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Monsters of the Deep appear at Chatham Carnival

15 July 2023

Chatham Carnival was relaunched as a community event in 2021 by Nucleus Arts. This year The Historic Dockyard Chatham crew joined the fun and delighted crowds with sea creature creations.

Over the last few months, we have been working in partnership with Intra Arts to create lanterns inspired by our current temporary exhibition, Monsters of the Deep, to use during the carnival parade.

Xtina Lamb, founder of Intra Arts, delivered creative workshops for a group of home educated young people and their parents, who have used the sessions to achieve their Discover level Arts Award with our Arts Learning Officer whilst on site.

Similar sessions were delivered for a team of Dockyard staff and volunteers, who took part in the carnival alongside the young people.

“As part of the team, I have been putting my creative skills to the test. I originally trained as a graphic designer, so three-dimensional design is far more outside of my comfort zone.”

The first session involved manipulating lengths of willow into various shapes that were built up to create a 3D structure for the lanterns. The willow had been pre-soaked to make it easier to bend.



Xtina with three of our volunteers.



Our Conservator, Karoline Sofie Hennum joining sections of serpent together with cable ties alongside our Digital & Public Engagement Officer, Vikkie Mulford.

The next stage was adding sections of wet strength tissue paper, covered in watered down PVA glue, to the willow structure to form the surface of the lanterns. The final workshop was all about the decoration – we cut out scales and other basic shapes from bright neon paper and pasted them on with yet more PVA glue – very sticky work!


Xtina demonstrating how to attach the tissue paper to the willow structure



Staff and volunteers working on the lanterns – attaching lights and completing tissue paper sections



Our Arts Learning Officer, Louisa Clements, reinforcing some of the tissue paper layers on the lanterns.

The Arts Award group were far more experienced, having worked with Intra before and created some amazing sea creature inspired lanterns. Our staff and volunteers collectively made a sea serpent that is operated in a similar way to a Chinese dragon during the carnival parade.

This has been a great community partnership as well as a staff and volunteer team building activity. We also worked with Nucleus Arts to create sea creature themed outfits for our carnival team.

Did you spot us during the event on Saturday 8th July? If you didn’t make the carnival, you will get another chance to see these creations during the Medway Pride parade on Saturday 19th August.






With thanks to volunteer Ray Fothergill for the photography.

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