ScrapEden – The American Dream

ScrapEden on the Playa 2008

Scrap: n. Discarded, leftover or unused material.

Eden: n. A delightful place, a garden, a paradise.

ScrapEden: n.

This year the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s ScrapEden playa-garden draws on the likeness of a working-class American backyard. We’ll create a casual, welcoming environment strewn with clotheslines of colorful, flowing panels of fabric. We’ll lounge in the shade, sip lemonade and conspire to bring interactive art to communities beyond the playa!

Each panel of fabric, about 1 x 1 to 2 x 2 feet in size, will have a single word on them.  On the playa, participants will be able to rearrange the words to create sentences, create and leave a new word or take a word that speaks to them as a gift. The visual effect will be a poetic combination of clotheslines, prayer flags and quilts, with a dash of magnetic poetry.


Get Involved! YOU are the artist!

The Black Rock Arts Foundation community is growing and expanding each year as we further our reach in our civic projects and grants to artists. We’re looking to you, our extended, international community of Burners and Non-burners alike, to create these ‘words’ and to submit them to the project via mail. See below for guidelines and instructions. Or join us at one of our craft nights, here at BRAF/Burning Man HQ. See below for dates.
Guidelines and Instructions:
1. Fabric squares can be anywhere from 1 x 1 to 2 x 2 feet in size, roughly. A little larger or smaller is fine,

2. We encourage you to use reclaimed and reused fabric. Look around.. any old items of clothing you can cut up? Any left over fabric from past projects you can use? Make it a goal to not buy any materials and you’ll be surprised of the creative solutions you come up with!

3. Your fabric square can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. The fabric squares and words can be sewn in patchwork, painted, screen-printed, spray painted using stencils, etc. See below for some tips and ideas.

4. Can’t think of a word to submit? Here are some ideas to think about: Think about what art has done for you. What do you feel art’s potential is in a community context? What have you seen art achieve on the playa? And in your community? What is your American Dream? What is your hope for the future of art in America, and in our world? Can you say it in a word?

5. As citizens of Black Rock City and in respect for our community’s commitment to the principles of Leave No Trace, we must not use materials that create MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). Avoid using any sparkly or fuzzy fabrics that may shed or applique items that may fall off. Fabric words submitted that use materials that may leave MOOP will not be used in the project.

6. Send your Work to:

ScrapEden on the Playa
Black Rock Arts Foundation
1900 3rd Street, First Floor
San Francisco, Ca 94158

Words will be accepted on the playa, but we prefer to have as many as possible before then. Please mail them if you can! Mail in deadline is August 10, 2008. Thanks!



A few things we’ve learned so far:

1. Synthetic fabrics work best. Cottons, wools and silks tend to fray in the wind.

2. Using fabric glue works great! Especially with fleece and felt, or other thick, porous materials.

3. Heavier fabrics work better.

4. We’ve found that a combination of safety pins and clothespins together secure the flags very well. We simply fold the fabric over the top of the rope and pin it, then clip it with the pins. The flags below were installed outdoors and withstood high winds for a week.

5. Quick and easy flag: an old pillowcase! It’s already hemmed and ready to go. Cotton is nice and porous, and will work well with glue, paint or even a sharpie!


A few ways to make words:

1. Fabric paints and pens are the most direct, quick ways to make words. Just write onto the fabric!

2. Cut out words in fleece or felt and glue them to your flag.

3. Using an exacto blade, cute out a stencil in thin cardboard (file folders work great). Then spray paint or dab paint on the stencil with a sponge or brush.

4. Iron-on letters are available in craft stores, and are another quick, easy application.

5. Get fancy: Embroider or quilt on the letters.

Here are our first few prototypes

Here are our first few prototypes