TIMF is an awesome party!

On Saturday morning, Merope passed her first fire inspection with the new tricked out fire effects, and with the blessings of the SF Fire Marshal, we ran her through the night at the Treasure Island Music Festival.

Merope ready for the show, before the gates opened. Sitting on a circle of dry wood chips, situated beneath a cable of electrical lights and flags made of synthetic fabric. Perfectly safe.

Merope ready for the show, before the gates opened. Sitting on a circle of dry wood chips, situated beneath a cable of electrical lights and flags made of synthetic fabric. Perfectly safe.

Chilly concert-goers huddle around the hot star for warmth.

Chilly concert-goers huddle around the hot star for warmth.

… and we got a little nod on SFGate: Meike, sharing the gift of poofing with a TIMF-goer.

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!

FLG rocks EDC

A tight crew of neuron-wranglers built Soma this past week, to dazzle the crowds at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. Here they are after the first long night of work, sooty and triumphant.Image

But we know how to get clean in style: Gojo in personalized squirty-tubes, of course.Image

In classic maker fashion, the sculpture gave her creators a few problems during setup; the poofers weren’t cooperating, and the LEDs weren’t in perfect working order straight out of the box. It’s been a few years since we ran this piece. But our determined crew refused to quit until her systems were in working order, which was a heroic feat. Here’s the axon throwing a celebratory fireball into the sky.


As you can see from these shots, our rockstars pulled it all together and got Soma in gorgeous, functioning order: nuclei spinning fire, LEDs pulsing, and balls of flaming gas floating over the crowd.


Here’s how good the sculpture looked during the fireworks show.Image

Soma in the desert dawn makes a good sunrise look even better.Image

Some of our crew, sporting their EDC Soma shirts, and basking in the glow of success. Even the flamingo looks happy.Image

This week in the shop… Update No. 2

Wednesday evening, 7:15pm, we’re hitting this build season HARD. Our metal has arrived, our prototyping is progressing, and we have a gaggle of new FLGs thanks to Maker Faire, our Quatro de Xylo BBQ and other promotional events.


Jordana holds the bin while JDV picks the lucky raffle winner… of one Burning Man ticket!


Any item belonging to FLG gets hot pink tape. In this photo are some new acquisitions. Nothing like a new pile of consumables to get the fabrication energy flowing…


Here’s Brent speaking the Good Word about welding, the core skill of any metal fabricator.


It’s notes like these that really inspire confidence. “This board seems legit.” Awesome.