We played in the innocence of summer and soaked in every last drop of solstice sunshine on the longest day of the year. We answered the calling to find our inner child and dance freely in the light of the sun until it set over the horizon and the clouds blissfully rolled in. Together we spent the day being creative outside and filling our cups with the magic of that Summer Solstice soul.
It’s a cold fall night as I write this, on the cusp of daylight savings, and I’m already longing for those endless, hot, summer nights filled with fields of wild flowers and pheasants dashing across North Corktown dirt roads. I’m forever grateful for the Eldorado ladies that wanted to make some beautiful art together and celebrate the warmth of the sun’s golden rays.
An Eldorado Internship Project:
Madeline Kidd / Intern: Photography + Videography + Editing
Erin Gavle / Creative Direction
Regina Rivard / Art Direction + Styling
Kelsie Angst / Hair + Makeup
Gabby Csapo / Summer Solstice Goddess Model
It's become an annual pilgrimage for Chris and I to jam pack as much stuff as we can into a vehicle, make our way into the dusty abyss, and really shake things up mentally, physically and spiritually. Burning Man is a place where we can dream, build, and help create a city in the middle of the desert just outside of Reno. Burning Man gathers over 60,000 people to create a society built on key principles like Radical Inclusion, Radical Self-reliance and radical Self-expression - everyone must participate. It's a gifting economy (no money is exchanged at Burning Man) and we leave no trace behind.
This year is the first year the founder, Larry Harvey, won't be making the journey with us in human form. He passed away in April - leaving monumental change in his wake. He created a space that we call "home." It's not an easy place to get to. Or easily inhabitable. But we all go. Build a city. And burn away what's holding us back.
It's hard to sum up into words what this annual journey really means but I always say that Eldorado General Store is my Burning Man art installation in real life. It very much was birthed from my experiences in this magical place - and I continue to draw inspiration from Burning Man and bring it back to Detroit to share.
A dear friend of mine, Eliana of Wellness Weaver, wrote an article titled "Rekindle" about what this week in Black Rock Desert means. Her words are always so powerful, so I'd like to share them with you...
"Heading out to Burning Man this year, I've felt a unique energy in the air: a new sensation pulsating through the community. For me, its expressing as a readiness to come together in new way. I hear a call to organize under a brand new light. This light being a culmination of many earthly experiences, but also an electric reflection of the higher spirit, who helped plug us all into this rare life force to begin with. Larry Harvey, the star traveler, who came together with his human community, and built all of us who were seeking: a new home. A place where we could all go, and discover a revolutionary way of being human.
Year after year we come together for a cause that isn't simply about building, but is in truth: a movement of dissolution. Mistaken for idolatry by some who haven't immersed themselves honestly in the culture, this coming together is in actuality an evolution in how we pray. Where we don't worship the power of erected human creation, but instead honor the truth of our fragile humanity. To witness structures: generated by love, dedication, and life force of widespread intricate communities, fall so effortlessly to dust: it is, at the core, a remembrance of who we are.
Swimming in the collective consciousness, is this idea that Larry Harvey created a new species. A new way of being human. A seed of an idea that when watered by his community grew into the most beautifully elaborate family tree that looks like none other we'd ever seen. Branches weaved from many lineages, leaves that grew and fell into exotic seedlings: alien to most other species previously erected on this earth. A tribe smitten with the experience of burning "The Man", a symbol we each had a hand in creating. A logo that we all wear, walking on this earth in the modern age.
They call us burners; those who come together for the sole purpose of burning things down. The element of fire, symbolizing: transformation, change, revolution. What is a burner if not simply a person coming together with their community to light a stagnant world on fire? To be the ignition to their own evolution. To spark change in the society they rose from.
In momentary hesitation, I questioned what connection this year's theme of I-Robot would have with the sudden passing of such an incremental pivot point to a clock of civilization. Where would we find space to connect with spirit, in the expansive playing field of massive robotic toys? Will there be room for sacred conversation? Time to pay our necessary respects, while being inundated with the newsfeed of technical advances? Will we have the opportunity to truly honor Larry Harvey, and all those who laid the foundation of our past, when the intention weaved into this gathering is for the celebration of our future?
My fear dissipated once I saw the idea for this year's theme illustrated so clearly on the 2018 ticket. Adorned so beautifully in the dichotomy of our world. A curious robotic hand, reaching out to connect with the symbol of evolution. The butterfly: a tribute to transformation. When I really think about it, I recognize that technology allows us a means of congregating like we never have before. Diving into our social medias and 'connecting' by way of electrical reverence, we have never been able to relate on such a broad scale. Isn't robotics, in truth, what we as a collective now pray to? Devote our time and give our energy to every single day? We sanctify more moments to looking at our phones then we offer to in person conversation and real life stimulation. Technology IS sacred. We have found faith by redirecting power, literally, into our own hands.
