Heather's blog

First LED LampThis experiment has been a fun challenge so far. I have been exploring how to get most light out of the least amount power.

I have started by identifying areas that will need lighting and breaking these categories down into projects. I have determined that I will need lights for basic illumination, some lights to add texture and provide safety for the actors, pathway lighting, and special lighting to highlight unique set pieces and costumes.

Since I will need the most light for the least amount of power I started learning what I could about LEDs. The first LED project I tackled was building my own LED light following the instructions at AllEnergies.net http://allenergies.net/lighting/ledlight.html

The first lamp I made did not have the LEDs wired up in the correct configuration. This first attempt is pictured in the above photo.

Faux Glass FlowersI found several interesting DYI posts on making flowers out of recycled pop bottles. I tried following the instructions and began to develop my own technique. I also have been experimenting with lighting the faux glass flowers with reused agricultural cloth to diffuse
the light and LED strip lights.
Faux Glass Flowers

Project Idea: Construct solar energy system to power lighting for Stone Town Theatre Works outdoor production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Carrot and Stick - a Community Farm and Workshop with performances in Late Spring or Early Summer 2012. I hope to learn, experiment, and have fun exploring solar energy projects with each small project providing a building block towards my goal. I hope that the solar project and production will embody the reverence to nature that is present in the language of the play.

I love being involved in outdoor productions of Shakespere’s plays and I enjoy watching productions in parks and other outdoor venues. So much of Shakespeare’s rich language is focused on the beauty of nature that an open air setting is ideal. When Lorenzo tells his love, Jessica, “the moon shines bright...in such a night as this…when the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees” or Hamlet says “this majestical roof fretted with golden fire” if I am able to look up and see the stars or feel the wind that inspired this language it brings home the beauty of Skaespeare’s poetry.

The challenge is that at evening performances with curtain times around 7pm or 8pm - around intermission the sun sets. For small independent companies including Stone Town challenges like limited availability to electricity, portability, limited resources and funds are prohibitive to producing outdoor events.

My goal is to provide enough light so the audience can see the actors after the sun sets till the end of the play. I hope to make the system flexible and mobile so that it can be used again at other outdoor venues. I do not hope to provide diming capability, color lights or other common features of theatrical lighting – I will be thrilled if I am able to just provide enough light to see during the needed amount of time.

I have been interested in constructing my own solar panels and finding the most efficient use of power to make stored solar energy produce the most light with the least amount of power.

I have no experience building solar panels or constructing lighting instruments but I am excited to learn and explore. I hope that you will help with the adventure by sending ideas, comments, advice and inspirations.

With the help of my Stone Town production partners Jeff and Donald and the inspiring people at The Carrot and Stick I hope to learn a lot and hopefully produce something useful.