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Come Home, for Burning Man 2022

Made by Bex Shinn

This is Come Home, which is sculptures of my chihuahua mixes- Mushu and Ginger. I made these August of 2022. They are wooden armature much like Jonni’s baby elephant sculpture is built on, then lots of crumpled paper, old shopping bags and bubble wrap to fill them out and shape them.

I used a similar aluminum material on their ears as was used in the baby elephant’s trunk. Paper strips and regular flour and water paste, then covered in gesso and acrylic paint. I think Mushu also got a layer of shop towel strips, but I ended up skipping it on Ginger as I was running out of time. It did seem to add a small amount of extra stiffness that Ginger’s sculpture is lacking.

The dog bowl was made by layering cling wrap over an old water dish and covering it with the original paper mache clay recipe.

They held up surprisingly well out in the hot Nevadan desert under harsh sun, intense winds and alkaline dust storms. Ginger ended up with a slight stress crack around the base of her ears, but it should be easily repaired at some point. They’ve actually been in my carport since last September and have done very well. I’ve made sure to keep direct rain off of them, they’re a little dusty, but we plan on bringing them back out to the desert this year after a bit of clean up.

Come Home Dogs - Burning Man Sculpture Made by Bex Shinn

This was my first piece of placed art at Burning Man (or anywhere for that matter.) I poured all of myself into this piece, it was my first sculpture of anything over an inch or two. My first time with paper mache since making a moon with my dad when I was 8 or so (34 years ago.)

My dad is the reason I make art, as he was an artist and raised me with a drive and appreciation for creating. I think he would have loved these goofy looking dogs.
It was a blast bringing my art to Black Rock City, and very healing to my heart to make a giant Mushu after having to say goodbye to her earlier that year. I loved being able to visit the art piece daily to see our dogs while we were away from home. We brought pbjs to the art piece and had a snack with our extra large doggos and it made missing them a little more tolerable. People really connected with them and left messages at the dogs, cards, hearts in the dust. It was an all around wonderful experience and I’m so glad I did it.

Making this piece helped me move past a large chunk of the imposter syndrome I’ve been carrying around my whole life as to whether or not I am an artist or can make art, if people would accept or appreciate it.

I have to give immense thanks to Jonni. I never would have been able to create this art (or the piece I’m currently working on) without the vast wealth of knowledge you have shared here and your YouTube channel. Truly a gift to have so much information available for other artists to learn from. Thank you, Jonni. You’re a real inspiration. 🙂

Currently working on a very large duck sculpture for this years art installation at Burning Man called Duck Around And Find Out. Using some of the same methods as this last piece and trying out some new techniques. Hopefully I’ll remember to share it before another year passes.

Burning Man Sculptures at Night

3 thoughts on “Come Home, for Burning Man 2022”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing, and happy to see a fellow burner here (although I’ve only been to local Midwest burns). I am so touched by your story and feel very similar about my soul cat Twiglet who passed away. I am trying to make a giant egg for Artica STL this year so it gives me courage to see a success at a large scale! This will be my first time making anything larger than a birdhouse and my first time presenting art publicly like this!

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  2. Thanks so much for the story behind them – and your experience at Burning Man…it really adds so much to know those things!
    Looking forward to seeing the duck!

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