Tree House Crew


Sean Orlando (Lead Artist/ Artistic Director):

Sean is the Principle Artist behind Engineered Artworks and co-founder of the Oakland based Five Ton Crane Arts Group. He is a founding member of Kinetic Steam Works and the Lead Artist/ Artistic Director of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, a site-specific group sculpture project created in collaboration in David Shulman and Nathaniel Taylor with over 60 Bay Area artists and volunteers. His latest large-scale project is The Nautilus submarine art car

Steve Valdez (Tree branch design and fabrication. Project manager):

Steve was raised by wolves and knew how to weld before he knew how to talk. He ran away from home when he was 5 to join the circus and worked as a carny cleaning the bottom of the lion's cage and shoveling monkey poop, until he was noticed by the ringmaster's wife. His melodramatic affair with the bearded lady led to his being kicked out of the circus, and he landed in Albuquerque. Steve spent many years wandering the desert searching for his spirit guide, until one day he got fed up and hopped the next box car train to Oakland. He doesn't talk very much but he's deep. He looks mean, but he's got a heart of gold... just don't turn your back to him. He did do a short stint at a Spanish prison for "dating" a mayor's daughter out of wedlock, but we don't need to mention that.

Kirsten Anderson was raised in the redneck wilds of East Tennessee as the oldest of five hippy offspring. She spent her time hunting for crawdaddies, dressing her younger brother as a girl and continually being assured by her dad that their bike ride was really only "one more mile". After high school, she followed the sun around the globe for a year, attended four colleges and finally earned her B.A. in Bilingual Education from San Francisco State University. Back to her hippy roots, she now lives in Canyon, California where she teaches children among the redwoods.

Colin Babcock

Katy Bell (Infrastructure Coordinating & Planning, Culinary Queen, Duchess of Bendy)

Cate Boadway: She's often known as Retro'cate due to her idolatry of things old and moldy, she was raised by penguins following a childhood boating accident. She attended the University of Vermont for what seems like half of her adult life, where she learned that art and anarchy are indeed a way of life. Fortunately her many years at the University were financed, having attended on a full football scholarship through an administrative error. After living in NYC, she moved to California in search of gold or absence of snow, she can't quite recall which. Her current hobbies include art, fire, motorcycles, ponies, crushes on unattainable boys, and changing her last name to avoid the frustration of everyone calling her Broadway. As a practicing Luddite, she has no website or myspace page. She can be reached by smoke signaling two short puffs followed by one long ringed puff. In the time since the above bio was originally written, Retro'cate has received many bemused inquiries, often pertaining to the state of her mental health. To limit future inquiry, here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions: (a) emperor, not king. (b) linebacker. (c) Hasselhoff.

Benjamin Carpenter (Bender): ... grew up in New England building cardboard forts and various other contraptions with tools smuggled from his grandfather’s garage. Now he spends most of his time metalsmithing and pursuing his other creative interests. Earning a B.F.A. from the Maine College of Art in jewelry making led him to explore the possibilities of larger scale metalwork and sculpture. He gained experience working for, and with several artists and craftspeople on both coasts of the United States. He now lives in San Francisco where he exhibits his work and runs Backbone Metals.

Max Chen: His mom failed in her treehouse promise and he's been living with an unfulfilled childhood for 30 plus years. His hope is that this thing gets done and so that he can die a whole person. When he's not twisting bicycles and welding vultures he's designing handheld medical devices and hanging out with his fiancee Nancy, watching anime and shoveling food in his mouth.

Jeremy Crandell (Fundraising and acquisitions)

Torreya Cummings: ...was a shy geek-child raised in the wild by scientists. Now she's an interdisciplinary artist, exploring the intricate vagaries of communication and relating though repurposed everyday materials. She still spends as much time as possible climbing trees.

Bena Currin (Lighting Design, Sneaky Snap-shooter)

Ben Davis/ reFRACTion (Lighting Consultant)

Dann Davis (Structural Engineering Consultant)

Eva Destruction ("The girl next door.")

