A sacred space created by an illuminated grove of stylized trees. The central tree is for folks to write, draw, paint and share on.
Dustie and I were fascinated by an idea we saw on Pinterest using a masked and painted canvas with lights behind it to create an illuminated image that could be hung on the wall. Here's some examples:
...and the two of us really wanted to recreate an idea similar to that at Apogaea, only make it bigger and more interactive.
At first, we thought we'd build just one box, paint elaborate designs on the sides and light the sucker up. That just didn't seem to do what we wanted, so we sat down and had a good think. We brainstormed our many years of experience at Apo (and my experiences at Burning Man) and tried to find a need that we could fulfill. In particular, the most powerful experiences I've had at Burning Man have always been at the temple. For me, Art and Spirituality have always gone hand in hand and one of the things I missed most about Burning Man that hasn't been re-created at Apogaea (until last year) is a well-defined spiritual space that invites participants to interact (with writing, paintings, art, performances, photos, etc) in the same way that participants are invited to interact with the Temple at BM.
For all of us at Camp Chaos, we have a strong connection to the outdoors (being a farm family and all) and for certain, all of us girls have a real fascination with trees. Trees seem to embody the perfect element of in-between - with roots digging deep into the Earth, unafraid of the darkest depths, in total connection with the underworld and yet the sturdy trunk and branches reach for the illuminated sky. They are the pathway between two spiritual realms. Yin, Yang - balanced, living, and deeply spiritual - I've always been fascinated by them.
Suddenly, the two ideas came together.
Luminaries are the lit paper bags you see outside many homes in this area at Christmas time. They are also frequently used for other occasions and festivals - literally to illuminate pathways and to provide light in the darkest hours of the night. We decided we would build boxes...lanterns if you will...and hang them in a stylized tree. We would use four of these trees (a pine, a cherry, an oak, and a cottonwood) to create a sacred space (one tree at each corner). We would create a 5th one, a willow tree, to stand in the center, offering her luminaries as a vehicle for thoughts and prayers by the participants of Apogaea.
Because we know the importance of spiritual transformation by fire, if we do not have a burn ban, the boxes on the central willow tree will be burnt to finish the release of all that energy from the people of Apogaea. The remaining trees will be gifted to members of the community - perhaps to be re-assembled at another time or perhaps to simply grace the spaces where our community gathers.
In the event of a burn ban, the decorated boxes will be transported back to the farm for a quiet burning ceremony there. We will provide more info at the event in case of a burn ban.
So, inspired, I wrote the grant...and was funded. Now, with a month left to finish the construction, I am finding that my initial estimates have left the project about $300 shy of completion - despite the additional money I've poured into it. Canvas turned out to be way more expensive than I initially priced (this was a learning experience) and the brackets for assembling the boxes have been hard to find locally. I still need to come up with a housing for the generator and as the project has come together, there are a few embellishments that I think would make the entire piece have greater impact - namely a spiral pathway that leads to the center tree that is lit in some way. (I'd like to use paper bag luminaries, but the battery powered ones are expensive.)
If money and time allow, we've discussed adding some fabric and other decor to the trees to create a greater impact. I'm also in negotiations to trade a day or two of work to get the metal lower parts of the trees (constructed of conduit) powder-coated at a local shop.
Anything you can donate will help. Because Amazon takes so long to release funds, I've only put this fundraiser up for a week and I kept the dollar amount low. If we can earn above and beyond that - awesome! Please spread the word. I've created some rewards for those of you who are inclined to be big spenders. :)
We're having a big construction event this weekend at my place. I will post pictures here so everyone can have a better idea of how this is coming together. All of my original drawings are on the Apo website.
In gratitude for the opportunity to serve my community...
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