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Maker Faire: Flaming Lotus Girls Soma

Craft & Design

Photograph by George Schaller
The Flaming Lotus Girls (FLG) are no strangers to Maker Faire Bay Area, the world’s largest DIY festival, taking place on May 22nd and 23rd at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. This crew of creative and talented makers has participated in the annual fair since 2007, and this year they’re bringing an awe-inspiring installation known as Soma. When one member was asked a handful of interview questions, the group chose to respond as a team, noting, “The key part of FLG is we are a a do-ocracy without lines and distinctions between who is the ‘leader’.” Their strong collaborative ethos is inspiring. This is what the FLG shared with us.
1. Tell us about the project you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
Flaming Lotus Girls are bring our sculpture Soma. We brought the first prototype of it last year, and it is thrilling to bring the whole sculpture this year.
Soma translates the anatomy of neurons into metal, fire, and light, magnifying the microscopic world to an epic scale. In Soma, an elegant axon arch connects an earthbound neuron with its partner floating overhead.
Photograph by Joe Dacanay
Fire and light flow like electrochemical signals between Soma‘s two neurons. Spinning balls of fire form the neuron’s nuclei. Slender dendrites extend to the sky and reach down to the earth, emitting constant flame and color-changing light. Computer-controlled flame and sequenced LEDs travel in patterns along the raised Soma archway, creating a spectacular, unique show.
Photograph by Caroline Miller
All of the fire effects on Soma are participant-controlled, allowing the public to communicate with the sculpture itself. Soma offers participants an interactive installation that investigates the very basis of intellectual communication.
Read the full interview over on our sister site, Soma is sure to be absolutely jaw-dropping in person. Pick up your Maker Faire tickets online to avoid waiting in line at the Faire. And you still have one day left to buy advanced tickets at a discount. See you there!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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