I would like to peek inside Ben Tardif's dreams. I suspect everything's in motion, spheres rocket through strange landscapes and marbles are the currency of imagination. Tardif is the creator of an epic machine called Marble Mountain.
Marble Mountain sits in a small warehouse. It stands 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall and 12 feet (3.7 meters) wide. It's mostly crafted from wood and it contains an entire universe within the structure. It took three years to get to its current modular form and takes about an hour now to assemble.
Marble Mountain includes a roller coaster, ski jump, bowling alley (made from popsicle sticks), skate park and a mini version of Times Square in New York. All these locations and activities have some personal significance for Tardif.
Tardif runs 300 marbles at a time to keep the track in constant motion. They're fed into the machine by a mechanical rotating lift and then start their journey through 32 different possible paths. They may end up flying through the air, wandering down a castle walkway, strolling across the Golden Gate Bridge or racing each other down a wide ramp.
Most of the materials used in Marble Mountain came from craft and home improvement stores. Even Tardif isn't sure how much money he spent on the fantastical creation.
The level of detail is mind-boggling. There's a mini-miniature golf course with a windmill and a castle that looks like it stepped out of Disneyland. The video is riveting.This is marble heaven, and you can't turn away.