Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Lantern Workshops Light The Way

With preparations for the Great Barrier Reef Festival in full swing, the free community lantern making workshops have proved popular again this year.

Led by dynamic sculpture artist, Lalune Croker, the workshops are lively and interactive, and represent an opportunity for aspiring local artists to get creative and spend time together.

“I love the whole bringing the community together kind of thing, it’s like medicine!” said Lalune.

“All over the world different cultures celebrate the lighting of the lantern, it symbolises new life and everyone joins together, it is so rewarding, there is just something so beautiful about it.”

Lalune is a full-time sculpture artist who specialises in lantern making.

For the past three years she has been the driving force behind the Great Barrier Reef Festival’s Lantern Making Workshops.

She also works with Mackay’s Illuminate Festival and is highly experienced at working with this medium.

Over the past few weeks, 50 lanterns have been created at the two workshops.

The most recent event, held at the Whitsunday Neighbourhood Centre on Saturday, saw dozens of parents attend with their children.

Each lantern takes about 30 minutes to craft, depending on the skill level, age, and speed of the creator, and they are made using largely organic materials.

“It’s all so achievable, anyone can come to one of these workshops and get a feel for it, and make something,” explained Lalune.

“People love working with bamboo and cane and all those organic things.”

Each lantern is made with simple products – cane and bamboo form the frame to the structure and greaseproof paper creates the shell.

They are then stuck together with artist’s masking tape and decorated with colourful crepe paper.

Some of the lanterns will form a display at Coral Sea Marina in time for the Immersive Reef Stories Event on Thursday, August 3.

In addition to the coral inspired lanterns, Lalune has created two enormous whale tale lanterns, the first is over six foot tall and the second is around 5 feet.

These two lanterns will form the centrepiece to the lantern parade.

Over one hundred additional ocean inspired lanterns have also been created at a series of community events over the past few months.

These pop-up stalls have once again proved popular, and children have taken their lantern creations home in preparation for the parade.

All the lanterns will join together on Friday evening, August 4, from 5.30pm and the Lantern Parade is due to kick-off at around 6pm.

The procession will begin at Garden Bar at dusk and families are invited to come and join the fun, walking along the Boardwalk to the Airlie Beach Foreshore.

Twinkling lights will adorn the coastline as the illuminated procession weaves its way towards the festival crowds as onlookers marvel at the display.

Upon reaching the Foreshore, many of the lanterns will be placed at the Immerse Arts Installation, completing the overall artwork.

The Lantern Parade and workshops are funded with thanks to Coral Sea Marina and Regional Arts Fund.

WHAT: Lantern Parade

WHERE: Meet at Garden Bar

WHEN: Friday, August 4 at 5.30pm.

Organiser Lalune Croker (centre), with artists Noemi Martinez (left) and Brigitte Peel (right), plus Brigitte’s two sons, Jajden and Brodie. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Parents enjoyed creating lanterns with their children. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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