We were gifted by fine weather and a multitude of helping hands, so the Illumination of the Jardin de Fivaz was started on Saturday night, 14-SEP-03 and went off without a hitch.


David and I had done a lot of prep for the event. We'd done some lantern mockups ( click here)   and  we have a few photos from the Saturday prior click here.


Many great friends showed up at the Jardin Anglais, in Neuchâtel, between 14:30 and 15:30. We setup our lantern building work area and organized our tasks, some people folding the pre-marked paper, some cutting the bottom tabs, others gluing, others refolding and checking.


Illumination Prep 1


Illumination Prep 2


By about 17:30 we were done, 500 lanterns had been made. Some of the boys went off to wrap the jardin lamps with garbage bags, which worked well and dimmed them considerably. Hats off to the Irish for being so devious.


Illumination Prep 3


Pizzas were ordered and wine brought in, so we took a short break and then started laying out the patterns that would go up the garden walk. Lay out, candle positioning, deploying the fire pumps, setting up each lantern, and filling it will sand took another 90 minutes. By this time, many others had joined the work, and we actually had complete strangers stop by to help, some of whom stayed with us until we got everything lit. We created 10 diamonds, then two straight lines of lanterns which led into the larger circles of art bags.


Illumination Building the Diamonds


Once the layout was complete, we started our 8 meter radius circle for the art bags (see the plan: Plan for the Jardin de Fivaz ) . After tripping a few people who seemed not to notice the work going on, we had the major circle setup. People kept bringing other painted bags to the installation so our initial target of 50 grew to over 80 by the time the night was done. The art bags took up two concentric circles ultimately.


Lighting each of the lanterns required that we go back to the start and light each one. About 10 of us performed the task in about 15 minutes, lighting approximately 50 lanterns each. Another group was setting up and lighting the candles for the art bags. We began this at about 19:40 as twilight was falling and we wanted to give the candles some time to warm up.


We were now done with the set up and had to begin the monitoring phase of the evening. This wasn’t as easy as you might think, we had to “patrol” 150 meters of lanterns, making sure nothing went amiss. But as we grew used to the setup, we came to realize that there were going to be few problems.


Jardin de Fivaz - Overview          


I can’t estimate the number of people who came, gawked, and wandered through the installation. I’d guess around 500, but I’m really not sure.


We were showered with compliments from all age groups. The children loved it, the old folks loved it, we were really proud of what we’d done.  The art bags were an incredible sight and drew a lot of attention. The press came and photographed the illumination. We expect to have a follow up article in L’Express tomorrow or Wednesday (Monday is a holiday here).


Again, David and I can’ thank those who helped enough.


We began about 23:30 and tore the whole thing down in 60 minutes. We were planning on going to midnight, but we noticed a drop off in attendance and that those who were showing up had been drinking. The cars were packed, lights unmasked, and everything cleaned up by 00:30. The remaining crew went off to a local bar for a drink, then we headed home to store the materials.


The next morning I could hardly move, every bone in my body ached from all the squatting to build, light, or fuss with a lantern. Everyone who was there was very tired as well but very pleased with what had occurred. As our friend Kathy is want to say “Who else do you know …”

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Updated 25-DEC-03