I was reinvigorated to work on the temple again. I want to make a structure that is so appealing (visually, emotionally, and otherwise) that nobody will want to burn it. And I want to integrate the community so they are fully invested in the project.
I drew some more sketches, trying to focus on the appearance of the end product rather than being fixated on the ability to construct it. I started in on making a model again. I took a couple 2×4's and hot-glued them together for a "trunk". Then I needed something to make branches. I was looking for inspiration outdoors when I decided to use some sticks from my magnolia tree. I cut them and glued them on then added bamboo skewers as branches and small scraps of paper as the "leaves". For some kind of scale, I added Vince.
I basically built 1/4 of the tree and took some test photos against a colored backdrop. I had four photos, each with the model rotated 90 degrees—all set up with the same camera settings on a tripod. Then I pulled it into Gimp, did a rough removal of the colored background and composited the four rotations on top of one another to create a pseudo-representation of a full model. I added a photo of the Playa from Vittorio Carli's artinterviews.com to make it look like it was at Burning Man.
I took a few pictures of trees to get an idea of how they look, and some elements of branches and whatnot that I thought would work. I did my best to draw some sketches, but I'm not particularly adept at it and I didn't like what came of it. I got together with two friends: Antoni, a sculptor, and Brandon, an architect to talk about the project. Overall it wasn't too productive, but at least it was a start.
One thing I think is important is to have a spiral ramp—not stairs or ladders—to access the main level. I don't understand why it needs to be a spiral, but it needs to be a ramp to permit people with limited mobility to access it.
It also needs an interior space—a sanctuary for ceremonies and reflection. The yurt provides this. It also helps the stability, since a real tree of such size would have a substantial root structure to anchor it; an artificially-wide trunk would mitigate the instability in absence of such a root structure.
Toni encouraged me to start making models using toothpicks as, say, 8' framing members and see what I could come up with. He suggested we make a 1/6 scale model (e.g. "Barbie size") and burn it, say, on the Solstice: December 21.