Ahoy Matey, and Welcome to REPTIRE, an intermittent ‘ship’s blog’, chronicling the slow rise in the South Easterly skies of Reptire Designs; a studio that designs and crafts always artful, and sometimes useful THINGAMABOBS from old Indian Cucachou, aka ReTired Rubber.

Down Below, Ye shall find a permanent 'flagship post' marking the Maiden Voyage of Reptire Designs.

And below that, in the ‘hull’, can be found more recent posts chronicling the daring new adventures of Reptire Designs, dashed with small bits of whimsy, spotted pickerel, local color, and lizard lore..

In fact, on the right, in pale purple, ye shall find the Captain's Log’s Table of Previous Posts, which ye can peruse by year, month, and title to ye hearts content.

If ye haven't gotchyer sea legs yet, My Pretty, Ye can take a gander at our website at www.reptiredesigns.com, to get a proper Landlubber's Introduction.

Thanks for stopping in, I do hope you enjoy your visit aboard this ship! HARHARHARHAR.......

Sincerely, Travius Von Cohnifus

Captain, Founder, Indentured Servant, Rubber Alligator Wrestlor Extraordinaire a' this here ship.

enter the treadknot

On September 26th, 2006, I launched my tire art/design business, Reptire Designs, with a solo exhibition of my artwork in The Green Gallery at The Scrap Exchange Center for Creative Reuse, in Durham, NC. For many reasons, it was a night that I will always remember, and I am grateful to Laxmi (my girlfriend at the time) and Edie (my mother, still) for dutifully documenting while I shmoozed, so that I may now shmare a taste of the evening with anyone who was not able to attend...

On a cool but lively autumn night-before-Center Fest, a stream of friends and curious strangers trickled (like pebbles through a rain stick) through the forest of odds and ends (that roost at night in The Scrap Exchange), out into the warm light of the back savanna, a scene utterly glopped with bizarre rubbery hybrids. Tentative and curious, the visitors craned their necks, nibbled, pecked, stood back, moved in closer. From the walls, glassy mirror eyes gazed back through black unblinking eyelids, while beneath the visitor's feet, in a steamy drainage cistern, a mortal drama unfolded. Primordial forms, with no eyes at all, sat puckered on stoops. A cascade of glittering steal droplets formed a curtain, to which clung a colony of tiny tire knotlettes.

Vito D., a long-time collabator down from the Asheville area, caressed the warming air with his Strange Little Folk music. I bobbed and I flit, and at an increasing clip-someone must have opened the faucet a bit....for soon I was swooning, I just about lost it! As the evening progressed, to my delight and amazement, 'family' from Durham, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro, Hillsboro, Siler City, Asheville, and Fresno all made it! From the Cohn Clan to the Steudel Clan to the CFS Clan; from the WWC Clan to the Duke Ac Pub Clan to the SAF Clan; from the Bike Shop Clan to the Ninth St. Clan to the Scrap Clan... and every one in between, guys, they were all appearing before my stunned, blinking eyes. While I spun and I splayed, Vito now played-CHURNED- up a torrent of gritty ditties; while a staff volunteer (Brandon's a photographer, I swear) whipped up pitchers of Mango Lassies. And The 'Scrap Exchange girls' worked the door, the counter, and the floor, going "cha-CHING!", cha-CHING!","cha-CHING!".!.

By the end of the night, hundreds of friends, acquaintances and had-been-strangers had poured in, poured over the work, and partaken in, what was for me and my art, a monumental communal feast. And on top of it all, I got to place many of my preemies in hands that I love and trust, and in several instances, hands that fit them like gloves. What a privilage to be able to connect with people this way. Heading into the turbid seas of small business, I can confidently say that if I drown tomorrow, I am at least blessed today with the memory of (as Vito later put it) one authentically good Durham night.

Thanks to all of you who were there; in body and/or spirit.

Reclaimed-wood Builder and Reptire Collector Howard Staab enjoying magwi knot at the Scrap Exchange

Reclaimed-wood Builder and Reptire Collector Howard Staab enjoying magwi knot at the Scrap Exchange
I can't think of anything more rewarding for an artist than to see someone interacting with their artwork. Photo by Laxmi Haynes

Sammy and Dannette contemplate

Sammy and Dannette contemplate
Photograph by Laxmi Haynes

Cascade Colony of Knotlets

Cascade Colony of Knotlets
They would go with your jacket, would they not Claire?

