#PlayaMade: Creating a Community That Goes Deeper Than Economics

Which is more meaningful: a hand-carved pendant imbued with its creator’s intent or a blinky trinket that will ultimately end up in a landfill? How about a camp sign made by your mates from recycled materials or a plaque ordered with two clicks late one night all by your lonesome? What about an old coat you dolled up with faux fur and embroidery, or a mass produced… yawn… what were we saying again?

Oh yeah. There’s a secondary theme we’d like you to consider this year (and come to think of it every year ever after). It’s called “Playa Made” — or #PlayaMade in social media parlance — and it’s a simple idea with mighty consequences. It means don’t buy new stuff just because you can and because it’s easy. It is bad for the earth, degrades our culture, and it’s just plain boring.

Burning Man Bucks by Rob Sturtz

“Playa Made” means putting your wallet away and looking at what’s already around you. It means getting creative, crafty, and resourceful. It’s realizing that, together, we are creating experiences that can’t be bought, and the experience of Burning Man is all of it, from the outsized majesty of the art right down to the tiniest dangly earring gifted by a new friend.

When we make instead of buy, transactions become intentions, and consumption becomes creation. Many of you are already in this frame of mind, but it’s time to remind the whole community why this is important. We stand ready to resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experiences and to protect our culture from the commercialism that besieges us in the default world.

Check out our Instagram feed to see the latest in #PlayaMade.

Please join us in this movement. We want you to show us the interesting ways that you are building, sewing, sawing, hot-glue-gunning, bedazzling — however you do you — your costumes, jewelry, playa gifts and more. Take a photo, tell us what you’re making and how, and post to Instagram using the #PlayaMade hashtag. We’ll amplify your projects and tips here and on our social channels, so that by the time it’s August, you’ll have some pretty sick outfits, not to mention some of the most thoughtful gifts in the world.

What happens when people stop thinking about money and start creating?

We can’t wait to find out. Make…for the Playa. #PlayaMade. Get it?


Top photo: Headpiece by Siberfi, photo by Scott London

About the author: Mia Quagliarello

Mia Quagliarello

Mia Quagliarello is a San Francisco-based 'Burning mom.' By day, she does curation, community and social media work at a startup; by night she's either working on her blog, Disco Nap, going out to see live music, or snuggling up with her two kids.

6 Comments on “#PlayaMade: Creating a Community That Goes Deeper Than Economics

  • Glimmer says:

    I make my BM swag for my groupies out of wing nuts, eye bolts and nuts and chains for hanging lights. Works great except for on the sun on the Playa- they do get hot. Hugs

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  • "Glimmer" Lee Myerhoff says:

    I’m Glimmer- my default name is Lee Myerhoff

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  • Dr. K says:

    I always start my ‘gifts’ as soon as the theme is announced. I spread the time and the cost over the nine months it takes until I leave for BRC. While I am making them I am having a great time either reliving past burns or anticipating the next one.

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  • Geomom says:

    A good conversation is a great gift. So are listening, rubbing someone’s feet, playing Russian folk songs to drunk Russians on a kazoo (I thank my parents for owning a Theodore Bikel lp). The trinkets are fun, but if you don’t have them, share yourself in your own, creative, unique way.

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  • Naiad says:

    One million times yes!

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  • Went to the shed.
    Left hours later with a wooden kid goat called Jude. It has a music box wind under his tail that plays Hey Jude.
    He has a paint brush bristle on his chest.
    Two little battering horns are appearing.
    He can’t get from Australia to burning man easy.

    He’s gunna start climbing soon we can tell and he’s getting attitude. That’s when we wind the music and he settles.

    Back to the shed but really Burning Man sounds just my scene.
    “reuseing everything”

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