Backyard Art Projects

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

Lake and Dustin select the perfect length bamboo to create an incense trough for the fifth Bamboo Lantern tower. This tower was placed on a hill top and it provided lighting, patchouli aromas, and a Temple sanctuary experience during its installation at UnSCruz 2019.

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Back home and away from the desert, our camper heroes began building backyard art projects, with a shared affinity for creating sacred spaces. As a group, they banded together, created a build site and thus embarked on a new chapter and, for the very first time: leading their own temple project. With reusability in mind, and inspiration from a recent trip across the Pacific, the Bamboo Temple was sketched, then later prototyped in the backyard build site. After a few long days of grueling lashing, no shade, and a visit from an angelic neighbor bearing gifts of coffee and breakfast, our first temple was successfully installed at a nearby event hosted at a mountainous suburban fairground.

Aftermath binding together disks of bamboo to create a large, globe-shaped chandelier for one of the temple structures for Bamboo Temple.

Hard-learned lessons from the first temple paved the way for Water Temple the following year, and this year’s crew turned the build site/house into a 40 days-long affair. Several builders were strewn throughout the place, one on each couch, one in the office, an RV parked outside for a month, even one sleeping in the backyard every night. The house became a haven of daily building, nightly parties, and all-day delinquent hilarity. The build/summer camp came to a close when we packed up a few vehicles and headed to the event for an unforgettable weekend of hijinks. Soon after, some of the crew was pushing to install a light tower at another event, but this one on the beach. There was ample sweating watching the tide closing in on the tower, soon engulfing the feet. Thanks to those who fished it out- you know who you are!

Lake observes Tower 5 from Water Temple, installed in the Pacific Ocean at Monterey Bay.

By August, the light towers were finally brought to the playa, to spruce up the corner of that year’s build camp. By the end of 2019, a third temple was conceived: the Temple of Everywhen. At this point, the crew adopted the name “Everywhen Project” for creating multi-use and re-configurable art.

The beginning of 2020 was off to a running head start: letters of intent dispatched for acquiring grants, a mini-installation (the Everywhen Shrine) for an art preview show, two planned Temple iterations for two separate events, a crew of 30 builders and volunteers assembled, fundraising videos produced and distributed, and production on the shrine kept the schedule quite busy. As our work on the shrine neared completion, however, word was spreading of a novel virus that was making its way around the world. The art show was cancelled. The May event cancelled, then the other event. The crew, without a project and under a government-issued stay-at-home mandate, suspended the Everywhen project.

Continue to the next story: Chapter 3: Creative People need to Create

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