Laxmi Resplendent

Laxmi Resplendent

Mavis In The Mist

Mavis In The Mist
Photograph by Laxmi Haynes

Tire Amazement

Tire Amazement
Photograph by Edie Cohn

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


   Ha ha, I fell asleep in my chair last night trying pump out that last post at 2:30 am after I finally got home (the police officer who likes to perch in the alleyway noted 'you look tired'. You can see my cryptic sleep-smothered last words at the end there..

So I am going to try to elaborate a little more on some of the great people I met at Reuse Conex and my epic effort to pull this together, and hopefully, for your sake, perhaps some kind of coherent plot will develop (one ussually does)...


    Upon arriving the night before for set up, it quickly became appearent that my booth, if not my self, was drasticaly over dressed for the occassion. Though we had all had been alloted 10 square feet, most of the other exhibitors used about half of this space, opting instead for a table with a taupe table cloth..My booth, or 'hut', as the Scrap Gang called it, jutted way out into the isle. My booth neighbors rightly convinced my to trim back the bamboo twigs sprouting from my trellis poles, this wasn't Eno River State Park, after all. As the only covered tent in this large convention room, I do think it added some good variety to the landscape though, a tree patch in the taupe table savannah. Not to say that there weren't several other installations as well though, such as Form and Function, The Green Chair, and Nail Kicker, and several others.

    After I finally got my booth set up, and everyone else had (wisely) long ago left and gone to bed, I stayed up until about 3 sewing up Tyrius's guts with fishing line in the silence of the carpeted lobby. 
As I lay there in that great long tube of 'the belly of the beast', sewing away, doing an inner jig to the Pogues, a great calm washed over me, and I almost fell asleep there while sewing. However, eventually I heard the foot steps of a security gaurd making her rounds, outside (of the worm) probably thinking she was alone in the deserted convention-hall lobby, save for this bizarre giant rubber satanic snake thing. Well, when I heard her steps, and gave a "hello?" I think I must have scared her pretty good, because all I heard was dead silence for a good long while...  Eventually, I took pity and explained, "Hi, I''m in here, working on the worm sculpture." "Oh! God" she exclaimed. She explained that she had been working since 4 that morning, and when she heard the worm sculpture speaking to her, she feared she was finally loosing her mind. Poor gal. Then, though we never did see each other, as I was buried deep inside of the tube, we both shared a long long laugh of delerium and relief, I on my side (of the tire worm's belly), glad that she hadn't riddled me with bullets, and she on hers, I guess glad to know she still had her wits... 

A little while after she left, I sewed up the last seam, making Tyrius a whopping 50 foot long snake. But before I sewed up the last quarter  of the seam from inside, I grabbed my trusty scissors, and pulled them in with me. I had a 50 foot long foot-first inch-worm-shimmy to make down Tyrius's intestinal tract, and I wasn't about to get stuck in there!  


I did make out, with out having to perform a self C section either. Taking a long look at the hulking giant, no doubt as tired as I was, I decided to curl him up into a tight coil on the carptet infront of the doors. I nestled his snout against his side, like a cat or a duck, and called it a night for both of us.  
I was satisfied to have completed him, and a coil seemed like a good position from which to spring the dance that he had in store.

After a few short hours of sleep in the now cleared van, I opened my bleary eyes, shook off the cold, and  exchanged my sleeping bag for some fresh duds. It was show time, so I shuffled in to get some coffee and bagels.


To kick us all off for Reuse Conex, we were very lucky to have a wonderful Keynote 'speech' by none other than Garth Johnson, madly brilliant mind behind 'Extreme Craft'.
What a pleasure this guy was! He came decked out in several pairs of pants, funky as skunk. And his opening address... I knew I was going to learn something from this guy! Garth is an Art History Proffessor, and he chose to use his talk to give a GREAT historic context to what may sometimes seem like a 'new' movement in the art world Art from Reclaimed Materials (his specialty). Another artist complained that he did not talk about current practices.Bah! For the past two days, the word 'Spoli' has been ricocheting around brain. Spoli, Spoli, Spoli. Spoli, illuminates Garth, is the term that the Romans used for incorporating older sculptures into new ones...thus attempting to 'borrow some of the power' of the older scuplture...! Garth seemed like a great guy too, I wish I had had the chance to hang out with him more.

