“There’s no way out now.” Stacey Scriven of the Blazin’ Lily Gals from Calgary has fully succumbed to the life of an artist — although she thinks it’s pretty cool her team has mundane day-jobs but still builds amazing things.
Stacey, Dree, and the other members of the BLG team are currently working on their Burning Man Honorarium project, Efflorescence, an otherworldly garden of 13-foot-tall metal fire cannon flowers and interactive fire bowl stumps. This project has been a long time in the making; they’ve been working on the fire garden for two years and have brought it to several Regional Events and festivals in Canada, including Stampede Sneak-a-Peak, Burn in the Forest, and Freezer Burn.
The Blazin’ Lily Gals have four founding members, but they’ve grown to include Dree Dummer, Stacey Scriven, Kara Johnson, Leslie Kramer, Paul Johnson and Phil Butterworth. The boys are honorary gals and occasionally rock bows in their hair for extra flair. The BLGs have open build days where they teach anyone and everyone, but especially women. “We wanted to eliminate the blue job/pink job mentality. It’s a purple job — anyone can do it,” says Dree. They have a pretty solid philosophy when it comes to their teaching method: “Give them sharp metal and let them play.” They’ve had over 80 volunteers help out on Efflorescence so far.
In the beginning, only one of the Gals had any metal experience, but the crew was inspired by the art of Burning Man and the artists they met there. “We decided we wanted to do it, so we did,” says Dree. “Now we always have to one up ourselves,” she adds, laughing.
Stacey thinks their stubborn nature has definitely helped. “When someone says we can’t do something, we’re like, ‘Oh yeah? Watch this!’”
The team was heavily influenced by the Bay Area interactive artist group, the Flaming Lotus Girls. At first they were worried FLG would think the Blazin’ Lily Gals were a “bunch of dorks,” but the opposite proved true. The Flaming Lotus Girls have been nothing but amazing. They’ve answered all of the Blazin’ Lily Gals questions, contributed to their fundraisers and have been all around supportive of their Canadian protégées.
After Vancouver’s Burn in the Forest, the Blazin’ Lily Gals had their truck stolen with all of their sculptures, tools and equipment inside. Luckily, a kind citizen spotted the truck after reading about it on Reddit and reported the vehicle to the police. The sculptures were all accounted for, but the tools, fire extinguishers, fuel tanks and safety equipment were missing. The gals sprang into action and started a crowd-funding campaign to recoup the costs of their stolen items. Several of the Flaming Lotus GIrls were the biggest donors to the cause, showing once again how our communities across the world help take care of one another.
On the August 24, the BLG will be on their way to playa via Calgary with a truck full of fire flowers and all new gear. They’re excited for the community to gather around their art and interact with the sculptures shooting off the canon and drawing in the sand of the fire bowls. It’ll be the culmination of “two years working our butt off,” says Stacey. “Next year, I want to travel around, show it off with no stress, and slow down on building for a second.”
Dree quickly chimes in, “We said that last year, and then we went to the Burn and came back with so many ideas!”
Top photo by Sarge