Larry Harvey is Burning Man. His energy infused into its creation. He literally gave his life, to building something new. The conclusion I've come to is that this year's theme, like many other things, is no accident. That as we continue evolving in our human awakening, understanding the truth of who we are, we must give our lives to what we create. We must bring our sacred connection to this world in a way that we have never previously experienced. We are the electric pulse that can very literally change the frequency of our earth. I have learned so much from my time on the playa. Gained so much from the community it has allowed me to build. Embedded now in our consciousness, is the gifts we've discovered in the dust. We are going home this year, radiating in new light.
As the theme of I, Robot is described on Burningman.Org, "Having out-sourced our minds, we might choose to out-source our selves. Who doesn’t want a friend who mirrors one’s own opinion of one’s self? Already it appears we may be moving in this direction."
Larry Harvey, all those we've loved and lost, will be reflected all around us. We will see them, literally, right in front of us in the structures we erect, the robots we build, the ashes where we all eventually will fall. I'm praying for a new earth: robotics ritualized in divine resonance, wholly sanctified in our collective, electric heartbeat. One collaborative conscious that pulsates revolutionary life force back into our world.
Sending love to everyone on their journey home. May we all remember who we are, where we came from, and all that we have the power to be."
We’d love for you to join us Saturday, July 21st from 11am-7pm as we celebrate 4 years.
Read below to learn more about what we've been up to for the last four years and the mural that's coming to Corktown! For more details on the event click here.
A Look Back at 4 Years
The number 4 carries great meaning. It represents the four elements - Air, Fire, Water and Earth. It honors the four sacred directions and cardinal points - North, South, East and West. It represents the four seasons and the constant, yet important cycle of change. And the four magical moon phases. It also symbolizes what Eldorado General Store has been slowing working on for the last four years - building a strong foundation.
Eldorado has always been a platform for me to engage with my community. That’s the backbone for why the space exists and what its mission revolves around. It’s a place that believes in dreams.
I call it an art project - a haven for me to create and curate what’s important to me like putting people and planet before profit, supporting backyard economics, highlighting makers and artists, stocking the shelves with fair trade companies and people who practice sustainable ideals and believe in supporting bigger issues. It’s also a place that’s been a catalyst for community, allowing me to host neighborhood-wide events that emphasize the importance of gathering to strengthen community in a city that’s in the midst of a renaissance-like resurgence.
From the moment I opened Eldorado over 4 years ago, I knew a mural would adorn the 3-story building that's home to the ever-evolving art project that is Eldorado. For 4 years I've had a folder on my computer titled "mural" filled with Los Angeles based artist Hans Walor’s artwork - acting as inspirational ideas for this future dream.
I had experienced Hans' work over many years through festivals and shows on the West Coast and became innately captivated by his visually powerful messages. His balance between gentle fluidity and powerful structure creates visual cues that allow you to look within yourself, and yet question your environment at the same time. He brings a calm strength to his pieces and forces the audience to look within and ask bigger questions about purpose and passion.
4 years ago it seemed like a silly dream to think the artist whose work I collected as inspiration would actually be the artist to create this birthday mural, and gift to the Corktown Community and the City of Detroit.
Earlier this year, pieces of this dream started to fall in place. As fate would have it, Chris's best friend Zach became Hans' roommate and the seed was planted. In February while out in California, we officially met Hans at a gallery opening party and spent a pretty magical California evening, full moon shining down on us, sitting around a fire pit in his backyard and learning more about each other, our work and personal passions. As Chris and I got in our car to head home for the night, the clock read 11:11 and I knew the universe was ready to make this dream blossom and grow into a reality.
We extended our trip an extra week to connect again with Hans to talk more and how our visions aligned. Finding the overlap was a truly inspiring conversation - and it boiled down to constantly wanting to evoke a sense of discovery and to hopefully inspire others to find and follow their inner passions and purpose, too.
Hans and I circled each other for years - a term I use when people are always in the same place at the same time but haven't officially connected. To me, it makes perfect sense that this was the timing for Hans and I to connect and share his art in Detroit - for our 4th Birthday.
The 4th tarot card is The Emperor, something that represents all the hard work, discipline and self control that’s brought you this far. “Grand achievements are not built overnight; they require a mature coordination of foresight, planning, and bold fearlessness,” writes The Fountain Tarot deck. The She Wolfe deck goes on to say that the card focus on "using powers for the benefit of all and using its position as an opportunity to further the gifts and the resources of everyone around them." All things that ring true to the core of Eldorado's bigger mission.