I have to say I am very glad I got to hear Garth speak, because other than catching that I did a very poor job of getting with the program, and missed most of the people I really wanted to hear. It was hard to devide my focus between my booth and the conference.

But in between talks and during Exhibit times, I did meet many interesting people.

Heres a list of some of the people I met.

I was blessed at this event with the sweetest neighbor I could possibly hope to have (good luck with this so far!). Reena is the owner of Eco-ArtWare, a web-based Gallery based out of DC, specializing in creations from reclaimed materials. It was very exciting to meet her, because I have been a fan of her site for quite a while now. And we bonded almost immediately.We had a lot of good conversations throughout the conference, and it was interesting to hear that some of the artists in her stable had run into the same issues of copyrighting that I am so cautious of. Rena was a real pal to me throughout the event, even helping me to breakdown 'the hut' at the end. And She threatened to beat me up if didn't put price tags on my work! I'm working on it Rena!

Annie- Annie is one of the first fellow artists I met. She is a trip, and she was a pal and a half. She took me under her wing, helped me unload, kept me on track. That there is a good woman. She also let me model one of her awesome belt buckles, which I hope I did justice too. Her work was really fun and impressive too.

Leslie- Got connected with the event through her visit to my installation in Siler City. Her display was gorgeous, a light table made from a window from the Habitat home store, really set her glass work to life! Her work seems to have really developed into something very unussual and interesting,  and I am glad that she got involved. She was a pleasant presence too.

'ASANA'  #2

While people were in a talk, I rearanged Tyrius into 'Yoga Pose' Number 2. For this one, I curled him into a long S shape, and propped both his head and the open end of the tube on his back, for him to peer into. I called this one Self-Reflecting Worm, and the title is a play on the term Self-Reflexing Form. Self Reflecting Worm, get it? I swear, I should be a comedian or something. I wanted this one to be a graceful transition from the curled up shape to the knot he was to become. I don't know if it was a graceful transition, but I do think it was a graceful shape, and probably did the job ok.  And actually, I do think it worked ok as a transition.

My Mom and Sister, and Martha came by, and we had a little mini sweatshop going in my booth. That was awesome. They also convinced me that I needed to bring my coin purses up front. They were soo right. 

Dr. Martinelli  "Better Homes and Garbage"

At the end of the evening, at 6 pm, we had a Fashion Show. For this special occassion, I donned my very special redbutton necklace, created by Norma Hawthorne?, and on loan from the collection of Stacye Leanza. It was pretty magestic, I had to keep it mostly concealed, for fear of upstaging the entire fashion show.
But the fashion show was pretty cool! No tire outfits, but I think I understand why...

I got Atom Cianfarani! This was a real pleasure. She was very cool, down to earth. But boy did she land me a suprise- She has developed severe Latex Allergies! I wanted to give her a change purse, but she couldn't take it! I feel bad for her, because I know she must have loved the material as much as I do.
She was kind in sharing her cautions with me. 

  I also met up with 'my girl' Buffy, who I approached at the Festival for the Eno, and with whom I am hoped to do a splendid collaboration with. I used the oppurtunity to lure her to my tent, and make the alligator clothespin pass off.... we'll see where she takes it...

Also, I have to note, that while there were some very lovely models on the runway that evening, Ann Woodward stole the spot light and graciously pointed it on one of the speakers, a purple haired young woman from Glasgow, Scotland, who proved herself to be a total Deva, and in turn totally stole the show!

When the fashion show as over, as soon as I could, I went straight to bed, to try to catch up on some of the sleep I had lost the night before. 

The next morning I woke up reenergized. I strapped on my Air Jordans, jumped out the van, and flew through the doors, determined to give Tyrius a hell of a day. 

TYRIUS  Action shots.

Bob- I cannot say enough odes to Bob. Bob is great. When Bob and I learned we'd been accepted, I wrote Bob, and asked if I could mention his involvment in a press release, as he is another great Reclaimed Materials artist from this neck of the woods. He and his wife dropped by one afternoon, and Bob had a good time playing around in my studio. Got to show some pictures. Bob was a huge help to me, handling Tyrius. When wrangling a 50 foot long tire worm, its good to have a guy like Bob on your side.

