In November last year.... just before the festival of Diwali, Meenia asked if I could design a lantern for her. Let me back up a bit, Meenia is the proprietor and juggernaut of a shop here in Oakville called Maker's Mojo. She's energetic, cheerful and hardworking..... Everything you need to be to run a successful business. She's the type of person you want to help if you can.
The request was for a Diwali candle cover but I'm a Canadian who's background is Scottish and Irish and quite frankly, though I had heard of Diwali, I didn't know much about it but it certainly sounded like fun and looked like a blast. Here's a little bit of visual to give you an idea.
This photo of a Diwali reveler is by Gursimrat Ganda and the candle is by Vinayak Dixit both on Unsplash
The thing was, time was of the essence and so, rather than have me feeling around in dark, graphically speaking, Meenia kindly sent me some photos of the flavour of what she was hoping for. She sent me photos of Mehndi designs, henna tattoos, and of Ganesha a Hindi deity. Mehndi is a form of body art and skin decoration usually drawn on hands or legs and is temporary. In Indian tradition the decoration is typically applied during Hindu weddings and festivals like Diwali.
This beautiful image of Mehndi is from Vitaliy Lyubezhanin on Unsplash
There is so much variety and the tradition is so strong graphically speaking her pictures really gave me an idea of the look she was going for. But want I really want to emphasize here is that for me, this was a design challenge like any of my other clients. I didn't even know why she wanted a lantern.
I got to work laying out the lantern design.... giving pride of place to Ganesha (I have the basic details about Ganesha here). Once my design was complete, I went back to Meenia to make sure she liked it before entering the testing phase.
In the end, I made her lantern from black walnut... a particularly dramatic wood and the result was absolutely stunning. So much so that when she posted some pictures on instagram, people were phoning the store to purchase! At this point things got a little crazy...it was just three days until her family's festivities began and I managed to make 17 lanterns in that short time..... I just couldn't make any more. What started as a Diwali gift was by no means ready for production. It was strong and beautiful but the finishing process took ages and Chief Worker Bee was getting pretty annoyed.
This year I have re-visited the design - now with more light! No seriously.... Many of the details have been enlarged so the weeding process is easier and yes, the bi-product of that is more glowing light flowing from the lanterns.
This is my photo.... I think this lantern is fantastic.
This year I know a bit more about Diwali, and I'll be enjoying some of the festivities. Its a beautiful Hindi tradition.