The Detroit Fire Guild (2008-2012) began as a series of open practices held at the Magic Stick in Detroit back in 2008. These practices were created as a place where people could support one another in the exploration and development of the fire, flow, and circus arts. After a few months, practices were moved out of the Magic Stick and into venues where the community could actually light up and practice with fire. Starting in 2009, the Guild began to alternate practices between the Tangent Gallery and the original grounds of Theatre Bizarre. As practices grew and it became clear just how much talent was developing, the directors of the Guild decided to expand from just hosting practices to creating shows and booking some of the regular attendees. Over the next years, the Detroit Fire Guild grew to a family of over 45 independent artists and techies that produced 5 original large-scale immersive productions including Motor City Vaudeville Revue, The Winter’s Ball, Fires of Beltane, and Fires of Passion. Together with Quixotic Productions, the Detroit Fire Guild also took part in creating Motor City Vaudeville REVIVAL and the epic IT CAME FROM PLANET B! This experiment in creating a community that supported individual expression lasted at its unprecedented size and pace because of 10 principles that the founders drew from the Burning Man festival.

The Ten Principles of the DFG

  • 1.      Warmth and Respect  - The Detroit Fire Guild was founded on the principles of openness and inclusion. We welcome anyone to be involved with what we do. We also recognize that everyone has different values and different paths. As the Guild has a clear set of principles, we welcome those who would join us in them and respect those who choose a different path.  
  • 2.       Personal Strength – We believe that every individual has the ability to learn, grow, evolve, and to stand up and take responsibility for his or her own life. A strong community is composed of people who accept themselves and find pride in who they are and also believe in their ability to grow as people and accomplish their goals.  
  • 3.       We are Stronger Together – When we share knowledge, skills, and resources, when we are willing to ask for help and to help others, when we choose to work on common goals based on shared principles, a group of strong individuals can create much more than any one person on their own.  
  • 4.       Your Actions Are Your Voice – Participation and contribution are the cornerstones of the DFG. Artists are naturally creative people who have no shortage of ideas and potential, yet it is people willing to put ideas into action that really affect the world. As an organization based on voluntary cooperation, the people who shape the direction of the DFG are those who physically work to make the ideas they believe in come to fruition. If you are not willing to work to create what you want, can you expect others to do so? Champion the ideas you believe in most strongly and work to help them become a reality.  
  • 5.       Appreciation and Gratitude –It is natural to take things for granted. We can, however, choose to bring our attention to the amazing people around us and all that they do and have done to support us and this community. Seeking out, acknowledging, and honoring the contributions of others provides a foundation for generosity and openness.  
  • 6.       Communicating Effectively – The health of any living community depends on clear, direct communication that comes from the heart and comes at the right time.  Being a collaborative artist means expressing yourself and opening yourself to the expression of others. We remember that while our feelings and expectations are clear to us, that they are not always clear to others. The viewpoint of another is something we often have to understand through our attention and questions. Rumor and gossip change little for the better. Avoidance gives strength to misconceptions. Timely, direct, compassionate communication combined with patience leads to real understanding.  
  • 7.      Hold Our Community as Sacred – A living community is a group that actively looks out for its members. Our community includes the members of the DFG, those who come to the practices we host, our audience, the Detroit creative community, our city, and the international fire community. It is the responsibility of everyone in the Guild watch out for each other, the Guild, our audience, our city, and those we represent.  
  • 8.       Find Your Passion and Joy and Share It – This is the root of transformative self-expression, this is where the best stories come from, and this is what allows us to produce wonder and awe.  
  • 9.      Work Hard, Play Hard, but Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously. – The best artists throw themselves into their craft with passion, patience, and dedication. When so much work is put into what you do, whether performance, art, acting, or production it becomes easy to get caught up and lose a sense of humor and perspective about yourself, your craft and what you do. Build your skill, not your ego and above all, have fun.
  • 10.    Inspire Wonder and Awe – There are many forms of art, but transformative art is that which provides a chance to leave the artist and the audience changed for the better. The fire and flow arts are mediums that lend themselves to creating states that pull people out of their everyday lives. From the state of wonder and awe, there is a unique opportunity to experience our world and ourselves in new ways.

In 2012, several of the directors had to take on other major responsibilities, and a decision was made to retire the Detroit Fire Guild name. Instead, the remaining core members would go back to the roots of the Guild and focus on simple creating community around open fire, flow, and circus practices held in Detroit. This new group is called the Detroit Fire Collective. You can find more info on it here . . .

Want more information on history of the DFG? Please contact:

Jessica “Rabbit” GrassaEric “Brick” MillerChrissie “Majik” Bingham

If you want information on the current Detroit Flow Collective open practices, please contact:

Jenna Nordgren