I was a late arrival to last night's Bay Area Peace Lantern Ceremony, held on the 69yth anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. These photos aren't the greatest, shot only with my phone. However, it's always exciting to see paper-based community events! (Ok, and with my boat obsession, FLOATING PAPER!!!)
I was working on a grant application recently, writing about how my studio work as a papermaker is this act of standing up against hegemony. It struck me that to most people, paper is this ubiquitous thing, easily discarded or recycled, and yet that most people intuitively understand that it has a certain delicacy. Due to the choices to make something by hand, to manipulate something that is fragile and easily destroyed, the incredible time commitment of it all, that this take on it might be a little hard to understand.
To me, it is this response to and affect on light where the art of paper gets its power. These lanterns were made of rather cheap drawing paper, but when illuminated and floated on the water, the viewing experience is transformative. Their power comes from their delicate simplicity. It conveys a quietude that invites a viewer to pause, to catch their breathe, to feel a sense of awe.
In the context of last night, it was all that was needed.