That day, as planned, the new NC Chapter of the Reuse Alliance the 2nd Meeting there. I have to admit, that I felt pretty cool (Brittish Inteligence Style) gathering with this small group of people, to discuss next steps, and what we had gathered at the conference. I suggested that we create a focus group to learn how to incorporate Femi's software into our businesses, as this would provide us with the numbers we will need to get more funding for various projects, a goal of the group's. Anne pointed out that the Index which MaryEllen has created will be very useful to this end as well.

At the meeting, I met a gentleman seated to my left, Gustavo,  a great guy who runs an eco-friendly landscaping business, out of Siler City! After the meeting, he told Murial (who once lived in Siler too) and I the sad story of how City Hall was not working with him in his efforts to start a Building Materials Reuse Center in the building which used to be JD power sports. I think that would be so awesome. While he seems to have given up on working with the City Hall guys, I am hoping I can somehow connect him with people who can help, if he is interested.

Muriel- a classic. A fav. Muriel brought her Mama Lama, and the baby too. I think she needs an earth-worm in her menagerie, don't you?

The Scrap Exchange Gang Its always good to see the scrap girls, and its seldom I get to see them all together in the light of day! They all insisted on called my booth a 'hut'. While its true that of late I am dividing and advertizing my work into tire art for the jungle, and tire art for the hut..I don't think they knew that...were they just being deminutive?

One of the legendary Scrap Girls is Ruth- Has been a cohort and collaborator in this event from the beginning. Her work had always sounded interesting in her describing it too me. She says she likes to recycle unfinished quilting projects into her work! I always thought that was a really sweet proposition. A chance at redemption, wish I someone to salvage my miscarriages. Her work proved to be everybit as rich as her description suggested.

Nice Teacher Woman from New York. Socrates? This was a fabulous person. My favorate kind. Bright,  shining. 

Reuse in the Building Industry 

Kemi-  wow, a true gentleman. He makes this awesome software for businesses in the reuse sector to track the sources of their materials. I am very excited to learn more about this tool for capacity building. 
Kemi seems like a great guy to work with. 

While I was packing up in the deserted parking lot of the hotel, Kemi came down looking for the waterbottle he set down to help a very tired looking booth mate, and helped me pack up a little. We hung out and had a good time talking about Tyrius. We decided I need to get a stretch limo for him, and just shuttle him around from party to party, the big celebrity he is.

Nail Kicker decided Tyrius was a menace to society, and kept a close watch over him!

Leslie from Asheville/Shakori- Starting a Creative Reuse Center in Asheville!

Erica Pittsburgh Reuse told me she like my work. I asked her what she liked about it? She said what she liked best was the sign that said no photos. She said she could appreciate that, and we had a good talk about it. 

William Photographer Very kindly helped me take some photos of Tyrius Tied, as my camera's memory card was tragically full up by that time. William took some gorgeous shots, and I can't wait to see them.

Duke Students- Eddy?


Moise- Reuse Connections?

Cleaning up afterwards with Congolese.

Garth -
He did bestow the honor of coming to visit my booth, which I think he seemed to enjoy, though I did not get as much of a chance to discuss my work with him as I would have liked. We were joined by a Fiber Artist and proffessor at NC STATE, who was hosting Garth the next day in her class. She turned out to be very cool! First, she answered a candid question which I have been dying to ask NC State Design school professors, and that is, would it be worth my while to attend the program? She asked me why I would do that, and gave me her honest answer which I found very helpful. Then, looking around my booth, she told me something else, which was very funny for me to hear. 
She said, "I hate to tell you this, but you're a Fiber Artist."
Well, I don't know if she expected this to offend my male ego; even if it did, which it didn't, I had to admit that it was something I had suspected this for sometime now! And actually, I had to thank her, and tell her what an honor this was for me, as I have recently considered approaching some Fiber Arts institutions, but I wasn't sure how I, and my tires would be received. This certainly gave some validation to that suspicion..

There was also another Artist there, Jan Ru, who is a professor at NC STATE's Design Program. She was very cool (her installation art is amazing, and she is starting a reuse program there.
They invited me to come visit with Garth the next day. While I was Very tempted, and would have been a reallly fun adventure, unfortunately I had to pack up that night, leaving no space to sleep, so I had pass on the oppurtunity. Jan Ru did invite me to come speak to her class another time though!

BREAK DOWN Congolese. 

