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

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beaver Feast

We did it.  She was delicious!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A New Friend

Reptire Designs has a new friend! Amos, the Alley Cat. Or Alley Kitten to be more precise.
It is really a pretty long (and sad) story, which maybe I will share some time.
But the long and short of it is, Amos the Alley Kitten, has been in need of some friends lately.
He is the sole survivor of his litter, not sure what happened to the rest.
And recently, it seems like his mom ditched out on him too (a pattern for her, it seems...).
So, we found it, that Amos was suddenly one lone hombre in the world, the mean streets of Siler City.
Actually, our alley way is pretty chill.
I've been feeding his mother and him for several months now. I put a bowl up on my porchlanding, and they come sneak up there.

But since he got left on his own, I've decided to try to befriend him. It was not easy, as he and his mother are really for all intents and purposes, wild animals. His mother, it seems is especially suspicious. Maybe she is not such a stranger to the ways of Man after, but she is VERY weary. I don't know what it was.

Over that past few days, I have been patiently drawing little Amos in. It is an excersize in patience indeed.
However, I have learned that such patience pays off, as little by little, I have been able to earn the little guy's trust. Often, after he eats, we just chill out together in quiet of the alleyway, me leaning against the brick wall, he about 10, then 6 feet away, laying down, and us both seeming to enjoy a little company in this sleepy town. Quality, guy time.

Last night, while my friend Larry was visiting, during the 3rd Friday Artwalk, for the first time, after about a week of drawing him closer, and earning his trust alittle more each time, that I wasn't going to pounce on him, he actually ate from my hand, kind of a miracle, considering where he had been only days before.

And tonight, we finally broke through, as he ate from my hand, under the full moon, he let me pet him, and returned the affection, and we spent the rest of the evening solidly establishing and confirming ourselves as buds for life.

I tied a cigarette butt to a string, and gave him a little guerilla training, important for a lone kitten in the world.

Then, out of nowhere, his mom showed up.....I knew that she was back in town, I had seen her around more lately, but she didn't seem to be giving her kid the time of day...

When she saw me with her kitten though, she stopped dead in her tracks...
I can't even fathom what went through her mind as she watched her little kitten nuzzle against this giant hulking mountain of a beast, who seemed to be playing with it...with an improvized bug on a string. Could she gather that concept at all?.....Probably not...she must have been really baffled.

She slunk around, and eyed us fearfully, intensely, hatefully and suspiciously. I have recently come to realize that she is slightly frightening to me. Maybe its her coloration, her fur is so dark around her face, her eyes, and their is something distinctly skeletal about her face.

She seemed to regard us with such an intense, unfathomable malice. An unstoppable rage seemed to burn with in her. Was it her sense of betrayal, by her Kitten? I could certainly understand her feeling that way. I tossed her some cat food, that I had soaking in milk.
As she sniffed around for it, she continued to eye us suspiciously.
Amos the kitten really didn't seem to have much interest in reconnecting with her.
However, after a few minutes as she drew closer for more thrown bits, he seemed instinctively obliged to think about approaching her, like he felt with in the sphere of her influence, and felt like he should be a good cat, but really didn't want too. You could tell that this cat was really hanging on the fence poor thing...
Well, when he finally made a more to approach her, she setteled it pretty quick, giving him a nasty hiss.
Oh the sound that she made. So disaster ridden and torn, was her voice.
I had always thought of her as sort of a young mother, out on her own..
But from the cry that emerged from her guts, she now seemed like a s sort of desperate old crone.

Amos retreated, visible hurt of his feelings, to be so fiercly rejected by his estranged mother!...
He came and lay down beside my leg, and then did a funny thing. He sort of flopped over on his back, so show me his big round white belly. It seemed like such as gesture, of defeat, and resignation to defeat.
It seemed to say to both of us "Well that settles that, not gonna work. I'm yers buddy old pal!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Siler City Lantern Festival

Mark your Calenders,
   Because this October 3rd Friday, something very witchy is brewing....

A visit from the Chatham County Bureau of Tourism

Today, I got a very special visit from Mrs. Neha Shaw, our one-woman office powerhouse, here in Chatham County. I have recently had the pleasure to meet Ms. Shaw through both of our work the Siler City Merchants Association, and I have continually been impressed by both her professionalism, candor and vision.

It was a real treat to get to introduce Neha to the Reptire Design Studios and Showroom today. She seemed to delight in the mysterious ambiance of the space, in its many nooks and corners of eclectic tire amazement, which was satisfying to an artist like myself, especially coming from a tourism professional (with exceedingly good tastes) like herself.

Mrs. Shaw also brought with her a cache of Great Ideas!
One that she sold me on particularly deftly, was to set up some kind of an art making experience that visitor's could have with Reptire Designs.
I have to admit that while I was initially dubious and suspicious, in the course of discussion, she somehow turned me around, and after some serious brainstorming around the topo-tire coffee table, we devined a pretty neat plan!

On 3rd Fridays, (beginning in Novemember) I will host worm sewing parties at the Studio. Visitors form out of town, perhaps staying the night at Celebrity Dairy's Bed and Breakfast, can come in and 'tie one on'!, to old Tyrius!

At my last 'Verm-Sewing Verk Party' back in September of 2010, we had a great time sewing up Tyrius in preperation for his YOGA SPECTACULAR at Reuse Conex. There, Pro Chatham County Together! Counselor Extraordinaire Gwyn Overturf marveled at what an enjoyable, relaxing and really quite therapeutic activity worm sewing is.

And it is absolutely true! The repetitive motion of hand sewing these two fabric rings together, (with jumbo sized, curved upholstery needles and heavy duty fishing line) to create a long, bendy, human-sized glowering tube, with alternating stripes of black, orange, white, pink and yellow is a unique and special experience indeed!

(It also sort of brought a lot of very special in my life together, so too, it seemed to emminate the residual warm and hearty aroma of community building in my own personal collective memory, at least. There is something about doing small repetitive handi-tasks together around a table (or fire), that seems to tap into some part of our brains, somewhere back there, when we spent a lot of time doing such things (sewing fishing nets, sails etc....
Definitely some 'Stitch and Bitch' potential here..)

As Neha suggested, wouldn't it be wonderful for a visitor to get to step beyond that veneer of buying an artist's crafts, and get to step into their space, their gloves, their process, for an evening, and help to create something of lasting shock value!

I think it sounds awesome!

Article in News & Observer

Great article about Reptire Designs, and its genesis, penned by writer Diane Daniels, for the News & Observer, which is now a statewide publisher! I gave Diane an impossible amount of information to juggle, and she boiled it down very nicely and eloquently I think.

Diane's story was also accompanied by some terrific photo's by Silk Hope's own Harry Lynch, whom I enjoyed meeting also.

Thanks very much to these two News Professionals for lending their keen, well honed eyes and ears to Reptire Designs, and its story.

It has been great to share it with them and with others through them!


Festival For the Eno 2011

Had a wonderful time, and made some very significant connections between my artwork and people at the festival.
I will try to catch up ASAP!