Sunday, September 13, 2009


This was taken after two days of dust, wind and sun, working my butt off to get Vishnu's Dream set up on the playa. The photo says it all!

Burning Man Pix

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Vishnu's Dream a Success! (well, mostly)

We're back from Burning Man and slowly re-entering the default world, reassembling body parts after the 1,000+ mile drive... Our minds may follow in a few days

Vishnu's Dream was a success! We needed way more time to assemble it than I expected, but it went up without problems thanks to the support of Steven, Fred, Alan and Deedee, and about twenty Burners we flagged down to help with tilting it up into place. It survived the winds which seemed way more frequent this year than last time. The windmill self-destructed so the "whirling images of the playa" never worked as intended, but the digital images from the infrared camera worked and provided a nice disorienting effect at night... (you had to be there...) And it was definitely the centerpiece of the 9:00 plaza. Steven's cobra heads were awesome too!

Here's a picture during the day and another at night.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shared Creation

A project this scale takes many hands (see blog entry below about painting the murals). But some of those hands aren't even local. In fact some of them are in Seattle. Steven Wright, aka "Buckaroo," is building the cobra heads in Seattle with the help of nephew Danny and neighbor Cindy.

Lots of e-mails and phone calls and pix flying through the e world to make this happen right: how big to make the heads, how to light the eyes and mouth, how many amps is that, how will we mount them to the mural frame?? And just in case, bring some green paint and a hacksaw to field fit if necessary...

And just to show you Steven is doing Burning Man right he's rented a panel van to haul all this to the playa, is plotting how to make a big sun shelter for our camp, and trying to squeeze in some work too.

Here are some photos of the cobra heads under construction.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We're Famous!!

OK, so actually we haven't even made it to the playa yet and I don't know for sure that everything will actually fit together and work right... but that's all part of the art process, right? Right?? Well, check out the Burning Blog for a perfect description of what the art process is all about - all the uncertainties and challenges and yes, joys.

Vishnu's Dream was listed as one of Moze's top ten art installation for this year. How cool is that? But... now the pressure is on to be sure it all works out right. Well, there's that "trust the Universe" thing again as I like to say. Everything seems to be falling into place, so ya gotta trust that it's meant to be.

Meanwhile, Steven is getting the cobra heads finished in Seattle and I'm doing the last few finish items here in Estes. And Deedee is finishing my bike for the playa, rusticating a few cobras for it, etc. We'll hook up some EL lights for our bikes soon. Check out her blog entries about her bike here.

Getting psyched to GET ON THE ROAD and get to the playa! Woohoo! Joe

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mural Painted!

Sunday we had a painting party for the mural. (It's 10' x 39') Janice, Kathy, Jane, Rex and Jolee helped Deedee and me for most of the day and we got it all done! Looks great! Everyone seemed to find their place on the mural and we didn't have too much worry over about stepping on top of each other or letting the paint dry or keeping busy. It was fun, if long, day.

The Lotus Petals Fit!

Here's a photo of the top cone with the outer lotus petals installed. Carla did a beautiful job sewing the petals - it all fit together perfectly!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Almost Done!

Twenty five days until we launch out of here with a trailer full of Vishnu's Dream. And "The List" is down to a few days of miscellaneous work plus the painting party. So... I may have time to have a life this summer after all!

I've gotten wonderful support from Carla who sewed the lotus petals (that saved me a week of work) and Terri who sewed the windmill petals this weekend.

Here's a picture of the cone with the fabric on it and one of Carla's petals. It's finally looking like something!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Burning Man confirms great placement for Vishnu's Dream!

Burning Man confirmed that the location for Vishnu's Dream will be in the 9:00 plaza (also called "keyhole"). This is one of the two most coveted spots for art to be displayed since there is lots of action in the plazas meaning that lots of people will see it. So... woohoo!

Also, we have confirmation that B-man will be paying for our entry plus for our set up crew's entry. Further affirmation that this folly is worth the effort!

Now the pressure is on to be sure it all works right, survives the wind and gets there in good condition. Hope to try out the camera obscura mechanism this weekend. Then next weekend it's the painting party (see blog entry below) and we're just about done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mark Your Calendar!

Vishnu's Dream is nearly built so mark your calendar for the send off party which will be held at Joe's house the evening of Saturday, August 22nd at 6:30PM. Just like Burning Man, this will be a "Leave No Trace" event: bring something edible to share and your own plates and utensils, etc. We'll have Vishnu's Dream set up for viewing and you'll be able to go inside it, etc.

If you can't visit for the party in the evening stop by Saturday anytime or Sunday morning because we'll be in the process of erecting it and then taking it down and packaging it for travel.

Also.... I'm hoping to have a painting party to get the mural scenes painted on Sunday, August 9, location TBD. Bring a paint roller and tray and old clothes and have some fun!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stickers Arrive!

Check out the sticker I made for playa gifting!

You can get one too without having to go to Burning Man - just contribute to the greater good of the project by donating time or $ and I'll send you one (or more) to put on your water bottle or car or intergalactic transport vehicle. Cool, huh??

Here's how you can contribute: Just go to the SUPPORT link on my web site and click on the PayPal link. Credit cards or PayPal accepted! Or show up for the painting party which I'm hoping to hold sometime around August 1st through 8th. (details soon). Lots of other tasks to help with too. Use the CONTACT link on the website to send an e-mail if interested. And if you do contribute, be sure to send me an e-mail with your address so I can mail you a sticker.

We're also working on flags that will be on the guy straps that have the same image on them. For $20 donation we'll give you one of those too!

To date we have received nearly half of the project costs from generous donors and dozens of hours of labor. Your support really helps both in terms of time or dollars but also psychologically in validating your interest in this insanity!!