MaryEllen Etienne, the Director of the Reuse Alliance, who organized Reuse Conex seemed pleased with Tyrius's participation, and said some very sweet things about him. She said she liked that Tyrius crawled around the space over time. I was glad she felt this way. As I told her, and several others, Tyrius  is a worm, and worms will wiggle.


I did very poorly at this. I think I missed just about everyone I wanted to hear talk. I have always been pretty bad at getting with the program, and I really suffured for it this time. However, I did happen in upon a few rare gems, most notalbly a teacher talking about art projects, and a great talk about reuse in the building industry. Still I missed Anne, Reina, Atom and Femi, all people I really wanted to hear.  Its hard to do several jobs at once...Also, in general, I was so wiped out from the double installation the night before, of my booth, and then Tyrius, that I was just kind of out of it the whole time. I don't feel like I was at my best in my interactions with people. 
This was both a lesson, and a realistic glimpse into what I am trying to pull off. 
Showing both a large public sculpture, and also offering smaller works through a both, was somewhat the realization of the dream business model for Reptire Designs. But attempting to pull this duplicity off at the conference amply demonstrated the pitfalls of this model which I have always been both weary and tryed to be cautious of: namely of spreading my self too thin. And at this event, I felt, at least, visibly so.

Return from ReuseConex: Victorious!

Holy Shit.... That was Amazing.
I don't even know where to begin.
But one thing I think I can fairly say about my involvement, is that, with all due modesty,

Heres a list of SOME of the people I met, or saw there.
MaryEllen Liked that Tyrius crawled around the space over time.
The Scrap Exchange Gang
Nice Teacher Woman from New York. Socrates?
Nail Kicker
My Mom
Leslie from Asheville/Shakori
Doctor "Better Homes and Garbage"
Erica Pittsburgh Reuse
William Photographer
Duke Students- Eddy?
Gustavo, great guy, say story of Siler City
Nathan Connecting.
Fashion Show Revamp,  Buffy, colaboration
Atom- Latex Allergies
Moise- Reuse Connections?
Cleaning up afterwards with Congolese.
Fiber Artist NC STATE

OK, Its almost 2:30 am, And I KONKED out. In fact I am littarally half alseep....!
But Get off tihis thing...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Returning to the treadknot (as I tend to do)

  I have turned my attention for the past week or so back towards my booth.
MaryEllen, the Director of the Reuse Alliance, recently sent us the layout of the exhibit hall, and it looks like aside from my fellow Reclaimed Artists, I am going to be in excellent company with the other exhibitors too.
In fact right next to me is going to be none other than Eco Art Ware, a web-based gallery of art and crafts made from Reclaimed Materials. You can check them out at

I also see that, to my renewed delight, Atom Cianfariani, Reue Artist/Fashion Designer All Star WILL BE SPEAKING AT THE EVENT! Holy shit. I feel like a school girl about to wet her pants, and I mean that...
Want a taste? Check it!:::
If you take a gander, you will see that Atom does a whole more than this two. I am interested to hear her speak.

So, this has been a pleasurable turn for me, inwards towards my homies, my locus, the treadknot.
I made a hearty batch of the little guys, the change purses over the course of the last two days, and it was such a pleasure to work that form again.
   I also found that I seem to have honed my skills, and the design seems to be refining itself, as it should...
I think that I may decide to up the price on them just a little, here at the festival, but also in general.
Well, I have always felt that the treadknot is a sort of sacred form, and at times I have wondered if it is a tad bit sacriligious to enslave them with task of handling 'filthy lucre'. I think I've gotten over that, for the time being, I mean, if we Jewish "God's Chosen" are the financiers of the world, maybe a treadknot will make a great change purse, who am I to say? (and it does).
  However, that issue aside,  I do feel that, with the increased attention to detail that I give each one, that they are becoming works of art in themselves.
So I think I might up them from $16.50 to $18, and some more intensive ones even on up to $20 or $25, which is the price a seasoned craftsman once suggested to me.

So I am putting most of my focus right now on merchandizing these slick little buggers. 6 years down, and I still think these things are the hottest thing since...hottentots...
I FINALLY wrote up a sheet to go with them today, including a 'how to care for' sheet. It was fun doing it. It makes it alot easier to send these guys out into the world, when I take the oppurtunity to explain what makes them so special, and how to keep them that way.