Over the last four years, Eldorado has always focused on engaging the community and art has always played a big role in this focus. We've hired local artist, Monique of Alchemy Henna to paint our windows. And commissioned our neighbors, Woodward Throwbacks, to create our planter boxes. A few years ago we won a grant from People’s First Project through the Knight Foundation to make our neighborhood more pedestrian friendly and safer. We hung lights, my boyfriend Chris Miele designed and fabricated chairs, collaborated with Detroit Artist Louise Chen (Ouizi) to create and install Vision Boxes that reflect during the day and glow at night, and we installed our sparkly entry way. All things that have positively impacted how pedestrians engage in our neighborhood. These projects stemmed from the mission of inclusivity and introducing art to everyone, wanting to create spaces for anyone to engage in. It’s so special to see people of all ages interacting with the art we are placing outside. We’re trying to pump good vibes out of 1700 Michigan Avenue for as far and as wide as we can - and this mural is another (large) piece of that puzzle.
But the bigger message is really that when people choose to support small businesses like Eldorado General Store, big things can happen. This mural wouldn’t be possible without YOU and your support and encouragement over the last four years. So this celebration isn’t just our 4th birthday party, it’s honoring how important you all are in the Eldorado story. This mural is a gift to you. My hope is that Hans Walor’s work inspires you just as it has inspired me.
Thank you for believing in Eldorado and our mission for four years. Thank you for believing in Corktown and the city of Detroit. I'm in awe of how far we have all come, and we’re only just beginning. Together, all boats rise.
Moments of happiness from some of the events we've hosted over the years and the memories we've been able to make together:
Alyssa Morang-Pavlock is a fairy sprite in human form. She emanates light, love and sparkly creative magic dust from the core of her being.
A Michigan native, now living in LA, we continued to circle each other while we both lived in Venice Beach. It's been so special to connect with her over the years on the West Coast and now back here in the Midwest when she comes home for a visit.
We started selling her art at Eldorado last year, and it's no wonder why people are captivated with her visual collage story telling - she creates otherworldly landscapes and downright wacky environments.
On the Autumn Equinox we played dress-up and spent magic hour in Detroit finding beautiful spaces for Chris Miele (Adventure Guy Photo) to capture those fall sunshine rays and harvest goddess vibes. Here's a little look our Equinox adventure.
Check out Alyssa's collage work we currently carry in the shop:
Some of my favorite moments involve playing with creative friends. I was so excited when my dear friend and ridiculously talented photographer, Emily Berger of eeberger, wanted to bring her camera and play in our Treehouse. I had been traveling for two weeks out west and had scheduled the shoot for the day after I returned. I'm always excited to come back home to Detroit, but this was extra special.
Regina Rivard and I gathered some of our favorite Eldorado trinkets and talismans, Emily Berger brought some freshly bloomed flowers from her yard and below is the collaborative and dreamy magic we made on our 3rd floor.
Photographer / Emily Berger of eeberger
Art Director & Stylist / Regina Rivard
Creative Director / Erin Gavle
I had the pleasure of working alongside some amazing talent in our Eldorado Treehouse. I hired Regina Rivard earlier this year because I believe in her creative vision and wanted to give her a place to showcase her talent, while simultaneously honing her craft and building her portfolio. This is the shoot she dreamed up. And below are her beautiful words about the magical day.
"What happens when a visionary shop owner, a creative director, a photographer, a hairstylist and an architect-turned-model get together in a raw, unfinished space? Well, a lot of sawdust gets kicked up, but an example of future magic is illuminated, too.
“Eldorado inspires others to be creative,” Erin tells me, “and I want it to be a platform to push creatives—artists, forward.” This mission of hers has deeply resonated, personally, and practiced through my participation in our team, a dream team, made of real life magic. This April I directed the first creative photoshoot to take place on the third floor of the leaning cake slice of Corktown; Eldorado shop owner, Erin, affectionately has named the space “The Treehouse.”
Despite the chill of the spring air, and kisses from lingering winter breezes floating through the uninsulated walls, the aura of the space on that day felt warm. Running up to the third floor from the shop with billowing piles of rugs and hides in arm, again with stuffed Kilim pillows, then wicker furniture, potted plants, a bundle of sweet-smelling sage, a glamorous disco ball nearly half my size, a set was created that belonged as much as to the transformed space as it would any interior design magazine.
Our model was dressed in Eldorado head-to-toe; precious lace, pink pants shimmering with glittery threads, flowing silk dashed with ribbons, and the contrasting hard leather of heavy boots. Her hair was teased into loose, natural, texture, a hint of moisture applied to her skin to catch the light, then some of our favorite stones are placed onto her bare wrists, and between the knuckles of her thoughtful hands.
