Tympani’s first steps!

Two sculptures at once! Mutopia's racks, Tympani's metal.

We Flaming Lotus Girls are some lucky girls. Not only are we getting to take out Mutopia, which hasn’t been seen in full for nearly 3 years, but we’re creating Tympani Lambada as well.  We’ve made some important milestones that we’re delighted to share. Personally, I have been doing my happy dance a lot lately.

our very first space pigeon!

Our first big steps into reality with Tympani are our first metal order delivery and our first space pigeon.

What, you may ask, the hell is a space pigeon? Our space pigeons are the cross-section shape of Tympani’s arches, and have become a repeating design element throughout the sculpture. They are called space pigeons because during the design process, there are many late nights that involve beer.  On one such night, it was decided that the shape we’d just come up with looked like what pigeons might look like if they went to space. And so, the shape was named.

Ray making the first cuts for Tympani! He loves the new CNC.

We have a distinct change in our arsenal of tools and skills this year. The Boxshop has acquired a CNC plasma cutting machine. Many of us are fairly skilled with a plasma cutter, but theres no competing with robots on some things. Robots may never come up with space pigeons, but they can cut them perfectly over and over again. Its enabling us to save a lot of time with angle grinders (a handy but not widely loved tool). We’re learning the ins and outs of this machine, and are very pleased with the results.

To celebrate our progress, we’re having a BBQ fundraiser at the shop! On Saturday, June 4th, we’re inviting you to come check out where we make our art, see how Tympani is emerging, and visit with pieces of Mutopia. There will be food, drink, music and fire.  Its also the start of our kickstarter campaign! We’ll need your support and help to make our visions of metal and fire into reality. Come say hello to your favorite girls with fire.



Mutopia at Maker Faire!

Lou and Brit discovered just how delightfully climbable mutopia is

Maker Faire is a great event to bring art to. It really is. The crowd is incredibly curious and appreciative, the people who put the event on are awesome, the people bringing things are excited about sharing what they’re doing,  our friends are there with their art, we make new friends, play with robots…  It’s also in the sunshine and there is kettle-corn. These are all good things that make for an awesome weekend.

As part of gearing up to take the full of Mutopia to Las Vegas in about a month, we brought out 2 pods to Maker Faire. This was somewhat special; when Mutopia was being built in 2008, Maker Faire was one of the places a prototype pod was brought. Coming back with a more fine tuned version was very satisfying. The pods went up so quick it was like being an art ninja. One moment theres some parking spaces in a lot, the next, a big piece of pretty!  Of course, our stellar install crew, Lou, Denise and Brit made everything look easy. Mutopia was extra shiny, having received a major touch up job from Robin and her newly trained painting crew. The roots almost outshone the new copper on the promatic weefs (think pneumatics… but with propane. Because we’re like that.)

lots of excited kids...

On Friday we tuned up the electronics that run the buttons, made sure our plumbing was properly screwed,  and talked to about 13,000 kids before showing off to the fire marshals. Mutopia achieved a milestone by running for two days without attempting to light itself on fire… though it nearly got me. I’m pretty sure thats just how it shows affection.

Even with only 2 pods out of 9, Mutopia puts on a great show. The three-way poofers are some good fun, and fire just never gets old. We did a brisk trade in calendars and t-shirts, as well as recruiting new people to come play with us.

Jane is talking about something.... big.

We also got a chance to show off the scale model of our work-in-progress, Tympani Lambada.  The new model (and last) is at a one inch to one foot scale, and the size of the thing is… impressive. The general commentary was “can’t wait to see it out there!” (at burning man.) We can’t wait to see it too! We are making our first metal order for building this week, which is quite exciting. Fabrication begins so soon I can almost taste the welding fumes. As always, we love having new volunteers… so if you’re thinking you need to make a giant work of art this summer, we can help with that. Send us an email at info@flaminglotus.com, and we’ll get you on your way to the shop!



big sculptures start out little, and angry tree!

lou, matthew, brit and matt working on the tympani model

Momentum is gathering around  Tympani Lambada, our new piece for burning man.

One of the things we’ve learned about making  big sculptures is that it helps to have a scale model of what you’re planning to build.  It really helps if that model can also represent where the sculpture comes apart, which is an important thing for us to plan for.  Most of our sculptures breakdown and pack into 40 foot shipping containers, and though this does place some size restrictions on pieces, it’s a great way to store and ship large sculptures. Getting everything to fit in the container can be a bit of a trick, but  we’re well known for our nice racks.

our curvy arches

our curvy arches

Tympani is a long way from getting put into a container, but its something we have to keep in mind while figuring out just how we’re building this massive thing. We’ve been making a new 1 inch to 1 foot scale model of Tympani… and I’m occasionally struck by how large it will be.

(though I’m sure I’ll think its too small on playa, but theres something wrong with me like that.)

There’s also been some side research going on concerning the world of forced air flame effects.  Its a particularly loud and hot type of fire effect,

angry tree! our mini-therm. we heart you guys.

one that our friends at Therm have been doing for a long time, but we haven’t gone there. Until now.  Its a LOT of fun.

Luckily for me,  my friend Sam Reese has also been venturing into the realm of forced air effects, so using a manifold he put together and some scrap we found around the yard, we’ve gotten some experiments going. The current favorite is dubbed “angry tree” … and we’ve already had some fun at parties with it.

Tympani’s fire is pretty exciting… theres also the cochlea methanol fountain, for which model making is also under way. We’re unable to resist putting a liquid shooter on top.

And of course, we’re gearing up for some fundraising. If only metal grew on trees and propane fell from the sky…  keep an eye out for some events from us soon!

xo, margaret

oh hey, we got that burning man grant!

tympani lambada, illustration by sierra murphree

Flaming Lotus Girls are delighted to announce that we have been funded by Burning Man for Tympani Lambada! This is exciting news for all of us, as you might imagine. We’re honored to be bringing a sculpture to the playa this year to share with everyone… it truly is a privilege and a pleasure to build for burning man. Check out the project here: http://tympanilambada.wordpress.com/

there is a lot of this sort of thing.

Work is already beginning at the Boxshop in parallel with the Mutopia re-emergence. It’s interesting to be working on 2 projects that are at such different stages in their creation cycles. On one end, we have Mutopia, which is already built and has its own aesthetic already. Most of the work on Mutopia is geek, casting and  plumbing, with some re-fabrication to more fully realize an already existing sculpture.

Tympani, on the other hand, is just being born. We’re working on a scale model and finalizing our vision for the overall design, experimenting with new fire effects, and transitioning from the dream phase to the reality of metal and gravity. This means… a lot of drawing on the work tables and a lot of imagining how it will all go together. Dreams of lines and forms give way to dreams of flanges and trusses.
There is a lot going on at the boxshop with FLG these days! Mutopia is in and out of the box again, Tympani is underway, and we’re gearing up for a fantastic build season. And yes, there is a place for you. Come join us! No experience needed.
send inquires to: info@flaminglotus.com
expect some updates from the shop in the next couple days; I’m catching up on this blog thing.