And Thanks to my wonderful friend Stacye Leanza, I now have a gawgeus hangtag to dangle from their chains. Stacye was kind enough to respond to my plea for help (in return for a lot of free help on murals in the past two years, I think) and update my logo design a little bit, for this new application. She was super to work with, and I am REALLY pleased with the result. As she would say She should be a Graphic Designa! Heres a peak:

(sorry, won't let me load it) Basically, she added my website at the bottom, and configured the tag line (with my direction), to make it much more readable. She must have done SOMETHING for the resolution too, cause it looks Much better than I ever remember seeing it. Damn that looks good Stacye!

In other news, I have secured another van, God Bless Diane! Diane Swan, a good fairy sister of Chatham County, who we are all blessed to have in our midst. She uses the van to instal the gorgeous cabinets that she installs in the special and lucky homes hidden around this county. If you are interested, please check out what beautiful touches of trees she brings to a home's cabinetry: http://www.facebook.com/diane.swan.galleries

Diane warns me that the van has no working windows, no AC, no radio. Pshaw.
My options? Suffice to say, None of them a running van!
The Diesel Van, well, its a long story. Not this time, sorry buddy.

OK, better hit the hay. Feel a headache on the way, and I'll be needing that noggin for the next day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life is Rife

Ahh life.
Life is rife,
rich with smack downs for the overly enthusiastic, the ambitious, the dreamer.

A country western singer once sang "Houston is a woman who kicks you when you're down."

And Reality, she is a scowling, squat frumpy woman, waiting ready with her bludgeon.

So this morning, I inhaled my breakfeast, and before anything could snag or stall me, rode straight down to Roger's studio, eager to sew up those tires, and see this things lips get that much closer together, within reach of that much anticipated self-smooch. (God the self-sexual tension of an apprehensive, giant pubescent grub can be immense! Ah yes, we all remember those awkward teenage years.)
  Well, while there might be a lot of angst and longing involved for our self actualizing friend, I on the other hand was feeling fairly blase this morning (or at least trying to convince myself) "What a luxury" I thought, "to be able to just GO, and SEW, with a clear goal in mind. So simple. I wish the rest of running this business was so simple...."

Ahh life.

But once I started clamping this new batch of tires together, before I went ahead and spent the day sewing 20-30 tires together, I had to go take another look at the worm, and see just how far this was going to get me..
  And it seemed, looking again, that ONCE AGAIN!, my eyes had decieved me! How pernacious, the wishful eyes!
For re-estimating how many I would need, it now seemed more like 75-100 than 30-50! (I'm trying to be more conservative in my guesses now). OW!

So, Mater Reality has regained her grip.
Lucky for me, I am quick on my feat.
Time to restrategize again. And fortunately, now I have a 50 foot length of tire worm to 'play'; with.
In some sense, this is where the 'fun', and perhaps free associative 'art' begins...


 All though I have stubbornly returned to the knot several times now, when I probably should have just left it be, one option for the knot still remains.
That is to break the worm into its three Tyrius-sized segments, give each a head and a butt, and wrap these around each other, in a segmented version of the knot, something I have actually never done before...Conceptually this could work pretty well. The symbol for Recycling, which I was planning to reference in the piece, is actually, as the organizer of the conference has reminded me, not for just recycling or Reuse, but for 3- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. So each of the different worms would then represent a different prong of that trident. A little bit didactic for my tastes, but it might be cool looking, in a designy, or perhaps redeemingly MC Escher sort of way, plus it would be kind of cool to see a big worm orgy of Reuse, which you could say this conference/expo is.
Technically, this is slightly complicated. I would have to build 5 new worm butts/snouts (tyrius's butt is toast), and figure out how to attach them to one another. However, the idea of 3 equal sized segments, which I balance around each other, and attach, say with a simple carribeaner, has its own certain grace and appeal to MY mind...

2) OCHO- Figure 8
So, I allowed myself the chance to play with this now long, snaky meandering tube, and there is actually some potential therein, beyond 'the knot'.
The first obvious move, would be to just loop it into a big donut. Stick a stem on the top, light it up, and you've got a pumpkin, just in time for halloween. Well, while I have always wanted to do that for halloween, as the form really does own its own grace and mystery, as I finally got to see in my installation at Roger's 233 last 3rd Friday, and it IS right on time...I want to take it a little further than that..