Grant Diffendaffer: ...has been working with polymer clay since 1993. His introduction to the material came by way of several intricately caned beads that he stumbled across while still a philosophy student at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Soon after, a friend brought him some of the clay and helped precipitate a shift from his left brained studies to a life in art. Grant’s beads, jewelry, sculpture, and decorative art display a keen sense of color, composition and form, and a meticulous attention to detail. His work has been shown in numerous juried craft shows, galleries and exhibits. He has produced a DVD of his clay techniques and is the author of the forthcoming book, "Polymer Clay Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration." He works from his studio in Canyon, CA, which he shares with his three legged cat Jalebie, and his partner, jewelry artist Kirsten Anderson. When not creating or finding inspiration for his art, he stays busy traveling the globe, teaching his unique techniques to others. Grant also teaches regular classes on polymer clay at The Crucible in Oakland.

Kate Doherty

Spy Emerson (Artistic & Aesthetic Design/Librarian)

Megan Fenske (Pinko Slut, Mistress of WORC)

Five Ton Crane Arts Group

Barbara Fried

“Diamond” Dave Gardner


Corbett Griffith (Structural Engineering Consultant)

Åke Grunditz (Concrete sculpting/ House details)

Leslie Frierman Grunditz (Painting/ House details)

Don Hayler: Trained to weld by a pack of wild civets in the jungles of Indonesia, Don has struggled through the creation of an actual engineered structure, learning much from blind, itinerant metal fabricators along the way. Despite a life of crashed motorcycles and overly-long software projects, Burning Man is helping him connect with his inner artist, or just guy who puts things together and calls them art.

Angela Henshall (Snack food angel)

Bonnie Heras

Christine Hill

Bree Hylkema

Greg Jones (Structural Engineering Consultant)

Helene Juguet

Kinetic Steam Works (Collaborators, confidants & partners)

Jay Kravitz (Construction/ Fabrication): an Oakland artist that has been pouring energy into the Bay Area art scene since he first cast wild-eyes on it in 1991. As The Crucible's exalted Minister of Propaganda, Jay has been instrumental in the creation/cultivation of the facility's design identity along with managing/producing/stage directing all of it's epic fundraising events since we first opened our doors in 1999. Running the gamut of disciplines, Jay’s portfolio encompasses metal, glass, fire, ink, found objects, graphic design, music and performance twisting sculpture into visual and tactile emblems of life.

John Manyjohns (Words, usability, web, grants)

Sam McKnight

Andrew O'Keefe (SPTH steam effects design, installation, PM, rock star)

Christopher Palmer (Lighting & LED design, King of the catchy phrase)

Angela Pfahnl

Justin Quimby

Stephen Rademaker (Plumbing consultant)

Rachel Riggin (Artistic & Aesthetic Design)

Drea Roemer

Wendy Rolon

Alan Rorie (Construction/ Fabrication/ Neurobiology) In 1975 a strange and troubled boy was born on Long Island, NY for a crime he did not commit. He promptly escaped to the Bay Area underground. Today he survives as a neurobiologist and an artist. If you're looking for a problem, a never ending-source of preposterous ideas, or just a good drinking partner -- and you can find him -- you can hire: Alan Rorie.

Angela Scrivani

Gina Scrivani

Tom Sepe

Stephanie Shipman

David Shulman (Fabrication/ Solar design)

David grew up playing amid the decaying industrial landscape of Flint Michigan, later escaping into the world as an agent and outfitter for wilderness and natural history expeditions. His wide-ranging travel, globally and in his own backyard, has taught him to appreciate the mechanical ingenuity of peoples around the world and throughout time. His own voice juxtaposes the simple elegance of functional design and the natural world. Collaborating with friends, David manifests these interests as a fabricator, welder, electrician and financial finagler on projects such as the Steam Punk Tree House, the Comes Around Goes Around Carousel, the Neuron Chamber, the Dihemispheric Chronaether Agitator (aka the Time Machine), and the Lumbering Contraption. David gets from project to project in his electro-Porsche, a traditional vehicle converted to full-electric, which runs great, mostly. David lives in San Francisco, California.

Jo Slota 'old man Slota' (structural fabrication, installation crew, bicycle stunt double / resident nay-sayer)

Martin Sweet (woodworking)

Nathaniel Taylor (Steam Calliope design & fabrication, Master of Disguise)

Jamie Vaida (Project Manager/ Fabricator)

Shane Washburn: works with Spark Factor Design. He's a Mechanical/ Industrial Designer, Plumber, Mechanic, Sketch Artist, Dad, Bio-Fuel Nut (SVO), Model Maker, Husband, CAD monkey, Steam Groupie, Coffee Consumer.

Nick Winterhalter (Construction/ House Interaction design)

Mr. Yu (Lighting Design)