by Acid Mama
The Burning Man (and Burning Seed!) community is a unique creative space when it comes to enabling people to push their comfort zones and try something new. For those of us who have had the opportunity to step up into our creative power and participate in a collaborative project for Burning Man or one of its regional events, we know how magical this experience can be.
Furthermore, if you are a woman, as I am, and you’ve had this kind of opportunity, then you know just how empowering it can be to have your skills appreciated and encouraged, nourishing a part of you that thrives on creativity.
In 2006 I experienced my first Burning Man and the incredible WOW-factor of Black Rock City. That year was eye-opening, challenging, and beautiful. When I left the Playa, I vowed to return with a major contribution. I’d enjoyed being a punter my first year, but felt that there was a deeper way I could participate.
In 2007, I bought an old school bus, gathered friends and talent, and rocked back up to Black Rock City with a hula-hoop camp. Our theme camp was bare bones, but still ticked the boxes. Yet still I wanted a deeper level of involvement.
During the next year, I relocated to study jewellery and metal fabrication at Uni – and this is where I found my niche. I got a job as the fine metals studio assistant, taught classes, ran open studio sessions, and assisted the students. On the side I was tinkering, playing and experimenting with welding, steel work and plasma cutting in the large scale metal fabrication studio. Then one day, somehow, through word of mouth, I got a call…
Finding Your Niche
“Prof”as he was called, had heard about me and my work through a mutual friend. He told me the story of his Burning Man theme camp and asked if I would join their crew – the Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe – a Burning Man fix-it camp that had been operating on the Playa since the mid ’90s. What had started off as a pop up tent with some rolling tool boxes, had, by the time I got involved, turned into a camp with massive acreage right on the Center Camp ring of Black Rock City.
We fixed, broke and re-made anything that came to our door; bringing welders, every hand and power tool imaginable, any nut and bolt we could gather. Incredible opportunities landed in our laps, as we helped large-scale sound camps, amazing art cars, even the Department of Public Works crew. During the next 4 years, my experience with Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe radically transformed my Burn, and my life.
Bringing the Skills to Seed
Fast forward to Burning Seed 2015: I’d stumbled into being involved again, working as 2iC for Theme Camps, and being a part of the team creating the flame-effects archway at Centre Camp. This latter project was an amazing opportunity for me to get back into welding and metal fabrication, work collaboratively with men and women, and dabble in a realm I thought I’d lost forever when I left America.
Through this project, a plethora of other opportunities have opened up, and I am deeply grateful for each of them. It’s now my turn to give back, and create opportunities for other women to explore metal fabrication and welding techniques.
Women: Rule the Weld!
Women (of Melbourne)! If you’ve ever wanted to upskill in welding and metal fabrication, now’s the time. Starting in May I’ll be offering a 6-session Women’s Welding Workshop every third Sunday, 10-4 pm. The course will be held at NORM Warehouse which has just moved to an awesome new space in North Coburg, right behind the Batman Train Station, next door to Bunnings.
The skills you will learn in the course could enable you to design, create and install incredible art on the Paddock, allow you to upskill in an area that nourishes and enriches a practice already in place, or simply encourages you to make wicked yard art. Whatever your intention is with this course, know that it is welcome and encouraged. The space I am cultivating will be exclusively run by, managed and filled with women: female instructor, assistant, studio manager, as well as female students.
What do you think? Want to get more involved and unlock your creative potential? Burning Seed is a DO-OCRACY made possible ONLY BY YOU! Find out more about Community Crew positions, email the Crew Wranglers for information or check out the ARTery for more about how you can bring your imagination to life on the Paddock!
Wanna share your Burner Journey? Email us with YOUR story at firstname.lastname@example.org