Volunteering: Newbury Festival of Light


In mid-2018 I went to the library to scan a page from my notebook for another post on this site. On my way out I saw a leaflet from the Newbury Corn Exchange with a rather charming picture of a giant glowing squid; I grabbed it and started reading through it once I’d got in the car. I was instantly interested in the Lantern Making for the Brave and booked it for me, and my parents! This involved making a lantern while being instructed and assisted by experts, then marching in the street with it accompanied by others during an event.

This post describes the work that was involved in making our lantern, as well as the main event.

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Pangaea: Honeycomb and the many lessons that can be learned making it


For the Pangaea launch party we wanted to make the SU Bar appear like it had been colonized by bees; for this I’d planned to purchase large rolls of honeycomb core, spray paint them yellow, then create glistening golden stalactites of resin to represent honey. Unfortunately we did not have the correct equipment to make the stalactites, and the honeycomb core wasn’t going to arrive in time. Here’s what I came up with as an alternative.

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Pangaea: A steaming barrel of toxic waste

During the Pangaea Project, the stage that I headed was called Age of Discovery, which focused on the industrial and scientific achievements of Manchester. The issue is I also wanted to highlight the negative impacts of this progress. I didn’t get to explore this area as much as I wanted to, but this is what I managed to do, a steaming barrel of toxic waste:

To start I got a large milk powder can, emptied it (I gave the contents to the office up stairs), spray painted it matte silver, and had an artist team member draw a skull and crossbones in a yellow triangle on it. I then used glittery blue, green, and yellow hot glue to make the drip patterns over the edge, and piled a small amount at the base on a piece of baking paper (to make the effect of a puddle). I then mounted an LED fogger inside. Click “Continue Reading” to see how I could have improved.

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Pangaea: Atom

One of the projects I’m proudest of having worked on was Pangaea Festival 2018. In this I was promoted to the head of a stage, and was given free reign to design and decorate one of the stages, Age of Discovery. One of the items I made to decorate this room was giant spinning atoms:

I made this out of three wiggly metal rings hot glue gunned together at right angles. Four atoms were connected together (varying numbers and colors for other atoms) and tied up with fishing line and suspended from one of the rings. The entire thing was then hung from a disco ball hook to allow it to spin.

Overall this was a success, but I was disappointed on two major points:

  • The three rings were difficult to hold together while gluing
  • The glue wasn’t strong enough to hold them together and many broke before properly being hung up  (if I had more time and money I would have used a scratch stone to identify the metal and used the correct type of solder to join them)
  • Some of the disco ball hooks didn’t work