Heronsilver was created by Fizzgigs and funded by Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership Trust to be part of Merefest on 20th September 2014. The brief was to organise and create a parade with willow lanterns that would fit into the ethos of the Merefest event – to celebrate the local Meres and Mosses landscape and habitat with art and activities.
We had quite fancied the idea of creating a shadow play and thought that this would be an ideal opportunity, to incorporate it as a destination for the procession to be led. The location in the woods by the mere, where could be more perfect! A lantern parade through the woods to end at the Sssssshhhhh sculpture clearing with a shadow play…and maybe a few surprises along the way!
So we held free community lantern making workshops during the weekend of the Ellesmere Festival, the weekend before Merefest. Members of the community of all ages came along and made beautiful willow lanterns and decorated them with drawn and cut out silhouettes of local wildlife, beautiful heron’s, butterflies, dragon flies, frogs to name but a few.
On the day of Merefest we ran a free drop in lantern making stall where anyone could stop by and make a star wand lantern so that they could join in the evening parade. We were flat out busy all day long with at least 70 star wand lanterns made and lots of happy and excited children.
At 7.30 pm as dusk was falling on the Mere and a slightly misty twilight, the parade assembled and the lanterns were lit. Just one of our surprises was what we call ‘The Fin-tastic Fish Wiggler’ and as the parade started this peddle powered contraption was led through the crowd by the musicians and the parade of lanterneers fell in behind. As the procession moved along the now dark and very atmospheric woodland path there came a progressive realisation of our ‘surprises’. Giant lanterns positioned within the woods and floating on the mere, and a pair of elegant Herons joined the front of the parade with fire torch to lead the way into the deep dark woods…
Once in the clearing the estimated 200-300 people of the procession arced around the fire-can lit space in front of the shadow screen, there began beautiful choral music performed by Mere Melodies and then the shadow play, Heronsilver. It is a tale of a fisherman out on the mere one night and his strange and magical encounters with local mythical heroes and villains and a magic bucket that turns moonlit water to silver coins. The enchanted silver coins in turn glisten and the glinting spangles in the trees burst wings to become magic silver Herons.
We would like to say a big thank you to Ian Wright for being our Fizzgigs photographer.
We would also like to say a big thank you to Ben Davies who also kindly photographed the evening event…
Heronsilver was re-worked to be performed at the Blackberry Fair in Whitchurch on the 4th of October, 2014
A Poem: The tale of Heronsilver
There was also a poem written written by Claire Cartlidge, of Fizzgigs, during the run up to the event and tells the tale of Heronsilver.Please take a moment to click here and read it .
We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped to make this event happen.
Here are some of the people that gave their time and talents to bring a little magic into the woods by the Mere…
This list is in alphabetical order and I’m sure is not complete but thank you all…
Event co-ordinator: Cathy Andrew
Artistic Director: Tony Lewery
Director: Tony Lewery
Story: Cathy Andrew, adapted by Tony Lewery
Music Director: Peter Cartlidge
Peter Cartlidge (Melodian)
Roger Garland (Percussion)
Steve Thomas (Flute & whistle)
Mirjana Garland (Melodian)
Technical and backstage;
The Fin-tastic Fish-wiggling Contraption
Design & Build: Peter Cartlidge
Bob Richards (The Snail)
Cathy Andrew (The Pike & The Bird)
Claire Cartlidge (The Owl)
Harriet Rose (The Dragonfly)
Ian Andrew (Fisherman in a boat)
Mary Lewery (The Heron)
Mick Higgins & Dawn Edwards (The Moon)
Tony Lewery (The Swan)
Sculptural Lantern Installation team
Procession leaders : Edward Bevan (fore), Amanda Bevan (aft)
Peter & Lynn
The (mad) Drop-In Lantern Workshop
Woodland pathway lights: Jackie Jeffrey & Mike Jeffrey
Willow the wisp: Tony Boyes
Thanks to Luke Neil for giving us the opportunity to make this happen and to Wendy Salter for her tireless efforts to help.