One of my absolute favorite parts of Maker Faire are the different fire spewing sculptures. The one you see in the video above, is Gilly, made by Orion Fredericks. While I had a blast at World Maker Faire in New York recently, my camera decided to die, meaning I couldn’t get footage of Gilly myself. When I saw this video online from Kevin Miller, I was very happy because he captured Gilly quite well.
Orion explained a bit of the construction process of Gilly to me. The steel is all cold forged and hand assembled. This means that Orion is beating the steel into shape with a hammer in a painstaking and long process, then welding it all to fit his vision. The lines on Gilly are absolutely gorgeous, Orion has managed to mash up mechanical and organic forms quite well. The sculpture almost seems in motion due to the fantastic pose.
As you can see in the video, it isn’t just a sculpture, its one that breathes fire. When I say “Breathes”, I don’t just mean that fire comes out of it. Orion has constructed a complex control scheme to allow for hissing, banging percussive blasts, roaring, and all kinds of effects from his fire. Pay attention and you can see that one side will make some noise and the other side will respond. He plays this sculpture like a puppeteer, infusing the show with life.
You may also notice that at one point, the flames appear to be green. They are! This is striking in person as you’re not necessarily expecting to see green fire pouring out of this structure (then again, what would you expect?). When I asked about how he controlled the color, he explained that while some of it may be chemical, he actually controls a lot of it by temperature and he can change it in real time during the performance.
If you want to learn more about Orion or Gilly, check out his website where you can also see his other works and events.