Since the day The Treehouse was teased as a creative space via this shoot the influx of interest has been exciting! In its current state, light pours through the southern windows facing Michigan Avenue, and splashes upon the rough concrete walls, which still have century-old wallpaper from its original tenants clinging to its pores. Unpolished wood floors lie under the framing beams of what will be a new ceiling, and the framing between the rooms the open space does not yet, but someday will, contain. It’s a perfect blank canvas.
Eldorado is on the map as a place to visit when in Detroit, gather items of inspiration, and here also to invite and encourage artists to create and collaborate.
Let’s make magic?"
-Regina Rivard, Eldorado Creative
Photographer / Ernest Turner
Model / Femke Lokhorst
Creative Direction / Erin Gavle
Art Direction & Stylist / Regina Rivard
Hair & Makeup / Kelsey Angst
As the warmth of spring emerged from the slow slumber of winter. We bathed in the sun-soaked air, drenched ourselves in new growth and flowers, and welcomed Spring and her bounty. And so we awakened.
There are times when we need a sweet delicate breath of inspiration and creativity. And sometimes we need a massive electric jolt of it. After the never ending winter, I was feeling so artistically void of creation and sparkle. Which is exactly when I got an email from Miranda Clark, Photography instructor at Center for Creative Studies. She was looking to pair Detroit businesses up with students for their Fashion Photography + Narrative course to provide them with real world experience. And so the collaboration with CCS photography + videography student Madeline Kidd began.
Madeline, myself and Regina Rivard, our Eldorado creative, spent the most beautiful Spring afternoon at Graye's Greenhouse with two amazing ladies, models Raquel Ray and Thalia Morales-Esparza, who brought all the lovely energy. Vibes were so high that day. It was simply dreamy. Here's what we created together.
And seriously, if you haven't been to Graye's Greenhouse, you gotta go. This place is magic for the soul.
It was a cold, dreary day. Actually, it had been a week of cold, dreary, lifeless and sunshine-less days all in a row here in Detroit. We were deep into the dull abyss of winter and I was feeling that deadly January vitamin D deficiency creep into my mentality and overall disposition. That's when I took to Facebook and asked, "Ok friends, who's going to the Women's March in Washington DC?”
It's no secret that Chris and I are avid nature lovers. From being so engulfed in the vast countrysides as we travel, we feel the sense of urge to stand as protectors of this earth. We understand that our planet is a living and breathing magical sphere orbiting the sun. And it provides such magnificent life forms and landscapes.
Always love collaborating with stylists and photographers. Sometimes that means providing Eldorado goods for really beautiful photo shoots - like this one. When an old greenhouse is the stage, vintage party dresses become the spotlight.
Love seeing models and muses treasure their Eldorado finds - like this black lace dress straight outta the Madonna Vogue days of my childhood. Claire Voyant sure does rock it well
I swear if this jacket fit me, I would have never let it go. It was the best bomber jacket I've ever seen. A 1940s original. The coolest part? In the pocket was a handwritten note that said, "Major Stanley Sealy / 384th Tactical Fighter Wing, U.S. Army Air Force." I found it in Southwest Detroit.
I just love collaborating with Monique of Alchemy Henna. Whether she's painting the windows at Eldorado, leading a workshop, carefully adorning my skin in henna or whipping up apothecary goods - we always have such a lovely time.
I've been really enjoying sharing the art and ritual of henna with others, which is why I was so honored Monique asked me to be in her video celebrating her craft.
At the tail end of January we had a such a fun evening hosting the Alchemy Henna Introduction to Henna Workshop. We dined on delicious food, drank wine and learned all things henna - including how to adorn our own bodies in the worldly techniques of henna designs. We practiced by frosting cookies and moved our way to decorating hands and arms. Monique of Alchemy Henna, didn't let anyone leave without a beautiful personalized henna tattoo and a goodie bag filled with henna to use at home.
It was a night filled with creativity, friendship and laughs. I'm so thankful Emily Berger of eeberger photography was there to capture the event.
If you missed the workshop, don't worry! We're having another Henna Workshop Tuesday, March 22nd from 6-8pm. It will focus on more techniques and designs - a perfect class for first timers or a great stepping stone if you've already taken our first workshop. Click here to find out more and reserve your spot!
Martha of Made Floral taught the ladies and gents how to craft the perfect holiday wreath, while Courtney of Katoi dished out some delightful Thai-inspired food, and photographer Emily of eeberger captured the night's festivities.
It's been a real privilege working alongside these ladies and getting to spend the evening with a group of people that possess such good vibes. It's so exciting seeing everyone be given the same materials, and yet create such completely unique and one of a kind wreaths. The smiles and laughter were definitely overflowing that night.
I can't wait for more workshops in the new year - stay tuned!