inflated on the cue of the host/singer on stage and they launched one test lantern for the fire marshall to watch the winds. 

This is Naomi getting her lantern out (I hate that it's blurry).

Naomi stood there holding her lit lantern as long as she could waiting for the rest of the crowd to catch up, but then it just wanted to go!

This is Phoebe, holding it while it fills with hot air. She wrote all her personal goals on her lantern.

Mike and Phoebe holding their lanterns.

Phoebe's is almost ready to go!

And my favorite picture is Phoebe launching her lantern. There's such and intensity when you let it go. It has to be ready or it drifts side ways and many flaming lanterns drifted into other people hitting them unaware in the back of the head. No one I saw ever got hurt they'd just grab the flaming thing and push it up trying to help it launch. I was right about holes. Lanterns with holes had a lot of trouble flying.

Mike took this shot of my lantern after take off. On the side I wrote "A Magical Journey", a wish I had for myself and for the lantern.

Once the stress of launching our own lanterns was passed, it was so enchanting to watch the crowd and the sky.

Some people right next to us launching theirs.

From the very beginning of the launch.

It's amazing how these lanterns are a metaphor for life. They all start out neat folded and identical. Each person takes one and write hopes and wishes on the side. Some are treated well, carefully carried till launch and some are neglected with little rips and no writing. At launch they a set a flame and fill up rising like in in life. The ripped ones struggle and with extra help launch, while a few with big holes never get very high. As they fly they go higher and higher till they burn up and reach the end of all they will do.

It took over an hour for all the lanterns to launch. The sky was full of lights for quite a while, but you could see the gray shells of lantern shaped ash drift onto the telephone lines nearby.

As the evening stretched on I realized that I had more than an upset tummy and started making runs to the port a johns (no fun in the dark). 

While Phoebe and I made our way over to the port a johns . Mike and Naomi waited. Naomi saw a stray lantern struggling so she walked over to try and launch it but it wouldn't go. Then she turned around and couldn't find Mike. It was dark and very smokey.  I came back to Mike standing alone and we were both confused. Then Phoebe finally showed up she also had gotten lost in the smoke. Eventually I spotted Naomi and we left the smoke and dust behind. It was a pretty magical night.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Is it Halloween yet?

Sugar Plum Fairy Mask

Right now I'm making masks. All.The. Time. This is a mask of the Sugar Plum Fairy I made
for a custom order. She's from The Nutcracker Suite.

Working constantly makes me think about last summer, wandering through the medina in Tétouan, Morocco. Wishing I was back there. This is a painting Naomi made from the rooftop of the riad.

Frankenstein on stilts

I did take a night off last weekend to go to first Friday.

It was a festival atmosphere since it's one of the first cool evenings we've had for First Friday since April.

We also stopped in to see the opening of my friend, Kyllan Maney's new mural. Which is a stunning addition down on Roosevelt Ave.

Anyway, back to work....

Thursday, September 28, 2017

So many masks and the Science Center

Whit deer custom masks

So, it's September and I'm working on masks of course. All the time. In fact just typing this I'm anxious about all the work I have to do.

Halloween really can't come fast enough.

My big news is that I've been invited to The Sarasota International Chalk Art Festival in November. They're going to fly Naomi (my assistant) and I out to Florida and put us up for a few days! I've never been to Florida and this festival is huge, bringing in artists from all over the world, so I'm super excited!

I did take a day off for Mike's birthday.

We went over to the Science Center, mostly because we had free passes.

But we saw an incredible 3D Imax movie about the South Pacific. It felt so real, it made me wish we could go!! Of course, I want to go everywhere. I do think that scuba diving would be worth the effort to learn though.

Mike by the brain

Afterwards we took a look around at the exhibits.

The 2 of us by the stomach that made digestive noises.

Mike and Phoebe making smoke rings.

This is a fail, just a smoke poof.

And success, they made a ring.

