Road to Beervana 2017

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road to beervana After several weeks of very long days and nights, van packed to full on groaning status, I set off to Wellington, the best little capital in the world, for the epic craft brew event that is Beervana...

The canvas sky of Aotearoa was absolutely stunning the entire drive.  Blue skies teasing from above dramatic cloud forms, almost as if nature knew I needed sustenance for the 7 hour journey.

Wellington holds a very fond place in my heart, I spent many holidays there as a child, splashing in Scorching Bay, riding the trams, and being intrinsically connected to the beautiful city.  Mr LV was born and bred in Lower Hutt, so many stories of his youth fill my heart and mind as I drive about visiting family & friends.

I can personally vouch for the barista at the Taihape BP, a young woman in the middle of nowhere who finally resolved my coffee problem - if the cafe doesn't offer pouring cream for my americano, just get whipped and stir it in.  Thank you young lady, you've revolutionised my lengthy journeys - no need to be sans decent coffee any more...

Beervana is a huge event.  Being selected to provide decorative lighting for the massive Westpac Stadium concourse for such an illustrious event is a gratefully received privilege... as well as a huge logistical challenge.  20 alphalights... no small undertaking.  After my solo drive through the heart of the North Island, I arrived at Westpac Stadium at about 5.15pm.  No time to dilly dally, after checking in with the event managers and getting all the official vendor stuff out of the way, I set about unloading the lights.  HOMEBREW...

9 metres of lights... walk in the event doors and there she is.  There's a little special feeling I get when I see these lights.  And when I see others see these lights.  It's special.  Knowing that Mr LV and I created this magic, and that this magic is sought after at all the best parties.  Pretty damn special.  From HOMEBREW to HOPS....

hops Bearing in mind the lights were placed approximately at quarterly intervals.  And our Van Damme cannot fit into the concourse (or so I thought, next year we'll be driving around (if they have us back!!) as lugging a couple hundred kgs of lights around after a 7 hour drive is less than funtimes... but somehow the adrenaline of being at a wicked cool event and knowing that our lights are going to be a significantly appreciated part of the decor kinda wipes all the fatigue right away...

So, from HOPS to ALE....

ale Yay for strategically placed lily plants.  The ALE was the smallest installation at 3 metres in length, but from perusing social media it definitely was not lacking in love from the patrons.  The final installation was CRAFT, in front of big windows affording a kings view over the port.  

craft You can imagine by the time we (I was now accompanied by my darling cousin who was helping) had placed the last of these letters I was ready to go and get horizontal.  Or at least recline.  And that is exactly what I did.  Stage 1 complete.  Letters delivered and placed.  Home to eat and sleep - 9pm.  Not bad.  Up at 6am, worked for 4 hours, drove for 7 hours, worked for 4 hours.

Alarms are always set when on the job.  I cannot trust myself to awaken naturally, particularly when sleep has been all over the show for a while.  So, crack of dawn (or actually an hour before) at 5.30, up and into it.  Back to Westpac Stadium by 7am, cleaning and prepping the lights for the 2 day onslaught of affection.  People LOVE these lights.  And that makes me very happy.  After finalising the Alphalights, I then set up our area to show what we do.  Make lights.  Hire lights.   Come on brewery owners, you know you want some lights...

And then, as my last task before the gates opened, getting the Light Viking custom built BEERVANA lights looking pretty.  Those lights are becoming like the Las Vegas sign - iconic to the event. Don't believe me?  Search #beervana on social media.

Over the next two days, many people made the pilgrimage to Beervana.  It's an institution in the craft brew world of NZ.  If you haven't been yet, go.  You will love it. Thanks to Beth Brash and team for having us...


Put it in your diary.... Beervana - 10th and 11th August 2018.  Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand.

craftbrew wellington events 


Light Viking
Darcia Mather
Light Viking ©2018

Lighting Up Baycourt

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Custom work is always fun.  There's a large portion of client liaison, from the initial enquiry, where the question usually is something along the lines of "Hey Light Viking, can you give us a quote for" (let's pretend it's...) "Light Viking"?.

 "We'd love to!"

 From this point, we work with our client to establish the size of the lights, the font or design the client would like, and the colours or artwork (Yes, we make all sorts of signage, in lights...).  Then we get down to bizzo.  Because our lights are made by hand, they are fingerprinted with care, love and gratitude.  Every light produced by Light Viking is a metamorphosis of raw metal, metres and metres of electrical wire and many little fiddly components, relying on the weather to be "paint drying" friendly, and then having an independent testing company come in and confirm the work is safe and compliant with NZ Safety Regulations.   The entire process can take weeks.

I tell you this.  Any cuts, smashed fingers, aching feet or back is rapidly forgotten the first time a new creation of light illuminates our studio.  Even though we've now made hundreds of lights,  I stand in that warm, beautiful emanation of light, mesmerised.  I walk around it, photographing it from all angles.  I also talk to it, telling it how pretty it is and how much I love it and am grateful that I can get to do what I love, create light art...

