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Meaningful Gifts: Extraordinary stories and pictures about jewelry and the culture of collecting, making and gifting at Burning Man.
Meaningful Gifts: Extraordinary stories and pictures about jewelry and the culture of collecting, making and gifting at Burning Man.
241 backers pledged $18,246 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Jewelry of the Playa is a collaborate project that would impossible without the support of many special and important people.

George Post is the primary photographer and co-author for the Jewelry of the Playa.

LadyBee is a co-author on this project and owner of the largest collection of Burning Man jewelry.

 Celebrating Lives and Stories

Left: Back Cover.                                      Right: Front Cover
Left: Back Cover. Right: Front Cover

The Jewelry of the Playa is more than a book, it is a memorial for those who passed on and it is the birthplace of a living archive celebrating the lives and stories of each annual Burning Man event through the ancient medium of jewelry.

This is a book about an obssession with jewelry, a love of teaching people to make jewelry, and the community that gathers to burn a giant wooden man out on the harsh desert floor, lovingly called the playa, once a year in Black Rock City Nevada. Jewelry of the Playa is also a celebration of the stunning collection of jewelry from Burning Man from 1995 to 2013. From a spray painted day glow wood stick figure to high end bling of gold and diamonds, this books explores the unique and creative fabrication from people who make, collect and gift jewelry. Inside are professional photographs and stories upon stories of unique wearable art by and about the people who made it.

The Book

This glossy hard cover volume, 9 x 12 inches, about 220 pages, will feature 300-500 full color photographs exploring a collection of over a 1000 works of Burning Man jewelry. Compelling interviews trace the stories of various pieces and their makers and acts of unbounded generosity.

Contributions By:
Dr. Hanuman Aspler - Founder of Ganoksin, The World Leading Jewelry Website 
Artisan’s Asylum - Premier Maker Space in the US
Jeremy Alliger - Executive Producer Alliger Arts
Peter Durand - Burning Man Regional Rep for Massachusetts
Charon Kransen -  Leading Resource for Books and Exhibition Catalogues on Jewelry, Metal, and Design 
Garth Clark - Gallery Owner, Curator, Writer for the World of Craft

Working Table of Contents

Foreword by Garth Clark
The Jewelry Collection of LadyBee
The Spirit of Burning Man 
The Gifting Economy
Technology 
Pendants 
Medallions 
Pins 
Embellishment 
Making Wearing Collecting
Jewelry and the People Who Wear It 
Afterward by Karen Christians

The Authors

Karen Christians 

Karen Christians
Karen Christians

Karen Christians is a jewelry teacher, photographer and author. She is the founder of Metalwerx, The School for Jewelry and the Metal Arts in Waltham, MA in 1998. Karen developed the Hot Craft Studio for Jewelry at Artisan’s Asylum, a 40K sq ft maker space in Somerville, MA. A late bloomer, she graduated with a BFA with Honors from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1997. Karen lives in Waltham, MA with her husband and two cats. Her love of jewelry, embellishment and storytelling led to this book.

Christine Kristen aka LadyBee 

LadyBee
LadyBee

Lady Bee is a former sculptor and jeweler turned art curator and facilitator. She worked as Art Curator for Burning Man from 1999 through 2008, and currently manages their art collection and helps with the Archives. She first went to Burning Man in 1995, and was attracted to the art, created in a community-based, collaborative and interactive environment existing outside the mainstream art world. She began collecting playa jewelry in 1996 and now has its largest existing archive.

George Post

George Post
George Post

A freelance photographer, writer, and teacher, George Post has made photography his lifelong passion. George is one of the premier photographers of fine arts, crafts and jewelry in the US. After a life-changing expedition to Burning Man in 1979, he published a book on it in 2012 called “Dancing with the Playa Messiah,” containing photos spanning the period from 1991 to 2011. George has returned to Black Rock City every year since then to photograph the people, art, fire, and the magical desert light that make Burning Man a unique world-class event.

Bonus Rewards

Jewelry, jewelry making instruction, and diamonds made of Playa dust are among the great rewards we're offering, each with its own Burning Man story. Choose among pendants made by Sumner Silverman, a self-taught master sculptor and carver of lost wax techniques in bronze and sterling jewelry. Sumner, Karen and friends have cast, polished, and strung thousands of Burning Man pendants from his designs--and given them all away. Karen will reprise a jewelry making class, just for you, from the hugely popular series she started at Oasis 47, where she camped at Burning Man. And...you can get a red diamond.

Pendants by Sumner Silverman - Horseshoe Crab, Erotix, Phoenix Rising

Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) Burning Man 2009 | Evolution

Horseshoe Crab Pendent in Bronze: Back and Front
Horseshoe Crab Pendent in Bronze: Back and Front

Commonly called the Horseshoe Crab it is closely related to spiders ticks and scorpions. It does not bite humans. It is very old, their relatives have change little in their 450 million years on earth. Evolution goes so slowly and we deplete our earth so very quickly, I present this creature as a reminder of the passage of time.

