A towering teapot with a slide spout, gigantic mushrooms and a forest of massive flowers — it’s a wonderland created by the imagination of 12-year-old honorarium artist Mayahuel Morse, who could easily be Alice if the classic children’s book was written in 2017 instead of 1865, and Alice could paint, sew, weld and construct the magical world of their dreams.
Mayahuel has never been to Burning Man or made an art installation or lead a crew, but none of these firsts have held them back from happily jumping down the rabbit hole. “I’m just going to dive right in,” says Mayahuel.
The young artist’s parents are longtime Burners, and Mayahuel has been interested in art and Burning Man for a long time.
“Ever since my parents told me they met at Burning Man, it has been my dream to experience and become a part of this magical community of people,” Mayahuel says.
Last year, Mayahuel and a friend painted a mural on the side of their school in Winchester, Massachusetts. The experience empowered Mayahuel to go bigger, look for new challenges and make more art. The vision for Flora Resplendica came pretty quickly.
“I have always loved the concept of Alice in Wonderland — the idea that there might be a place free from the rules of society, and in Wonderland, the rules of science. My artwork is based on the concept that very small, everyday things, when blown up to massive size, can be viewed as extraordinary and beautiful,” Mayahuel says.
Flora Resplendica centers on a 15-foot-tall climbable teapot. Participants can slide down the spout and into the pot, where they can ascend an interior tower to gaze over the playa. A wild whimsical garden of six-foot flowers and 10-foot spotted mushrooms will surround the teapot.
“It’s another world that’s weird to us, but is completely normal to them,” says Mayahuel.
Mayahuel is constructing this fanciful world with the help of their STEAM-based private school, complete with woodshop and metal shop. The school allows students to choose a yearly passion project that they work on for six hours every week, guided by a mentor.
Through this special program, Mayahuel is able to earn school credit while crafting a colossal playa fairy garden.The school even has a grant writing staff member, who helped Mayahuel with the honorarium proposal.
Mayahuel was also influenced by the LARP Adventure Program, a live action role-playing summer camp where they learned about the 10 Principles. “It broadened my worldview and informed me a bit more. It started the whole landslide,” says Mayahuel.
Mayahuel’s family and friends have been helping to fabricate the project over several weekends, and in just three weeks Flora Resplendica will be loaded into a Burning Man container outside of Boston and shipped to the playa.
It’ll await the arrival of Mayahuel and their crew, which includes Mayahuel’s parents, aunt and two families of five — one of hardy Burners and another that has never been to playa. They will be stationed at Kids Camp, where Mayahuel is looking forward to experiencing the mini-Thunderdome.
But Mayahuel’s zeal for the Thunderdome definitely doesn’t compare to their excitement about seeing the funky, mammoth teapot garden completed. And the world of Flora Resplendica will continue after the Burn when it is permanently installed at the playground of Mayahuel’s school.
“Alice had got so much into the way of expecting nothing but out-of-the-way things to happen, that it seemed quite dull and stupid for life to go on in the common way. So she set to work.”
— Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland