Friday, November 2, 2012

Night Hunter

Night Hunter, 40 ft wide, saplings, straw, 2012 at the Fruitlands Museum, Harvard MA

Owls hunt on silent wings, often unseen, in the dark of night. For all of history, civilizations have celebrated their mystery in myths, stories and ceremonial rituals. Celebrate the end of the season with Fruitlands Museum in a dusk ceremony of fire and community. Enjoy this family gathering with s'mores, cider, apples, and the grand finale of a forty foot flaming owl as the sun sets and the October Hunter's Full Moon rises over the late fall landscape.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Vessel of Fire

Vessel of Fire, 20 ft tall, saplings, straw, 2012 at Waterfire, Providence, RI. September 29, 2012.
Photo credit: Donald G. Dodson

The vessel of fire's shape is created by the flames. The flames of the boat lap like water while the sails flap in the wind.Update: Check out this video of Myth Makers lighting the fire sculpture.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Alight: The Spirit of the Red Tail Hawk

Just landed, ready to fly, observant, noble and respected, the Red Tail Hawk is a common raptor of human environments. Agile in the cityscape and familiar in the rural hedgerow, Red Tail Hawk is a survivor. These Vermont hills have similarly survived and adapted to a rich heritage of human occupation. Precious soil and abundant rock have conspired to doom all but the most ambitious. Red Tail Hawk stands as a patient monument to the toil that takes place here. ALIGHT is part human yet mostly hawk. It rests fleetingly on this landscape, blessing the place – passing no judgment, but poised to fly.

Alight: The Spirit of the red Tail Hawk, 15 ft tall, saplings & paint, 2012 at Cider Hill Gardens and Gallery, Windsor Vermont


Sentinel casts a watchful eye upon the unique landscape of Gilsland Farm in Falmouth Maine. The Audubon Society has collaborated with MythMakers Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein to land a raven at this treasured place. Stop by to witness this iconic presence of voice and sky.

Raucous and sooty, friendly and frightening, the raven is a vivid mark upon the skyline. Their impossibly black feathers flicker with an iridescence that holds the clues to every color in the rainbow. Their vocal variety suggests that raven may have more to say than most birds.

The Sentinel, 15 ft tall, saplings & paint, 2012 at Gilsland Farm, Maine Audubon, Falmouth, Maine

Flaming vulture

The vulture is a hunter in the valley, cliffs , mountains & forests. With its ever watchful eye. Its presence provokes death, when carrion rests nearby. The profile of the vulture is its signature. The fire sculpture will celebrate this winged creature, in a temporary piece made up of natural materials- here, inspiring awe and then gone.

Flaming Vulture from Donna Dodson on Vimeo.

Flaming vulture, 20 ft w, 10 ft l, 15 ft h, saplings, straw & fuel, 2012 at Rockfire 2012, Barre, Vermont


The Breakneck Road at Hulls Cove has been a summer rendezvous for Native Americans as long as memory exists. On this very spot, Samuel D. Champlain landed in 1604- the first of a tsunami of European visitors to this fragile ecosystem. Owl has seen the world change and has a message for humankind. Step into the sacred space and listen. If you open your heart, Owl has advice to share.

The Seer, 18 ft tall, saplings, 2012
By Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein
2012 Artists in Residence
Hulls Cove Sculpture Garden
17 Breakneck Road
Bar Harbor, Maine

Flower of Fire

A fire sculpture of a flower by artists Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein will be set alight on the confluence downstream from the Steeple Street Bridge at 9:25pm during WaterFire Providence on Saturday, August 13th 2011. The artists are looking to the heavens for inspiration this year. Images of the recent Rosebud of a Reflection Nebula that circulated on the internet for Valentine’s Day planted a seed in the mind of the artists making the connection that chemistry is color, energy is matter, flame and water are fluid in the mind’s eye. A rosebud seems like the perfect symbol of WaterFire: romantic, lovely and passionate. Barnaby Evans is the artistic Director of this unique spectacle that has been taking place since 1997.

Flower of Fire, 17 ft tall, fire sculpture, 2011 at Waterfire, Providence, Rhode Island

Update: Watch a video by Cathryn Griffith of the Fire sculpture by Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson at Waterfire, 2011 in Providence Rhode Island.


The Bouquetin are nearly as old as the mountains and the sky that surround it. Fossils of Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) have been found dating back to the late Pleistocene period, nearly 10,000 years ago. Although they evolved long after humans mastered fire, they maintain an ancient relationship to the land. Sightings of these rare ibex, however fleeting, inspire mystery and awe. The fire sculpture that Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein created in the Swiss Alps, evokes the majestic nature of these beasts.

Update: Watch the video by Lexi Bella of Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson's Fire Sculpture in Verbier

Polar Peacock

The Polar Peacock is as elusive as the Northern Lights. Exotic and beguiling the icy white fowl has been part of northern folk lore on every continent. Reports of unspeakable iridescence and feathered protection from survivors of near freezing experiences have been repeated by elders to children around warm fires for thousands of years. There is no known substantiation for the bird. Why it appears to those in desperate freezing conditions, and why it is perceived as savior and provider of warmth at those moments of greatest need, is baffling. But the fact is that the Polar Peacock has been consistently imagined by a wide spectrum of lucid and competent explorers whose lives have brushed the precipice of death and then been miraculously spared. Our snow carving is a vain attempt to capture the enigma and magic that is this most rare of arctic phenomenon.

Polar Peacock, 8 ft tall, snow sculpture, 2011 at Lake Morey Resort, Fairlee, Vermont


A fire sculpture of a Phoenix by artists Donna Dodson & Andy Moerlein was set alight on the confluence at the Steeple Street Bridge at 9:15pm during Waterfire Providence on Saturday August 14th. The artists built a 20 ft sapling structure, wrapped it with straw, soaked it in mineral oil and set it on fire. By synthesizing the elements of the natural world and a mythical creature, the artists' piece surged up from the earth in flame.

Phoenix, 17 ft wide, fire sculpture, 2010 at Waterfire, Providence, Rhode Island

Update: Watch the video by Robert Jean of the Fire sculpture from Providence, RI Waterfire, August 14, 2010

Moose Myth

The Moose Myth

There is a story told of twin moose brothers, each robust and noble, who shared the Northern Kingdom. One fine day they met in a glade and neither would yield. They charged and impacted with a resounding crash of angry power. In the ensuing battle they entangled antlers in a death lock. Unable to separate, they continued to battle. After days of throwing their enmeshed antlers and bodies about, unable to eat or drink, exhausted, they were on the brink of death. A small child came upon the feuding but now feeble twins and offered to free them, but only if they would promise to live in peace. They thankfully accepted the offer.

Image: Moose Myth, 22 ft tall, saplings, 2010 at the International Sculpture Symposium, Bicentennial Park, Nashua, NH

Freed, the twins stood on two feet in honor of their human friend and lived their lives striving to solve conflicts with negotiation and compromise. They agreed that one would live by the sea and rule over the Portsmouth waterfront and all the bridges and seaways linking NH to the world. The other mighty moose would rule inland, near the confluence of the Nashua and Merrimack Rivers, majestically protecting the vital and diverse city of Nashua.

Two sculptures celebrate this myth.

Image: Moose Myth, 22 ft tall, saplings, 2010 at Art Speak Overnight Art, Market Square, Portsmouth NH

Update: Watch a video of the artists moving The Portsmouth Moose Myth to the University of New England in Portland Maine.

Celestial Elephant

A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

To possess a white elephant was regarded as a sign of justice and power, peace and prosperity. The tradition derives from tales which associate a white elephant with the birth of Buddha, as his mother was reputed to have dreamed of a white elephant presenting her with a lotus flower, a symbol of wisdom and purity, on the eve of giving birth.

Because the animals were considered sacred and laws protected them from labor, receiving a gift of a white elephant was both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because the animal was sacred, and a curse because the animal had to be retained and could not be put to much practical use.

In the Pali scriptures it is duly set forth that the form under which Buddha will descend to the earth for the last time will be that of a beautiful young white elephant, open-jawed, with a head the color of cochineal, with tusks shining like silver, sparkling with gems, covered with a splendid netting of gold, perfect in organs and limbs, and majestic in appearance.

Celestial Elephant, 8ft tall, snow sculpture, 2010 at Black Mountain, Jackson NH