Redbridge Bottle Festoons will be lighting up London in January!

In January 2016, Lumiere London came to the capital for the first time. This London light festival, which saw large parts of the West End pedestrianised, including Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly, brought more than one million visitors to the city over four nights!

From 18-21 January 2018, it returns, bigger, brighter and bolder. More than 40 UK and international artists reimagine London’s iconic architecture and streets, and will transform the city into a dazzling nocturnal art exhibition. Free to visit and taking place north and south of the river Thames, the UK’s largest light festival extends its reach across the capital and everyone is invited!

As a local artist who only launched Barkingside Art Club less than a year ago, I feel privileged to be a part of Lumiere London and having had the chance to work with Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure and the London Borough of Redbridge on a national project creating art from recycled plastic bottles to form shimmering chandeliers that will be used to decorate the streets of London.

Helping the local community through running Bottle Festoon Workshops and promoting recycling has been an enjoyable experience. Working with Samantha Goodey from the Redbridge Culture team was very pleasant as she provided support in every workshop, from the planning to the workshop activities themselves.

Our journey together began with an outdoor workshop in Ken Aston Square, Barkingside during the annual Christmas Tree Light Up. Despite the freezing cold weather, people huddled around our set-up and were eager to cut bottles and create chandeliers. It was a fantastic environment to hold a workshop given how enthusiastic and cheerful the public were. We quickly realised people of all ages found something alluring about creating the chandeliers – the therapeutic aspect of concentrating and cutting bottles. As the night progressed, we moved our workshop into Fullwell Cross Library where people continued working until the event ended.Bottle craft 2017 Fullwood PrimaryThe next workshop took place at Fullwood Primary School. Children were ecstatic at the opportunity to get involved in an artistic activity and surprisingly made more chandeliers than some of the adults did – around 160 bottles in total. It was refreshing seeing children take an interest in art and recycling. Their participation was extremely helpful.Bottle festoon at RDCRedbridge Drama Centre hosted our third workshop where families went a step further and brought in their own bottles to create chandeliers and be a part of Lumiere London. This was wonderful to see as the workshop had a noticeable effect on the local community who had found an artistic way to recycle!Bottle craft 2017 Redbridge LibraryOur fourth workshop was at Redbridge Central Library. The workshop was set up in the centre of the library and people were clueless as to what was happening. It wasn’t long before people caught on, began asking us about Lumiere London and got involved by cutting bottles. Some members of the public enjoyed the therapeutic aspect of cutting so much that they sat down and cut bottles for the whole duration of our workshop. In the end, we went through 250 bottles in merely 2 hours.Elhap.jpg_largeThe final workshop took place at ELHAP. We had another inspiring experience seeing people motivated and completely concentrated on creating chandeliers. It was a positive experience for us as hosts and for the participants as we all enjoyed our time together creating something special.Bottle craft 2017 ElhapBeing a part of Lumiere London has been a productive and memorable experience for me. It’s always pleasant to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and doing something positive for the environment. I have learnt a lot about the local community through this journey and discovered new ways to lead arts and crafts activities which are particularly enjoyable for children with SEN who focus on sensory activities.

This is one of two installations that Redbridge are involved with for Lumiere London. The second is the Umbrella dance project, a workshop culminating with a performance at the festival.  To find out more or to get involved visit the website

To find out more about Lumiere London, visit the website

Guest Author: Eliyah Qureshi


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