Monday, July 5, 2010
Steampunk Tree House takes root in Delaware
The Steampunk Tree House has clawed its way to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, a mere three miles from my house. Contrary to how it surfaces in my daydreams, this 40' tall sculpture of metal and gears did not spring up from the dirt overnight.
The tree was originally cultivated by Sean Orlando and over 60 other artists from the Five Ton Crane (5TC) group back in 2007. It debuted at the Burning Man music festival in 2008, and has been disassembled and put back together several times. It spent a lot of time in costly storage in between appearances, so when Dogfish Head agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to ship it from California to Delaware, 5TC sold the structure for only $1. After two weeks of heavy construction, the tree will now get plenty of sunlight and water in its new home.
I was lucky enough to attend the "ribbon-cutting" ceremony on Friday, June 25th. It was smashing - and I mean that, literally - they swung a bottle of Dogfish Head Life & Limb beer into the trunk's door to celebrate.
This vulture strictly guards the staircase, but made an exception that day to let the public near. I was even allowed to pull the lever that flapped his jagged wings. Then I carefully climbed the spiral stairs to the top. Unfortunately, it was too small of a space for me to get any good shots of the captivating interior with all the other curious souls crowded about, but there are plenty of photographs to gorge your eyes upon at the Tree House Photos page.
Before descending, I stepped out onto the balcony and peeked at my tiny town through a brass telescope. I imagined how it may have been, years before it was settled in 1672, and how it could look, years after I've long since turned to dust. Considering how even this small area keeps mowing down trees to make way for more developments and banks, will the Steampunk Tree look more natural in a future world than a maple or an oak tree? Standing there, surrounded by designs inspired by the Victorian age of architecture, H.G. Wells, and Jules Verne, anything seemed possible.