Friday, June 26, 2009

Rope Lights

The rope lights work! How cool is that?? At Burning Man I'll be using controllers that allow the option of turning these lights on full time, or they can "chase" or I can have them be sound sensitive, pulsing when people talk or to the beat of music - that might be fun.

You can see in the photo that the top portion is shaping up. It's mostly done. It took quite a while to get the proportions right but I think it looks pretty good now. I welded the base drum today. A few more days of smaller tasks and then I can begin sewing the cone and drum covers....

Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friends Save Artist's Sanity!!

Seems like whenever I get bit overwhelmed with this project someone lends a helping hand! Deedee came over Monday and spent the whole day, painting poles and a wonderfully creative cobra on the generator enclosure. And Carla has finished the cobras that will wrap around the anchor straps - great job Carla! Or someone contributes to the finances and my spirits lift. Deedee says self-doubt is just a normal part of the artistic process: wondering why you put so much time and energy into something, particularly something as ephemeral as Burning Man. But it's that very ephemerality that makes the event so special - blink and it's gone, so plunge in and experience it all, because it will be gone tomorrow.
Above is a picture of Carla with a few of the dozen cobras she sewed and of Deedee painting the generator enclosure.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

welding and cutting and brazing - oh my!

Have been so busy welding and cutting and brazing lately that I haven't had time to post a blog entry. Burning Man has the reputation of taking over your life, at least if you do it well, and Vishnu's dream has been no exception.

At this time the top cone sits in the driveway with struts and straps and tubing flailing about. A big challenge was getting everything plumb and leveled so that when it is reassembled on-playa I won't have to take any time  aligning anything - it should all fit together like a pop-up tent and everything will be color coded and numbered which will make reassembly easier.

Welding and brazing have been the biggest tasks to date. Friend Bruce Vaughn helped weld a few weeks ago.  Another friend called Bruce a "tool whore." I thought that was a compliment, after all he has a very cool welding rig that made quick work of the support poles and anchor stakes. Bruce is great for doing male bonding things like creating sparks with tools that can cause explosions or burn down your garage. How cool is that??! Actually Bruce has a little welding shop that he recently built that is as nice as my house. I'm totally jealous...

Assembly of all the parts has been both fun and tedious. Things are fun when you successfully braze together the first tubing socket. Then you realize you have 23 more of these to do! And dozens of other similar tasks.

Hope to finish the cone next weekend then I can try out the camera obscura mechanism and see if the concept actually works!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Model

Here's a picture of the 1:24 scale model I built of Vishnu's Dream. It's big! The disk is about 30 inches in diameter and the model is about 14 inches tall. It is not only for getting a sense of the art and colors and proportions, it is also a "proof of concept" model in that the dimensions for the cone and the dome are sized and formed exactly so that I can order the right amounts of materials and know how to assemble it when I go to 1:1 scale. In other words I want to be sure everything is sized correctly and well thought out before I start welding and sawing and cutting!

Add Image

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Hey Kidz!

We're back! Back from Bali, actually where Deedee and I spent three wonderful weeks immersed in the warmth and hospitality of the beautiful Balinese people, seeing temples, relaxing on the beach, and buying sculptures and wood carvings and batik sarongs. Actually, my sarong will be good attire for Burning Man! For lots more on Bali you can check out Deedee's blog at

After finally integrating all my body parts back in this hemisphere, I'm ready to get started on the construction of Vishnu's Dream! Burning Man declined to fund the full scale version of Vishnu's Dream (248 grant proposals and only a dozen or so new artists funded) but I got the impression they were at least intrigued AND they are paying our way there by giving us free tickets to the event! 

The final version of Vishnu's Dream will be a bit smaller than the grant proposal: 27 feet high, 12 feet in diameter at the base, and 40 feet total diameter. This will be a bit less intimidating to build and about half the cost. I have already purchased many of the supplies including the electrical conduit struts, lighting, nuts, bots, straps, buckles, etc. Almost everything else has been researched and sourced.

Part of the fun is figuring out ways to get this built for a reasonable cost. For example, I needed a rear projection screen for the camera obscura, but commercial screen is $4 a square foot. That would be about $400 for what I need! The solution I came up with is...... a frosted shower curtain... for $6. Lots of research on the web and lots of planning, but it will all pay off when it comes to the final cost.

This weekend I'll start on the camera obscura mechanism and the lotus petal windmill for the top. If you're passing by Fish Creek Road, stop in and say hello!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Off to a Great Start!

Another cold, windy night in Estes so I'm looking forward to the playa and 100 degree heat! Too bad I'll have to wait until August for that...
In the meantime lots has transpired for Vishnu's Dream. Early support has been very enthusiastic! We have had discussions with Christine at The Artist's Nook in Ft. Collins and with Linda at the Cutural Arts Council of Estes Park on possible presentations on the art of Burning Man and our project. And we have talked to artist Jill Powers in Boulder about doing a presentation as an adjunct to her Earth Art Class in February and March.
The really amazing news is that we have already raised $845 for the project! Thanks to all who have contributed already - your generosity is most appreciated! We'll be having several other fund raisers in the spring and summer to bring this dream (madness??) to fruition so check back here or at our website for more information. We're hoping to raise $2,000 so we're already 42% there!
Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to buying some materials and getting started. First task: build a prototype of one of the lotus petals to see if the design really will hold up to the wind storms that pummel the playa on occasion. Getting a good wind for the test won't be a problem!

Make the Dream Real!

Vishnu's Dream is an ambitious project! To make the dream real, there are many ways you can contribute. We'll be looking for help to build the frames, sew the fabric and paint the murals. These tasks will take place this spring and summer and we will welcome your help!

In the meantime you can help with a financial contribution. Check out our PayPal Donation link below!