Erotix Burning Man 2010 | Metropolis

Erotix Pendant in Bronze: Back and Front
Erotix Pendant in Bronze: Back and Front

Our world moves inexorably toward one big city. By the year 2050 we may have 75% of our world population in cities. The 2009 theme, Metropolis, inspired this pendant drawn from Fritz Lang's movie of the same name. Erotix is an ode to Maria, the kick-ass robot that ran the Metropolis. On the obverse is yet another iteration of the Burning Man.

Phoenix Rising Burning Man 2011 | Rites of Passage

Phoenix Pendant in Bronze: Back and Front
Phoenix Pendant in Bronze: Back and Front

Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Found in the mythology of both the east and west, it is the perfect symbol of transformation. Burning Man is the quest for transformation of self and society. This is a bird with attitude! The obverse is flames.

Custom Rewards by Karen Christians

Custom Resin Inlay Pendants

Karen Christians will work with you to develop and create three custom resin inlay bronze pendants that reflect your own personal Burning Man journey or other important life events. What is resin inlay you ask? Well, take a look at the images below!

Top: Green Man w/out and with Resin Inlay. Bottom: Horseshoe Crab Back with Inlay
Top: Green Man w/out and with Resin Inlay. Bottom: Horseshoe Crab Back with Inlay

 Private Instruction with Karen Christians

Learning to Make Pendants on the Playa
Learning to Make Pendants on the Playa

 Learn to make your own memorable meaningful gifts with this private class with Karen Christians. She will teach you the tricks and secrets of making your own beautiful resin inlay pendants in her jewelry studio at Artisan's Asylum in Somerville, Massachusetts. 

Red Playa Diamond

Left: Collecting Carbon from the Burn. Right: Red LifeGem Diamonds. Image Courtesy of LifeGem.
Left: Collecting Carbon from the Burn. Right: Red LifeGem Diamonds. Image Courtesy of LifeGem.

This quarter karat red playa diamond is a truly unique way to commemorate your Burning Man experience. Formed over 6-9 months in a lab from carbon from the Man or Temple burn, these diamonds are guaranteed conflict free and are available in a range of styles. The red color was chosen to reflect the intense red colors of the burns. You can get the diamond either loose or set in a ring, necklace, or other piece of jewelry of your choosing.

Where the Money Goes

The money raised by this Kickstarter will go towards the design, printing and shipping of the Jewelry of the Playa book,  as well as paying for all of the rewards. If an excess of $15,000 is raised, that money will go to printing more books!

Changing the World

Gifting is one of the Ten Principles of Burning Man and potentially one of the most misunderstood. Gifting is not synonymous with barter. Meaningful gifts come from the heart and are given freely without any expectancy of a return. The authors hope this book will encourage people to embrace this concept in their everyday lives, thus creating stronger, happier, and healthier communities.

Learn More About Jewelry of the Playa

Jewelry of the Playa on Facebook

Karen Christians on Facebook

Karen Christians Personal Site

George Post Photography

Sumner Silverman Jewelry

Burning Man

Get Involved!

Be part of the living archive and share your jewelry related stories with a growing community. Some stories may even end up in this or future books!

Special Thanks to Kevin MacLeod for providing "Perspectives," edited for time, the theme to our Kickstarter video. "Perspectives" can be found here, courtesy of incompetech.com

Risks and challenges

There are three major challenges to completing this project. The first is making sure the book is completed on time, the second is producing a book of a high quality, and the third is ensuring the book and all rewards are delivered on time.

Completing the Book:
There are a lot of pieces to a collaborative book project that covers a lot of territory. Here's what's being brought to bear: The principal author Karen Christians is highly passionate about this project, has been working on it for almost two years, and it's now the main project in her life. She's dedicating these upcoming months to finish compiling photos and collecting stories. She's brought together a strong team to produce it, from PR to fulfillment, from compiling photos to collecting stories. Her co-authors, LadyBee and George Post, have qualifications making them the perfect people for the job. She's deeply engaged with the Burning Man community, including many of the people that make it happen, from which she has wide support. She's already published a book, as has George, so there's direct experience to draw on; LadyBee is an event producer. She's had experience with project management and development from starting a school, a craft/jewelry program, and the Pendant Project itself at Burning Man.

Creating a High Quality Book:
To ensure this book is of the highest quality several steps have been taken. George Post, already a photographer of Burning Man culture and a professional renowned for his photography of jewelry has been engaged to take all of the photos. We're in preliminary warm talks with a publisher who has worked with one of the co-authors on another book as well as an excellent printer. Both have known expertise with this kind of project. For a few months now, we've been happily working with a professional layout and design team we hired to make sure the material looks and flows properly.

