This year we had fifteen very keen and dedicated Year 9 students who volunteered to be involved with the design and subsequent making of our lantern for the annual City of Lights parade.
Initially students discussed this years theme of 'Remembrance' and were keen to think beyond the remembrance of war. They were very articulate at discussing a variety of interesting ideas and finally agreed that bees would embody a double message of remembrance. The survival of bees in the near-future is under threat because of the use of certain pesticides and environmental factors and it is essential that they are remembered as being a crucial part of our eco systems. Also students wanted to encompass the message that the bee had became a symbol of strength, hope and peace after the Manchester bombing.
The artist that worked with the students this year was Billy Wynter who is an experienced lantern maker and he agreed that the bees with accompanying hives would work well structurally and visually. Billy worked with students for two days and on the first day, most of the students made their own individual bee, with three working together to create a larger Queen Bee. They also made a large central hive structure, which with Billy's help, they managed to make perfectly round and conical. On the second day, there was some detailing to finish before the papering could begin. The lights also had to be positioned so that all the lanterns would have optimal lighting for the evening. The students worked really hard and kept their focus, even when it got fiddly and a bit messy.
All that remained after Billy had left us, was to add paper silhouettes for the decorative details. The students worked brilliantly as a team and it was fantastic to see their ideas coming to life.
On the evening of the parade we all met to enjoy the excitement and buzz in Truro. It was fantastic to see all the other lanterns that local schools, community groups and individual artists had created; we especially admired the beautifully constructed whale that was in front of us. It was also really interesting to see how the theme of remembrance had been interpreted in so many ways.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side but that didn’t curb anyone’s enthusiasm and we joined the parade with our bees buzzing. It was great to see so many people in the audience smile and point at our lanterns . The younger children especially seemed to love them. Another highlight was when we merged with our wonderful samba band and the music and dancing really added to the atmosphere. A great memorable night and a special thanks to the students.