So then, the next obvious move was to try wrapping this long snake in a long curling S. Got to say, this is pretty Sexy... (I caught myself thinking of the Ocho's in Tango Dancing, how marvelously Tyrius performs this step..)
So then I took Tyrius non existant butt (we must be related!), which is now just a giant gaping tube opening(...?) and propped it up on the edge of his back. And then I took his head, and propped it up on the other side of his back, so he is looking into the tube.
Ok, now at this point, I am begining to sound a like a favorite Aunt of mine, from Wisconsin, who had particularly dark and twisted sense of humor (not unusual for the region). Or perhaps a very immature artist..

And this begs the question, is it appropriate to show a sculpture of a worm peering into its own ass, at a
Reuse conference in the foyer of a fancy hotel in Raleigh?..I don't want to embarrass anyone, but..
Well, YES! It is!!!
Let me see if I can convince us both...

Well, lets dig deep here, and start at the foundation, I mean, like it or not, this conference is about Reuse, and the very nature of reuse addresses the tail end of the waste stream. Am I wrong? Need I say more?

So we have here this worm, who we could say represents our consumeristic society, and he is pearing into the CORNUCOPIA of his own waste stream, which all of us in the reuse industry know, IS none but such! The tube, with its glowing ribs, actually IS very remeniscent of the cornucopia, the horn of life, that neolithic symbol of the bounty of life. Why not?

(Interestingly, the cornucopia is a theme that has occured in my work before, back in 2000, Always a marvel, how ideas come back around...)

This Neo Pagan scultpure would no doubt have Jesse Helms rollicking in his grave, a holy ghost tent revival all his own. Well, with all due respect, Jesse, you and your worms have your revival, and we'll have ours.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Trying to find my tires

Well, after a great, life replenishing band practice in Pittsboro, with my fabulous bandmates of Zambamboogie, I hauled ass into Durham to try to peel a few tires and some rims from the knuckles of my old friends at the Durham Bicycle Co-op. But no such luck, when I arrived, the place was deserted.
So, this morning I stopped by the Scrap to cancel my encrusting party, and learned the DBC had moved their operations to a spot by a railroad tressle which I know well.  As they are only open on Sunday's (and thursday's too now) I just took a peak, and then went along on my round.

First was the Bicycle Chain in Durham. Those guys are my number 1 supplier,- they have been heros during this process, even attempting to get some of the other stores involved in the effort. These guys, Jeff, Brian, Geof, Carlisle, have really been coming through for me. And true to form, they had a fat stack for me. One big pile in the back seat.

So then off I drove to Chapel Hill, where I stopped first by Performance Bicycles, where I spoke to Scott the repair shop manager, who was happy to help, (I will bring them a basket to set out back), and then Franklin Street cycles, where Linkon was also were very helpful, and gave me two heaping armfulls, probably n part thanks to Bryan's representation.

Then I stopped at a favorite tire pot in these parts, the tire pile behind Back Alley Bicycles. Jason has always been very supportive, and has given me free, wide open picking privilages from their pile out back. And, miraculously, their pile had magically swelled since my last visit, only a couple weeks ago. This struck me as most bountiful luck indeed.

And then to top off, a great big 'tattude' dude pulled up and introduced himself as the new manager of The Recyclery. I instantly got a good vide from this guy. He told me I could take any of the rims in their pile outside the tent, and was very enthusiatic to contribute to the project. (This was great news, as I was a little nervous about having missed the Co-op in Durham.)

A nicer more generous guy I couldn't have found. I think that between he and Jason of Back Alley Bikes, I might have found some formidable Allies in the Carrboro area. As I picked through the pile, and did a little tidying of the pile in return, I thought to myself, "you know Travis, it is time to lay down your old (deeply rooted) prejudices about Chapel Hill (and Raleigh), because with in the walls of these cities, are at least a few fine people."

So I STUFFED the back of my little carrolla with nappy tires and rusty rims, dropped in to thank the crew, and headed off back to Chatham, about 20 blessed mountain bike tires closer to bringing this sculpture end to end...

