The winners of our time


the leaders of our future


THE NECKLACE FACTORY was a Design Studio that operated in Black Rock City from 2000 to 2009.  The Goal of The Necklace Factory was to build a facility that would allow anyone who entered…… taste the many benefits of engaging in THE PROCESS OF DESIGN.

To accomplish this, a tiny stainless steel 49-strand cable (.018 inches in diameter) was given to each person who entered, in order to string beautiful beads on.  This immediately confronted each person with hundreds of color combinations, and thousands of patterns arising from choosing different beads to string on their tiny cable. They were constantly making decisions about how to mix odd textures and shapes, and where to locate the finished pieces on their necks, ankles, or wrists.  These all became pathways to an infinite number of choices, because hundreds of thousands of beads were supplied to choose from ---- for free……… anyone who entered the workshop:

For example: Garnet was supplied in 12 different sizes and shapes, silver beads were provided in over 20 sizes and shapes: from 6 different countries.  There were Cloisonné beads from China, Pearls from Japan, and Turquoise from all over the world.  There was also Coral, Peridot, Ceramic beads in dozens of colors and shapes, Amethyst, Carnelian, hundreds of different types of hot glass beads, tiny brass bells, Water Buffalo Horn, Abalone and Mother of Pearl beads……..the number of choices were virtually endless.  Making decisions was a consistent, unrelenting process: WHICH WAS THE WHOLE POINT, of this Design Studio.

The practice of making hundreds of decisions every 5 or 10 minutes made their minds sharp and their character more sturdy.  

This was the target of The Necklace Factory.

The Necklace Factory Burning Man Awards

THE NECKLACE FACTORY AWARDS were created to give Signposts of Stature to those citizens of Black Rock City who managed to actually make magic.  Sculptors, Jewelers, Costumers, Dancers, Architects, Writers, Mechanics, Painters: anyone who dared to build something World Class – and also managed to break into The Future with their efforts.

The Necklace Factory AWARDS are named after an Art Project that operated for 9 years in a row at Burning Man: The Necklace Factory.  Lessons learned from The Necklace Factory became a foundation for the current Awards Process, and slowly gave birth to The Necklace Factory Awards.

2005 was the first year that these Awards for Outstanding Work were distributed in Black Rock City, and about 25 Awards were distributed that year.  The number of distributed Awards has now grown to over 300 for each year.  An attempt is also made to pattern the awards artwork after the Official Theme that is put forward by the BOrg for each year.

A New Nobility is growing out in the Black Rock Desert; because a different type of Gladiator School is currently training those who will lead us through the wilderness of Now, into a better Tomorrow.

They will lead us there by building the Future with delightfully fresh ideas, and by constructing each art work with their own hands.The Necklace Factory Awards are 350 tiny signposts leading to the best of those hands.  They are the Leaders that we all will follow into a better, brighter, and more delicious Future.


Click on the year or medal to view the AWARD CERTIFICATE


The Makers

WE wish to be Amazed.  WE want to be taken away from the narrow confines of our daily lives, and fascinated by Anything and Everything that is different from what we do every day.  We want to stretch the boundaries of our Minds, expand our Tastes, deepen our Feelings, and nurture our Hopes.  WE want to Grow!

And we want to find a New Aristocracy: Magicians who are not fake, Dreamers that are really making Now into a better Next.  We want to find the Keys to Hidden Places: places of Wonder and Richness, places of Laughter and Amazement.  

We Hope to find our Tribe: the People that know and say fresh things: People that aren’t afraid of Facts, or Science, or Fun, or even The Future.  We want to find the People who can actually make Beauty, and Grace, and Hope.

Ty Eckley – Master Maker

Popularly labeled as the "Pied-Piper of Black Rock City," Ty has tirelessly amplified the Sound of Creativity whispering through his personal journey megaphone. If you see him coming toward you, be prepared to stop what you are doing and get ready to look beyond the Sun. Wear your welding goggles. Wear a hat. Wear your favorite jewelry. But be prepared to wear something that bedazzles the world — and your own soul along with those surrounding you. 

Ty has single-handedly created the Olympics for the Arts Awards Ceremony from the star dust of which we are made. His path is narrow but very twisted and convoluted. Mach-10 is the speed that his chartreuse lightning bolt travels. No wind can resist his frame. No magic can tempt his mojo out of its vault. His energy is very contagious and life-giving. If Ty tags you, be aware that you are looking from the highest point, facing forward — Into The Future.

Ty can be seen on the streets of Houston, Bangkok or Black Rock City with a suit case in one hand and the other wanting to hold yours to fill it with recognition, delight and camaraderie. If you've been tagged, you inderstand this sensation.

Ty's spirit animal is The Rainbow Tiger. He hardly ever eats or sleeps due to time constraints.


Read Johnson - Man on Fire

This is a man of many talents working tirelessly at finding The Future. You may stumble upon him deeply planted in a rocket test manual, or within the periodic tables between 78 and 79. Read wears mostly warm colors but is perceived by many to have a white-blue Burner's halo. Being a long-time man on fire, his costume collection hangs in a temperature-controlled warehouse ten levels below ground occupying the same space as his rare automobile and invention collections.

Read's spirit animal is the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird. His favorite food (like his humor) is always fresh and crisp.


Phil Schmitt - Behind the Curtain

Generally tethered to a desk amongst the personal art collection of a mega-maker, Phil is a longing burner who has seen it, but not touched it. Metaphor this is not. How can one make an infant jump up out of her crib to rock-and-roll? How does a frowning clown scientifically explain why a balloon disappears into an everlasting sky? How do those with a full head of hair understand the sensations of rain's light kisses falling gently atop a smooth cranium?

Pictured in the vintage black-and-white Polaroid, this visual representation symbolizes the feeling he felt when driving a home-made go-cart at full throttle for the first time. Phil has dodged death, created life, and generally made his world into an impressionist painting using only CMYK on paper and RGB in the present medium, while visually operating with a slight red-green deficiency.

Phil's spirit animal should always be cooked to perfection. His elixir of choice is top fuel nitro methane.

Name *