Missouri Botanical Garden Lantern Festival starts to take shape

8:46 AM, Apr 26, 2012   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

St. Louis (KSDK) - "Traditionally this is what people think is lantern," Spencer Tan said while holding up a lantern.

To be honest, most of us think a lantern is a third of that, but that idea is about to be torched.

"It's meant for a celebration," explained Tan.

Of course, these designers, engineers and artisans aren't celebrating yet, they're too busy working.

"For this show itself we're not only trying to showcase the skill of building a lantern, but we're bringing the whole culture, the history of China," said Tan.

They also brought along more than 72,000 feet of silk, four tons of metal and a whole lot of glue.

"It's so hard to tell people this is a lantern, it's like a structure," Tan added.

When finished there will be 26 very colorful sets throughout the garden and those sets contain more than 3,000 individual pieces, each one custom designed and carefully made by hand, however not all of them will be made of silk.

Old dishes will be tied tightly together to create porcelain dragons. They're also using about 40,000 recycled Chinese Medicine bottles and almost 5,000 plastic bottles. All of which will be illuminated at night with 11,000 light bulbs.

"it's definitely, a lot of work," Tan said.

It's is a pain-staking process that transcends the language barrier and once finished will probably leave visitors speechless.

Lantern Festival: Art by Day, Magic by Night opens Saturday, May 26th and will be at the garden through August 19th.


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