Makers Gonna Make

Something very interesting is happening in this stressful year of 2020. Our makers and gifters have been working overtime to produce gift items for Burning Man 2020, a year in which the event could not take place physically on the playa. But how can they gift these items to other Burners when we’re not all together in Black Rock City? The answer can be found in various online gifting groups coupled with the good old US Postal Service. Many of us who are sheltering in place or working from home are familiar with mail delivery quite often being the highlight of the day.

In addition to gifting, the usually frowned-upon method of bartering is also happening. Since on-playa gifting and receiving isn’t possible, makers are posting their latest creations online where others can request an item or offer up a trade for one of their own creations. We all know that gifting doesn’t seek anything in return; however, considering the bizarre circumstances of 2020, gifting and bartering via the USPS is making many people very happy in these times of social isolation. One gifter says, “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve gifted who have told me that this group and the generosity of spirit, care, creativity and fun have been a lifeline for them in this incredibly difficult year.

Absinthia’s Arctica swag ready to mail out

Many patches and stickers feature amusing references to Covid-19, including images of the viral particle and various curses directed its way. We’re seeing tickets to nowhere, driving passes good only in the Multiverse, and, of course, “it was better next year.” Jewelry makers haven’t expressed the loss of the event, but have gone with more classic themes such as the Man’s head, city map, and the Multiverse.

Pendants and pins by Jelena Ru Andreva, Tzipora Hoynik, Grommet, Gustavo Mattos de Lima, Lorrie Bell and Randy Dell for SwagMart, and Howard Davis

In true Burner style, our makers have created, from loss, an opportunity to carry on creating playa swag despite the difficult circumstances of 2020. The spirit of gifting is stronger than ever, and the generosity and creativity of our community are flourishing despite challenging obstacles. Gifting groups are helping keep us all connected and lift our spirits as we experience our first year without Black Rock City. The irrepressible Burning Man spirit is unstoppable!

2020 Burner spirit
Masks by Sandra Verbruggen    
Print on fabric by Lofax Elifas

Patches from makers in the global Burning Man community

Stickers from makers in the global Burning Man community

Pendants, night light, cutting board and patch by Tod Johnson
Circuitboard and 3D printed plastic pendant by Maria Navarro
TBone Tod’s Mini Man  
Rope men by Amy Wicks
Pendants by Barry Rosenhamer; patch and stickers by Mark Telles
Gifts by Steve Blake
Departmental patches by Lofax Elifas
AfrikaBurn pendant by Jochen Wenz
Keys to Black Rock City by Jelena Ru Andreva
Award of Excellence patch and medal by Ty Eckley

Multiverse pendant by Eric CIfani
Additional Multiverse stickers by makers within the global Burning Man community

Captcha sticker by Mark Telles
Ten Principles patches by Lofax Elifas

Enormous thanks and appreciation to all the makers for this diverse and clever burst of gifting creativity!

About the author: Christine "LadyBee" Kristen


Christine Kristen (a.k.a LadyBee) is Burning Man’s Archivist, Art Collection Manager and Photo Gallery editor. She was Burning Man's art curator from 1999 to 2008, where she dealt with all things visual and aesthetic, including managing the art and the art grant program, photo-editing the Image Gallery, writing art content for the Burning Man website, working with the ARTery, managing the archives, and lecturing and writing about the art of Burning Man. She is the co-author of "The Jewelry of Burning Man", with Karen Christians and George Post, and the curator of the exhibition "PlayaMade: Jewelry of Burning Man", which debuted at the Fuller Craft Museum near Boston in 2017. It opens at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Seattle in January 2020. She has an MFA in sculpture from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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