Before I go, I would like to send a salute out to Geoff, of the Bicycle Chain in Durham. Geoff just recently retired from his post there at the shop, and this appears to conclude many years I have had the pleasure to work with Geoff, as an informal supplier of tires for Reptire Designs. Geoff has always been willing, not only to help me collect the cast away tires from their shop, but also helping me connect with other shops in the chain, and give me advice and in sites into tires. He is also the first person to commission a Hell-o-Holster, which I custom made for him and his ride.
Geoff has just been an all around great guy to work with, and I wish him a GREAT next chapter.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Holy Mamoli!

I just received confirmation that my submission to the Spiritual Visions Exhibition at the Hermitage Museum and Gardens, in Norfolk, VA has been accepted!

In fact, 3 of my 4 artworks submitted were accepted into the show!!!..


Have to go work on that giant knot some more, but I'll try to get back to describe this special opportunity, and what it means to me and my art, in more detail, tonight.

OK I'm back.
Well before I get all voodoo on you, I got to brag a sec.
This here show is Inter-nation-al yo!!!

They were taking submissions from all over the World peeps! All over the world. Now what does that mean for me? I don't even know.

Workin on that Worm

Well, today was a big day for Tyrius The Only Tire Worm in the World, that he knows of.
Today, Tyrius became not only a brother, but also grew about 3 times in length.

It was also a big day for me, a kind of turn around.

Yesterday was utterly depressing, actually the last 6 days have been.
Not only did someone break into my car Saturday night, and steal, of ALL FRICKIN THINGS!!!!-
the section of 10 tires sewn together that I had brought to show the organizers....
On Wednesday night (two nights ago), someone else broke into my van and ransacked it, stealing a couple semi valuable items (to me). I stayed up into the early morning working with the police officer to find usable prints, and then the next day, I went in, and realized that wow,
maybe this is just not going to work. Do I really have enough tires to do this? I was about ready to through in the towel to tell you the truth.

I had started off trying to give an honest effort. I 'Reclaimed' the cone from Atomic IceCream,(which had in fact been borrowed from Tyrius, when he was trying to shed a few pounds for the puppet show. And to this I added a few more sections that I'd made, canibalizing my stash of good mountain used bike tires (that's ok, the mountain bikers of the world will make more). Here goes a cool shot of 'tha toob'.

Tyrius expressing his
'Inner Tuba'

Finally I had 'fashioned' a Nu Toob, boob, that was almost as long as old Tyrius himself, a new playmate. So I drug it out on the floor, and layed end to end. Then it was surgery time. First I bebutted Tyrius, yes, cut off his butt, which wasn't fun, but it also wasn't a great butt anyways, had been maligned by those puppeteers, don't know what they were doing to the poor guy..
I'll spare you the gruesome pictures.
And then It really was surgery time.

The site of Surgery
Tyrius, under the knife.

Healed! A succuessful grafting

Thus Tyrius had grown two fold. He will tell you it was eating his Wheaties, up and down, but you know the truth.

Now came the depressing part. I had figure that I needed to make 2 more Tyriuses, and probably 'a Little' more,  to pull this thing off. But when I tried to tie him into a knot, well, I didn't get very far...

Hey, thats pretty sexy big guy, but that's not gonna get us into ReuseConex!

Oh god, I'm sunk.

That is what I thought. I suppose the dispair of the last week was finally catching up to me.
I've gotten all of these people excited about this thing, invested their time and energy, read about it in the paper, and I've got half a knot to show!
The way it looks I will need another 2 Tyriuses, ontop of these two!

It was time to restrategize, and my options didn't look too hot.
I went home and took a nap.

But today, I went in, and just decided to sew what ever tires I had, and see where I landed. I could guesstimate all I wanted, but as I have never built a sculpture quite like this one, I wouldn't really know where I stood until I had exhausted my supply.
So I just went at it, all day, and added every tire to it that I could. I sewed up the segments that my good friends had assembled for me. I had hoped to save this pleasure for them, I really did want to, but  I had to remind myself that they came and did this to help me, and this is what I needed to do at that moment.

So, I just sewed and sewed.
And I finally hit my stride,
reaching for the bulls eye, to sew every tire I have for the project.

Finally, I had a whole Nother Tyrius, his 2nd cousin. So I attached him too.
And what I came up with is not there yet, but it did seem 'with in reach' which is really what this is going to become.

I'd love to have to big pairs of lips on each one, reaching towards one another, yearning for self love.

As he stands though, pretty cute!  Check Tyrius out, peeking out of his womb of self actualization!


Now I just have to find 50 more mountain bike tires...no problem!