As Light Viking has evolved, we have been fortunate to be selected to create bespoke lighting for some pretty cool clients.  When we were commissioned by Baycourt to create their brand in our marquee style lighting, it felt like coming home in a way.  You see, Mr LV, my husband Ian, was contracted to Tauranga City Council for, gosh, 20 years?  Many local retailers and town residents would recognise Ian, he was out, every morning, collecting the city's parking meter cash, in a rattly old trolley, with his big friendly persona, always taking the time to acknowledge and chat with passers by.  When the old parking meters were replaced with the Pay and Display machines, Ian had more time after work to chat with the locals.  He would often buy the city's residents a hot drink or something to eat.  That's the kind of guy he was.  A kind, gentle soul.  Ian was a humorous man, and would drive through town saying "this is my town honey" - not in an egotistical way, but in a way where it was apparent he took pride in his relationship with the city.

I felt quite emotional about creating lights for Baycourt, as I know Ian would have been so damn proud to have been involved with this project because of his history with the city of Tauranga.  Ian was emptying a parking meter directly opposite Baycourt on upper Wharf St in the pic.

So, back to the project... the actual making of the lights presented a few challenges technically for me, as it was the first project on a frame I had made solo.  I really had to lean on knowledge from others in terms of how to mount the lights, even down to the nuts and bolts I would use.  I spent a bit of time just staring at the completed lights trying to figure this out - hence why they were up at the house... Fortunately, I had a skilled pool of guidance to glean from.  You may be surprised how fiddly and important such a simple sounding exercise is....  particularly when you're dealing with electricity and suspension over the heads of the public.

When we (me and my mum Judy) delivered the lights to Baycourt, there were renovations going on, so we set the lights up in a side room, as they were to be installed in the next few days once the structural works had been completed.  There were sparkies and builders and such, all looking on with curiosity at what we were doing.  And when we switched those babies on as a final test before handing them over to the client, the room was transformed, and the lights seduced a room full of onlookers...

I didn't get to see the lights in situ until a couple of weeks later.  I went to Baycourt not anticipating the lights would yet be installed.  As I walked into the foyer, I was entralled by the lights and the noticeable difference they made to the ambience of the space, somehow warmer and more enticing.  BAYCOURT had been installed, and looked phenomenal.  The lights were and are "en pointe".  The client is absolutely thrilled with them, and the lights now create a sense of "showtime" when patrons first enter the Baycourt building, as well as illuminating the procedures over bubbles and hors d'oeuvres ... how do you even say that word anyway? 

As I left Baycourt that day, it was with a sense of satisfaction, and also sadness that my darling had not been there in person to experience this next chapter of our association with the city.

If you're ever in the 'hood, check those beauties out.  They're part of the heart and soul of Light Viking...

Baycourt image courtesy of Brydie Photography

Light Viking
Darcia Mather
Light Viking ©2018

Adele - The Superstar Experience

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Adele.  A beautiful woman inside and out, who has enchanted fans the world over.  Adeles' current tour will conclude at Wembley Stadium on 2 July 2017.

 adele live 2017 aucklandIt began on 29 February 2016, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and continued throughout Western Europe, North America and Australia and New Zealand.  Quite the mammoth workload, and while in Auckland, Adele admitted, according to The New Zealand Herald... “Touring isn’t something I’m good at. Applause makes me feel a bit vulnerable... I don’t know if I will ever tour again. The only reason I’ve toured is you. I’m not sure if touring is my bag.”

Adele is kind of like a unicorn... incredibly talented, extremely humble, compassionate and real... oh...  and a world wide superstar.

Recently, the 29-year-old pop star, whom also attended a vigil for the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze, visited the Chelsea fire station to thank firefighters for risking their own lives to save others.  This gives us an insight into her authentic humanity.  These are the types of actions that have converted me into a super fan.  Yes, she has the voice of an angel.... but it's her heart (and wicked wit as experienced at the Auckland concert) that has won me over.

 When we were approached to provide lighting for Adeles Auckland concerts - I have to be honest, I read the email, the writer was extremely low key and was just inquiring about the details to hire lights spelling out ADELE... and it took a while for the penny to drop.  After all, there was no mention of a concert, or, trying to impress with name dropping... then again, asking for ADELE really is the ultimate name drop I guess.  I'm a pretty simple, unassuming person, but when the penny dropped, and I googled Adele concert Auckland 2017, and saw that the dates coincided, I checked the time difference between here and Aussie, took a deep breath, and rang the author of THAT email!.  I had to bring every bit of self control to the fore to remain cool, calm and collected.  But I did acknowledge it was a huge deal for us, and we were extremely excited to be involved with such a humongous concert tour. 

 Upon arrival at Mount Smart Stadium to set up the lighting, it was VIP all the way.  So cool, really love the behind the scenes stuff, being a part of something way bigger than self...

 Long story short, we lit up the VIP area with our Alphalights, spelling out the songstresses name in big beautiful lights.  And that, my darlings, was one of the sweetest experiences of my Light Viking journey...

Light Viking
Darcia Mather
Light Viking ©2018