In late September, Ignition Northwest was contacted by Maque Davis (Fremont Arts Council, Cirque de Flambe, The Moisture Festival) with an interesting opportunity. Maque asked for INW’s assistance with organizing a workshop called “Flame Effects for the Artist”. This class, which has previously been held in New York, Reno, Toronto, Detroit and San Francisco, is taught by Dave Scholl, otherwise known as Dave X, Burning Man’s Fire Safety Manager of over 10 years; and Eric Smith, better known as Propaniac, Chief Inspector for the State of Nevada Board for the Regulation of LP Gas.
INW agreed to act as a host for the two-day workshop, which was held on the first weekend of December. Maque Davis and Penny Stone from the Black Rock Emergency Services Department arranged for Saturday classroom space at West Seattle’s Camp Long, while Rusty Oliver agreed to hold a Sunday hands-on workshop at his Hazardfactory work space. Rusty also offered to host a Saturday night social, giving attendees an opportunity for casual schmoozing and flaming tetherball. Ignition Northwest Arts Council Chair Tabasco Mills received permission from the Board to allocate $600 of his budget toward partial scholarships for eight INW members.
The class was designed to introduce basic practices and principles for incorporating fuel based flame effects into artwork. Day 1 focused on safety guidelines and fire codes, while Day 2 was given over to a hands-on group project – creating an art piece with a flame effect.
In all, the workshop drew 60 participants from Washington and Oregon. Inspiration for a hands-on project struck during the Saturday night social at Hazardfactory. The group decided that they would turn Rusty’s Flaming Tetherball post into a flame effect. Usually, the ‘ball’ is simply lit by hand from the ground. The team’s project added a constant fuel source with appropriate controllers at the base, with a lighting element at the top.
Over the course of the day, the workshop divided into several working groups, which handled fabrication, plumbing and electronics.
By the end of the day a successfully re-engineered Flaming Tetherball post was complete and ready for action.
Top photo by Alex Grinberg.
Alex is a member of Ignition Northwest. You can see his photography on his Flickr page.