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Burning Willow Giants

May 22, 2009

Another Crazy Day lies ahead, but by June 1… things will have cooled a bit so I know I must make hay while the sun shines….but in my early hours of luxurious internet cruising, I wanted to share with you an interesting thing.

wickerman burning man giant willow sculpture fire festival

Have you heard of Burning Man?  I have only through the facebook pictures of some CA based friends who have attended.   The pictures definitely make me ask a few questions.   What is this event all about?  Well I haven’t been but here is what the website says….

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

In Scotland there is a festival of similar creed, called The Wickerman Festival.  I am so intrigued…

Why I am bringing all this up….well because I found both these festival sites through Trevor Leat’s and Alex Riggs’ website.   Each of these festivals climaxes with the burning of a giant human form.   Trevor and Alex build giant human forms – among other beautiful things –  from willow.  Like these hearts that I think are beautiful and completely covetous.  I want to hang them from the rafters inside my barn.

willow hearts by trevor leat

I am also wanting their beautiful handcrafted furniture which is rustic and inviting and perfect for a garden such as mine.

trevor leat garden benches wicker rustic covered scotland wood

Such beautiful things that I am happy do not end up in a giant ball of fire.

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  1. Attending Burning Man is a badge of honor among some young creatives. Here’s a link to an article in last year’s NY Times prior to the event that will give you some of the flavor…

  2. michelle d. says:

    I’ve never attended Burning Man but many of my friends have.
    I haven’t attended it due to health reasons ( the dust and smoke pollution is incredibly horrible ) and although I love the creative spirit of the philosophy , I don’t care to be around mass quantities of people.
    For several of my friends it is a yearly pilgrimage. They spend months making fabulous kinetic sculptures and getting their tents, bicycles and other camping and the dirt storm accroutements ready for the event.
    At this point in my age I enjoy reading and seeing the images in video and photo film but if given the opportunity for a week off of work I would choose to go to a quiet destination that had clean air, a clean comfortable bed, abundant foliage and fauna, fresh water to bath in and all the wonderful affords of quiet nature to create my own ephemeral art assemblages , al la Andy Goldsworthy.

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