Afterwards we went to over to our friend Kraig's house for an amazing dinner and a movie. It was good to get away from working constantly. So now Mike is 46 and together we continue our march towards 50...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Nutcracker suite and a pumpkin race

I just finished. I sent 8 mouse masks and a mouse king off to Melbourne, Australia for their Nutcracker ballet. Of course that doesn't mean I'm finished, finished. It's September and "back to school"  stuff is over so some Halloween orders have started, as well as odd orders like this one....

"Can you make a small paper mache head of my dog? I want to place it on a pumpkin for a pumpkin race. So the pumpkin will be the body of the dog. Also, this doesn't have to be perfect because the pumpkin will probably crash....just look like a white maltese. I can send a pic. But she is a typical white maltese. I would maybe need two in case it crashes and breaks."

...So I made her this head:

I also looked up pumpkin racing...


Anyway I'm also working on masks for 3 different weddings right now.  This is not a market I thought I'd ever have but apparently people use masks at weddings.

©Amber Hayes

© Amber Hayes

This is my fox mask and my jackalope mask from a wedding photo shoot. I think they look pretty amazing actually. Anyway back to work.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Sketchbooks in Brooklyn and another adventure on the horizon

I found out about this amazing sketchbook library today. I love idea of being part of something so unique, so of course I signed up and my sketchbook I'll be drawing in is already on it's way!

Last week I was invited to be Artist in Residence at Copper Canyon Elementary for the spring this March. The opportunity is mostly working with the children in the 2nd grade classes. It should be fun!

Kilkenny, Ireland

Our most exciting news this week is that Mike, and I have been offered an artist residency at Shankill Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland for next summer!! We're both quite excited. Looks like it's back to applying for some artist mobility grants....

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Yes, we did go to President Trump's rally in Phoenix

Well, we were actually outside of it, marching for unity, and speaking out against his recent comments encouraging the white nationalists.

Phoebe really wanted us to march with the church, so we followed the directions, leaving cell phones at home and scrawling a contact phone # on our body with a sharpie, in case something bad happened.

Streets were blocked off for a mile around the convention center, so we parked near an affiliated church and joined the candle lit march from the downtown area to the rally.

As we marched down Central Ave. chanting "Love not hate makes America great", cars drove by honking and cheering us along. The crowd was full of children,  and families, as well as older elderly people who were doing really well walking in the 105º degree heat (yes, it's still really hot here at night).

Phoebe and I with our signs.

Our group waiting for permission from the police to cross. We were guided by police all the way downtown.

   When we finally reached the convention center the crowd was huge, but I was so hot and Naomi was starving as she skipped dinner, so we popped into a Mexican restaurant for a quick bite and to cool down, before going back over. While Naomi ate we watched the big TV's in the restaurant in shock as the police outside started gassing the crowd. From outside we could hear loud popping and banging. When we got back out the tear gas hit our eyes and went into our lungs. Dazed we passed a man with tearing, puffy eyes talking on a cell phone. He looked at us smiling and said "Just embrace it!"

Walking back

We walked back to the light rail with choppers circling and announcing that anyone in the street will be arrested. Gas and smoke bombs were still going off and the popping noises were terrifying.

Phoebe and Naomi near a mural by the train.

Phoebe posing by the mural.

Naomi posing while I buy train tickets. 

     While we waited for the train, I saw an old friend obviously coming back from the march. She was utterly traumatized. She was in the front next to the barrier holding her sign, and the crowd was chanting "Peaceful protest" facing a line of police with automatic weapons and a lot of well armed Trump supporters. Then someone from  the  group of thousands of protesters threw an empty water bottle towards the police. A moment later she was surrounded with gas and smoke, she and the people around her couldn't breathe. Some people were having what seemed like asthma attacks. There were noise makers the police set off that sounded like gun fire all around her and she ran to the closest open business, which happened to be a Hooters. The restaurant however, barred the door and wouldn't let anyone in, even though people were having serious asthma attacks. Many Trump supporters were inside smiling and filming them in their distress. She was so upset, it sounded terrible, and I couldn't help but worry about all the children I saw in our march down.

So then we came home, and washed off the tear gas, and felt glad that Naomi skipped dinner that night and detoured us at the last minute.

"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...