Theme Camp Name: Bipolar Dragons
Where do you currently live? I live on the Greenbrier river in Alderson, West Virginia.
How many years have you been burning? What was your first burn? Mosaic Experiment was my first burn.
Theme Camp Description: The "Bipolar Dragons" camp is about living with the twin dragons of depression and mania. I created a yin and yang design of dragons to create a wide variety of Batik t-shirts that were given away throughout the burn. Batiks were also created by request. The overall camp design was a stockade. It symbolized the barriers that those with severe mental illness must create in order to feel safe in society.
Theme Camp Inspiration: I discovered the Mosaic Experience a month before the burn took place. I'm an artist who is afraid of society as a whole because of my mental illness. I've never been to a burn (or known anyone who had) but I hoped that the principle of "Radical Inclusion" would give me the courage to be a real member of burner society. This would be a wonderful gift to me. I took some time figuring out what I could give to the burn. I decided that truly exposing my lifetime with this illness (and my experiences with family members both with and without this illness) could be a gift. I came up with using Batik art to help tell the story. Unfortunately framed Batiks are restricted to someone's wall. Distinctive t-shirts each with unique artwork would have a much wider audience. I also thought it was fortuitous that they'd have someone with inside knowledge about the illness.
What was your favorite moment from Mosaic 2014? Dancing wildly in a field, while people had fun with karaoke.
What advice can you offer new theme camp organizers? Get some experience as a burner before attempting it. (I think this advice would be obvious to most people.)
Any burny plans for 2015? I plan to bring Batiks to distribute that are based upon the dragons in the life of someone who has bipolar disorder. A special addition for 2015 will be a tall metal sculpture of a weeping willow. The central tree canopy sways fluidly. The lower 10' of each limb is covered in flames (they are vertical vapor burners). The limbs swing independently of each other and the tree canopy. There are no wires, motors, electronics, etc. Everything comes from the momentum of the sculpture. The simplicity of the tree makes the movements captivating. The tree has surprisingly chaotic behaviors while still being structurally strong and stable. It represents the chaotic environments the severely mentally ill and those close to them must live in. At this time I'm making a structural model to help me visualize all of the movements. Next, I'll make a scaled down version of the sculpture in order to work out any gotchas with the flame burners. Then I'll create the full sized tree. I guess this seems like a lot to tackle but my life is all about extremes.