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, and we’ll get you on your way to the shop!



a huge thanks for making Soma happen at Maker!

Babs & Erik showing Soma off to the kids at Maker

as lots of you know, the past couple of months and, particularly, the past two weeks have been full of quite a lot of work with Soma. For some folks, it’s been like pre-playa madness trying to get Soma ready for Maker Faire. we’ll be running from about 2-8pm on Saturday and 1-6 pm on Sunday (or until we run out of fuel!!)

we’ve all been working hard — it takes a village to make a shiny, metal, flaming neuron go, yo. people have given up work, skipped out on work early, stayed up late and sacrificed quite a few things to get this done. lots of seasoned FLGers and some AMAZING newbies have stepped up to help prep Soma, set her up at Maker, run the shifts this weekend and get her put away again.

We wanted to take a minute to give a shout out everyone, especially to the geex and the plumbers, for the VERY hard work they’ve done to get Soma up and running as she was meant to run. the geex have worked really hard testing and troubleshooting and fixing, laboring all last weekend and every night this week. they rocked it even though we had to go home early every night. AND the plumbers have worked really hard changing out all the fittings so we don’t burn everything down, re-creating (yet again) the axon pilots, getting all her hoses cut and setting her all set up at Maker.

FLG lovelies, Margaret & Slinky, leak testing this morning

some of the Maker Faire folks and other crafty makers were interviewed this morning on Forum on KQED (the lotus girls even got a mention).  they talked a lot about the beauty of being a ‘maker’ and how it teaches you to love making mistakes instead of being afraid to do the wrong thing. we’re not really taught this as kids. perfection and doing it right the first time is rewarded far more often than is making the mistake, fixing it, and then doing it better because you learned the lesson. as we all know quite well, why do it once…when you can do it three, four or FIVE times?? it’s so much more rewarding that way! some of us got the chance to be out there at Maker today with kids from schools around the Bay Area teaching them all about this and the magic of making really big, beautiful stuff with a group of passionate, dedicated, amazing people.

we build stuff. we try it out. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. it may break. it may burn stuff up. and we always learn something. it’s the beauty of what we do (and the headache, of course), and it’s the reason we LOVE being part of this crazy ride. we get to work with people who are good at teaching each other how to do it better. and we learn something every day. (for example, did you know that bleach is the best way to dilute mercaptan, the substance that gives propane it’s awful smell? well, now you do.)

Sooooo, thank you to everyone who has stepped and made all of this possible. Thanks for being ‘makers.’ we really, really hope you all know how much you are valued and appreciated. without you, NONE of this would be possible. The weekend is going to be a blast!

Here’s to inspiring the HELL out of people this weekend.


catie & britt

Maker Faire!

Flaming Lotus Girl

Originally uploaded by rosendahl

Another Fabulous year at the Maker Faire. Here is a picture of James in Front of Mutopian number 7 by Rosendahl. Go check out his work, its beautiful!

Now that we are done with the Faire we are full steam ahead, literally and figuratively because in our bag of tricks this year will be Steam. Next appearance for Mutopia will be at the Fire Arts Festival in Oakland. Until then you’ll have to stop by the Boxshop to visit, but we might just put you to work, be fair warned.

Love and Kisses,
Flaming Lotus Girls


Since the official nod from Burning Man there has been non-stop FLG action at the Boxshop. We have jumped right into building Mutopia, beginning with Pod #7 (lucky number). Number 7 has two Wing structures that will move via Propane Pneumatics, or in FLG terms Promatics. We learned about using propane instead of air in pneumatics at last years Robodock festival. After seeing the Cockroach with rider (the artist) moving around our plumbers started scheming (they are always scheming) and vola promatics are born. You got to love our Plumbers.Da rootie cuties

Not only do we have Promatics but the Pod is standing! And the decorative root covering is growing and looking Beeeeeeutiful. Here are some of the Rootie Cuties, up until way past their bedtime last night.

Number 7 will make its debut at Yuri’s Night 2PM–2AM Saturday 12 April at NASA AMES Research Center. You realize that is a week away don’t you, yikes! Well you know where we’ll be for the next week … at the boxshop making art and having fun.

If you miss Number 7 at Yuri’s Night don’t worry. We will be at Maker Faire again this year, along with the usual amazing cast of DIY makers. So coming join us!

Love and Mutopian Kisses,
Your Flaming Lotus Girls