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:

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:
expect some updates from the shop in the next couple days; I’m catching up on this blog thing.

Beyond Wonderlot: Mutopia sends out a pod

pod 5 at beyond wonderland... even with a fence, still awesome.

Heres a recap of our adventures with Pod 5 of Mutopia down in San Bernadino a couple of weekends ago.  Overall, it was pretty fun. Check the full array of pictures here:

Beyond Wonderland (or as it was dubbed by various art groups, “Beyond Wonderlot”) went well. Thanks to Bethany and her friend’s help with loading up, Denise, Jax, Anthony and myself got going on thursday and made good time on the drive down. Anthony and Densie piloted the box truck while Jax and I had a lot of time to consider the aesthetics of the back of the budget truck paint job. We met our 7am call time at the event site with ease on Friday, as did our production manager, Ian. (I think he was a little surprised with punctual artists.)

up it goes!

Pod 5 went up no problem, Denise learned to drive the VR, the fire marshals looked forward to pushing the buttons, and overall, we had an easy run of it. We obtained interesting factoids along the way, such as the ability to pick a fully build pod 5 up by its landing pad pick point and move it 60ft to the left when the production peeps realized they’d really rather have it over THERE. The weef stems may need a little re-adjustment, but they look great- especially with their shiny paint job (thanks again robin!).

we heart heavy equipment... especially when we get to drive.

The fishbug and syzigryd crews were also in attendance; “you’re doing it wrong” was synonymous  with “hello”.   We all helped each other out with obscure plumbing parts, and generally hung out in each others fuel depots during downtimes. Insomniac seemed to have paid attention to complaints from the last event; there  was a VR designated for ART, and we shared amongst ourselves with no issue.

We managed to get away with only 1 home depot run for set up. Hooray for having the best inventory of plumbing parts.

no more leaky seam...

Saturday, the day of the event, was much more exciting. Things went well-ish. There were some situations, they got resolved. A leaky water trough was handily reparied with AB epoxy(go denise!), mutopia tried to eat itself again (so cute.), and a button malfunction was repaired in the field (yay anthony!). Pod 5 was once again on fire and widely enjoyed by the masses of candy ravers (who were really sweet and fun… such big pupils!). The crowd had a fun time pushing the buttons and were very excited about the fire.
We ran the piece for about 7 hours, with a few breaks scattered throughout. Good times!

and... we left before it started raining. Win!

Break-down went smoothly, took about 2 hours. Thanks to Denise’s VR operation and some help from Hassan from the Fishbug crew, we got everything unbolted, yanked out, packed up and strapped down before it started raining.

uh oh.

It rained most of the way home. We saw exciting accidents, flooding, sheep, and interesting railroad machinery. And more accidents. We obtained fudge. Things got a little silly. There was pea soup for dinner.

Big big thanks to:
Fishbug Crew for the occasional hand, taxi service, catering, big love and the occasional plumbing bit.
Syzigryd for our industrial artists guild (IAG) contract enforcement, friendly visits and dinner date.
Insomniac crew for being on top of things this go-around. Yay!

Anthony for driving the ENTIRE time.
Slinky, JDV, Babs and Ray for helping us execute a super quick unload. Yay!

all and all, beyond wonderlot was a triumphant success. We rose to the challenge and each gave 133.33%. Go team!

We’re eagerly anticipating showing the full mutopia at EDC in June.



May the geek fun begin

The flaming lotus geeks haved started pulling out the electronics for Mutopia and seeing what state they are in.

It’s looking good… the LEDs on the tentacles still work, and the main brain box for Pod #5 is in suspiciously good shape. Last night, we started assembling Pod 5 and hope to get its fire, electronics and widgets working in the next week, ready for showtime.


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