HOW WAS A LIGHTS DECORATION BORN?
The lights art is one of the most important and, above all, peculiar arts of the ephemeral festive Apulian tradition.
The first step consisted to make a draft drawing on paper, that, subsequently, was enhanced; often, in this operation, the ground or the road asphalt replaced the sheet.
In the past, in fact, designers preferred to try the effect of the initial draw right on asphalt clearings, because, in looking down, they could see the perspective effect and then to refine the initial sketch.
They really were not simple designers but they were real artists, because they could imagine the ended work, without realizing models and setting curtains with all possible combinations, but they had only the draw,and were endowed only with a great sense of perspective.
The tests were so many, and in the numerous changes, colored chalks were used, that simulated the multicoloured lights to obtain different light effects. They became then the schemes of assemblage for the lights positioning.
From the final sketch they pass to the realization, reproducing on wood and on scal 1:1. The wood used was the fir tree wood for its caracteristics of robustness, the relative lightness, for the ease of cutting and carving; for the quality, essential thing to can realize a work similar to an enormous embroidery, and in the same time, to ensure compactness and solidity.
All the pieces that compose the draw should be easy to assemble and they should permit possible changes and additions in order to create more combinations.
After building the large wooden frames, rich of volutes and doodles, circles, bows, railings, pendants, plumes and roses, the assembly, in its entirety. is checked for positioning and proportions.
The third stage of processing consists in painting the different frames with pearl white paint, because white reflects light.
At the beginning of this beautiful lights experience, when there was still no electric light, the structures were lit using carbide and l’acetylene.
HOW DID THE FIRST "IGNITION" HAPPEN?
In 1932, the electric light was brought to the chest for the first time with a generator of 10 KW.
The lights were colored by the craftsmen, who put them on the side of the ring on a frame and, using a compressor, they spray them with suitable paint; then they were baked in wood-burning ovens that reached a temperature of 50-60 degrees, drying them; with this procedure the bulbs acquired transparency and shine. Subsequently these bulbs, called mignon and micro-mignon, whose electrical potential is between 5 and 25 Volt, were inserted in the appropriate lamp holders already fixed on wooden frames and placed in the electrical circuit by connections “in series” and“in parallelo”.
Many years have passed and modern lighting systems have replaced the older ones over time, although the lights still retain their intrinsic artisanal authenticity.
It should be remembered that, even if the technology allows today an almost unlimited use of chromatic variations, the elegance of the luminary decoration is guaranteed, when you use a few colors well matched together in a harmonious combination.
Among the most renowned pieces are: “l’Arco Reale”, “Moulin Rouge”, “Duomo di Milano”, “l’Arco Gotico”, “il Rosone”, “la Giarrettiera”, “la Conchiglia”, “il Pavone” and so many others.
This is a sample of proposals that, chosen time after time by the Organizing Committee, will illuminate the entrance of the feast and the avenues overlooking the church, where the statue of the Saint is kept, to which similar tributes are dedicated.
WHO ARE THE LIGHTING ARTISTS?
They are a large team consisting essentially of: designers, carpenters, electricians and fitters.
Also with regard to the assembly, in the past they used the few means available or wagons and stairs and they could take several days and several nights to mount all the decorations, then, once the party was over, was dismantled all in the same night to be able to reassemble in another country.
All the effort of assembly is amply repaid at the ignition of the thousand colored lights that stand out in the clear summer nights like gems cleverly set and whose wooden structure disappears. Everything is color and line, measured with skill and stylistic elegance, in an explosion of lights. Then I think it is appropriate to describe the furniture used and the use of it. From the first structures, which are still like the“galleries” and the“cassarmonica”, new structures have been created which have taken the name of“spalliera”, “frontone”, “ and other pieces that can be used to fill empty spaces, such as“bells, “stars”, “candelabra”. All these new furnishings, over time, have established themselves as fixed furnishings.