Note: I was just about to publish this FIVE HOURS AGO when I had a power outage. Thankfully it was saved! We had a terrible ice storm the past couple of days and there are many trees down. One of my huge willows in the front lost a limb this afternoon; thankfully it just missed the house. Will post pics and a video soon. Anyway, power is restored and let’s hope it stays that way! p.s. 5 hours ago an estimated 133,000 people in mid- and western MI were without power.
Mandy was a mixed media artist whose constructed creations continued to grow in size and scope. Where her small garage used to contain her work, soon she had to rent a pole building from the neighbor to make them fit.
Mandy was dating Marco, whom she met at their local municipal art gallery at a traveling exhibit of Ai Weiwei. Marco was delighted to learn that Mandy was an artist of large pieces as well.
Marco’s love for large sculptures has started young. Marco had attended the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, since its inception in 1986, when his free-spirited parents took him as a toddler. Marco loved to watch Mandy work. He was encouraging of her creative spirit. Love and encouragement can make magic happen.
Mandy and Marco were on a day trip one beautiful summer afternoon when they saw a billboard for, “Artist Scrapyard: everything you need to build your dream, take Exit 22 and turn Right”. They looked at each other and syncro-harmonized their “Woot! Woot!s”
They weren’t disappointed. Spread out over a good 10 acres were the greatest assemblage of thises and thats they’d ever seen. The caretakers, an old couple probably in their 80s, greeted them as they stepped through the wide, chain-linked gate.
“Have a look around. I’m sure you’ll find just what you need. All prices are negotiable,” said the old woman. The old man just nodded and smiled.
Mandy was in ecstasy as she meandered. There was a cupola from a church with gingerbread, in Queen Anne style. Over there was a disassembled carnival ride, The Scrambler. There were stacks of decorative bricks and rainbow-colored boxes of stained glass. As she walked, certain things called out to her.
After a good hour of walking around, Mandy and Marco approached the rickety office, which looked like it had been a train depot at one point. The stairs creaked as they stepped up, as did the floor to the porch. The old couple sat in comfortable Adirondack rockers, sipping what looked like steaming coffee. They all returned to the yard as Mandy took them to each thing that had called her and made an offer. No offer was refused. The financial transaction completed in the office, Mandy and Marco left to get their large flat bed trailer on which to transport the materials to the pole building.
Mandy was in a fever once the materials were home. She felt she couldn’t sleep, and when she did her dreams were full of events that were confusing but always of a positive energy. Every time she attempted to visualize what she was creating, her mind blurred. It was impossible! Impossible, but on she went.
Marco was preparing for his annual sojourn to Burning Man, coming up in 6 weeks. He had invited Mandy to go and had actually already bought her a ticket in the expectation she would say yes. It was important for her to share this experience with him at least once.
Yet when he asked Mandy about it, she said, “No way, I need to get this finished and time is wasting.”
Marco said, “You don’t even know what it is, and there is no deadline, so how can time be wasting?”
“I don’t know, I just know that it is.”
Dejected, as Marco knew how driven Mandy could be, so he simply accepted it and continued with his preparations. His time with Mandy was less and he stopped visiting the pole building.
Mandy’s excitement continued to build as things were falling into place for the artwork. The cupola was the centerpiece and the steel from the carnival ride jutted out to either side. The pieces of stained glass were first put into lead channels then soldered into place along the steel. She constructed a large sphere with balsa wood and then began to encase it with materials she’d found out during her many walks in the woods. Still she had no idea what she was building. It was like she was being directed by forces outside of herself.
Burning Man was one week away. Each year the height of the festival was the burning of the burning man. It was a sacred event. Marco was leaving in two days to drive out to Nevada. He kept up with Burning Man preparations from their website. That morning he learned that the planned burning man effigy, which had been en route to the site, had been destroyed when a boulder rolled down from a mountainside and crushed it. Organizers were desperate to find a replacement and put out the urgent call on the website.
Marco drove over to the pole barn to tell Mandy the news and to say goodbye. His heart started pumping and his eyes grew large as he walked in and saw Mandy’s sculpture. It looked like the Angel Gabriel, with a trumpet and wings made of rainbows. He had a revelation: Gabriel would be this year’s Burning Man.