On Time Delivery:
A fulfillment center has been chosen that has worked with book distribution and Kickstarter before.
A customer service team will be available to assist with questions and issues related to gift quality and delivery, e.g. anything damaged or lost in shipping.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to ask!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Friend of Jewelry of the Playa: Gets you listed on the THANK YOU Hall of Fame on the “Jewelry of the Playa” website and email updates on the progress of the book. Don't think this is an unimportant level, just because it's $5! At Burning Man itself, each of us make possible a remarkable and generous celebration of creativity.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Supporter of Jewelry of the Playa:
    A picture of your name being celebrated on the playa at Burning Man 2014 will hold a prominent place on the Jewelry of the Playa website. Plus you get listed on the THANK YOU Hall of Fame on the website and email updates on the progress of the book.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Limulus polyphemus pendant! (Horseshoe Crab). You'll receive one of a limited re-issue of Pendant Project's most popular pieces! This bronze pendant was created by Sumner Silverman for Burning Man 2009. One of the stories involving this pendant—its retrieval from the ashes of the burnt Temple—was the original inspiration for this book.
    You will also receive all the rewards from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Saturday Arrival Special:
    Thank you for believing in this project and being an early supporter!
    Receive a copy of "Jewelry of the Playa," signed by the authors and photographer, for a special early supporter price. This is like getting into Burning Man on Saturday before the crowds.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    JEWELRY OF THE PLAYA BOOK, Kickstarter edition: Crack open a glossy, hard-backed copy of “Jewelry of the Playa” fresh off the press and sweet with the smell of new ink! Kickstarter donors will have their copy signed by the authors and photographer.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Horseshoe Crab Evolution:
    Get “Jewelry of the Playa” as an advance publication! Signed by the authors and the photographer. Included in a special box, you'll also receive a Limulus polyphemus pendant! (Horseshoe Crab), one of a limited re-issue of Pendant Project's most popular pieces. This bronze pendant was created by Sumner Silverman for Burning Man 2009. One of the stories involving this pendant—its retrieval from the ashes of the burnt Temple—was the original inspiration for this book.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Triple Pendant Backer:
    Participants at this level will receive all three bronze pendants created by Sumner Silverman: the Horseshoe Crab, Phoenix Rising, and Erotix. You'll also receive an original photograph signed by the book's photographer George Post AND “Jewelry of the Playa” signed by the authors and photographer.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    2 Copies of the JEWELRY OF THE PLAYA BOOK, Kickstarter edition: Crack open a glossy, hard-backed copy of “Jewelry of the Playa” fresh off the press and sweet with the smell of new ink! Kickstarter donors will have their copy signed by the authors and photographer. You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    3 Copies of the JEWELRY OF THE PLAYA BOOK, Kickstarter edition: Crack open a glossy, hard-backed copy of “Jewelry of the Playa” fresh off the press and sweet with the smell of new ink! Kickstarter donors will have their copy signed by the authors and photographer. You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The Silver Horseshoe Crab:
    At this level you receive a polished sterling silver Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) pendent created by Sumner Silverman, a copy of Jewelry of the Playa signed by the authors and photographer, and an original photograph signed by the book's photographer George Post.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    5 Copies of the JEWELRY OF THE PLAYA BOOK, Kickstarter edition: Crack open a glossy, hard-backed copy of “Jewelry of the Playa” fresh off the press and sweet with the smell of new ink! Kickstarter donors will have their copy signed by the authors and photographer. You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Triple Silver Pendant Supporter: You'll receive all three pendants, in a polished sterling silver, created by Sumner Silverman: Horseshoe Crab, Phoenix Rising, and Erotix. You will also receive a copy of “Jewelry of the Playa” signed by the authors and photographer, and an original photograph signed by the book's photographer George Post.
    You will also receive everything from the $10 donor level.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Salt of the Earth Supporter: One of the things that makes the Playa so unique are the alkali salts it contains, and likewise, one of the things that makes this project unique are supporters like you.
    As a sign of gratitude Karen Christians will work with you to design and create three custom resin inlay pendants.
    Further, your edition of "Jewelry of the Playa" will not only be signed by the authors and photographer, it will also contain a personalized message.
    Donors at this level also receive everything from the $500 level.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Private Instruction:
    You are the kind of person who is interested in learning how to make their own meaningful gifts through the art of jewelry. At this level Karen will fly you out to Somerville, MA (from within the continental United States), put you up in a hotel, and give you a private jewelry making lesson where you will learn to make your own resin inlay pendants.
    Donors at this level will also receive everything from the $500, plus your signed copy of "Jewelry of the Playa" will contain a personalized message.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    A Red Playa Diamond: This is your chance to get a truly unique one of a kind item. A conflict free, lab grown quarter karat red (fire) diamond using the carbon ashes gathered from either the Man Burn or the Temple Burn. You choose the year the ashes come from between 2006 – 2014. The diamond can be faceted or raw and professionally set. You choose the style.
    Donors at this level will also receive everything from the $500, plus your signed copy of "Jewelry of the Playa" will contain a personalized message.

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Funding period

- (30 days)