A new year and a new project!


Ever wonder how we come up with projects within Flaming Lotus Girls? As a collective, the process of brainstorming and choosing a project is done together. This lets us pool our creativity and come up with something spectacular. The CliffsNotes version is this: after hours of brainstorming, we narrow down all our ideas to a few main proposals. From there, we vote a few times, and we select one proposal as the group’s project for the year. This year, we started the process in October, much earlier than we ever have before. This gave us some extra time to devote to design and planning before we dove into writing a proposal for the project.

The vestibular system and cochlea. These elegant forms can be found just past the eardrum.

The end result of all of this work is the Flaming Lotus Girls’ 2011 endeavor: an enormous sculpture named Tympani Lambada. We’ve reached deep inside the ear canal to bring forth the beautiful structures of the inner ear — the vestibular system and cochlea — which enable us to balance and hear sound. The delicate tendon-like spans, soaring arches and golden spirals have captured our imagination, and we’d like to set them on fire.

Frustration is the new Fun!

Of course, the idea is only the beginning of the process. For the past couple months, we’ve been deeply embroiled in the design process. Sketches have been made, models have been tacked together, and the overall inspiration has begun to solidify. This process is both fun and frustrating. It’s a stage where we dream up the biggest, most complicated and awe inspiring things we can imagine, which is fun. The frustrating bit is figuring out just how much of that we can get away with in actually building it.

It’s also been fun to make the model of this structure, which I did with wire-frame, baling wire, and a welder. This helps us get an idea of where things will go and what they’ll look like. 3-D modeling programs are the new hot thing, allowing us to do the same model in virtual space, changing elements like curves and angles with ease. Though I can turn out a physical model well enough, the graphics programs make me a little itchy. Fortunately, there are people more inclined to making pretty 3-D pictures. Some of these folks, like Orion Fredericks, will sit down with me and come up with something in exchange for cookies. Delicious home-baked cookies.

Design work is Fun!

Especially with waffles. Slinky, John DeVenezia and myself got to work last Saturday on the cochlea design. The intention with the cochlea has been to expose the interior spiral, using methanol to make a fiery fountain. The cochlea is the structure within the ear that registers sound and pitch. It’s part of how you know treble from bass. It naturally has a delicately-shaped shelf spiraling through the middle which is what has made us reach for the liquid fire.

Interior of the cochlea.

The problem we’ve been stuck on has been exactly how to “expose” the spiral in a way that makes it clear that we are indeed exposing something that would be normally hidden. Tricky, but I think we’ve come up with a good plan. Also, there were waffles. Crunchy blue-cornmeal waffles. :)

So, what’s it look like, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. We’re gonna hold you in suspense for a while longer. It’s better that way:) Stay tuned for more updates projects!



Leave a comment


  1. allen st. john

     /  January 31, 2011

    Hey Margaret. I’m a writer for Popular Mechanics and I would like to speak to your or other FLGs for a piece I’m writing about DIY/artisan communities.
    Sent something to the e-mail and didn’t hear back, and no one answered the phone.
    HELP! Im on deadline.
    Please email me at avincent52 AT aol DOT com
    or call me at NINE SEVEN THREE … SEVEN 4 4 – TWO 359.

    thanks in advance
    allen st. john

  2. “Appreciate you discussing, great post.Really looking forward to read more. Excellent.”


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