Update from the Shop/Lot/Highway/Playa… #11!

I know we don’t have to reiterate how busy we’ve been. The frenzy of accelerated productivity reached fever pitch some weeks ago, and has only increased since. One sure-fire way to feel it is when you step away from your email for 2 hours, and return to find dozens — and I wish I were exaggerating — of messages. Requests for a ride to the shop this evening, announcements about where we’re at on this part of the sculpture, pleas for picking up an additional item (or seven) on your next run to the hardware store. And of course, all-caps reminders that we need all hands, /your/ hands, down at the shop, yes tonight, yes every night.


bark. EVERYwhere.


Lauren carries a slice of mushroom past the disassembled parts of Charlie Gadeken’s Helix.


Matt, persuading metal into the desired shape.


Ted and Lance, solving some problem.


Rolling metal into barkable shapes.


Peter throwing sparks on a mushroom stalk.



margaret sparks




Robin Wood

Robin Hood shows off her old-world alchemist skills — turning metal into wood!



square Jessica

Jessica is such a square.


Denise working the pipe bender.

Lance steering

Ted and Lance steering pipe through the bender.


We sure do generate some interesting scrap from all this.

benches chat

Chatting about the benches for the inside and outside of Xylo’s center.


Joe smooths out the benches’ edges. By the time you see these, they’ll be painted black.

These photos were taken over the past two weeks of shop chaos. This past weekend, we defied 3-space and managed to pack our entire sculpture onto its racks and into its shipping container…

amy on the forks

Amy on the forks.

… and onto a truck…

sidewinder load out

the first load.

… and off on its way, east-bound through Reno and up to the playa. And there was MUCH rejoicing.


the second load.


no, this playa. (Xylo is about where the red dot is.)

Margaret and the truck

muggin’ with the goods.

As of Sunday afternoon, the first part of the sculpture was unloaded and staged on the playa inside the Esplanade circle. By sunset, we were taking a break before dinner, drinking cold beers after a grueling day of 115+°F and gearing up for the night push. Our advance crew has been hitting the build hard: the Big Stumpy frame is up, and much of its bark is attached.  The fire mushroom stems are up too, but the mushroom caps are too hot to work on during the day so we’ll wait to build them at night.

But by the time this post is up, all these updates will be old news. Just know that our crew is killin’ it out there, assembling Xylophage for her maiden run in our favorite environment to show off our art. Come see our big metal thing! Go to 3:45 and Esplanade, face the Man, and start walking. Promise, you’ll know it’s ours when you see it!

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