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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reptire Hiaitus!

So here is the word.
I am taking a little 'vacation' from the artist vocation.
I still love RepTire Art dearly, and I still love connecting with my customers, and want to see many of my dream designs come to fruition, and I plan to revist all of these this Spring and Summer at the Festival for the Eno.
But in the meantime, for Winter through Spring time, I am stepping back from it, and focusing on some different (and more direct!) ways to earn a living.

What does that look like?
Well, at this moment it looks like my own personal back-to-the-land movement!
That is, Back To The Land-Scaping!
And boy have I been enjoying it! (inspite of the big ol 'Back' in "Back to the Land"

It is like tattooing the earth’s sexy body, I love it.
You can learn about some of the projects I have been working on lately at my cousin blog

I will also be teaching an after school Wire Sculpture class as a Artist In Residence at the Carrboro ArtsCenter, in February, and quite possibly some scrap art Summer Camps there, this summer.
You can read about some of the Arts Education work that I do at ENGAGERER.blogspot.com.

These are both lines of work that I have been cultivating, engaging in, and enjoying over that past 10-15 years. Its seems it is time to pay these 2 old friends a visit.

Iron Crafter 3! Hy!

To conclude my work shlepping the mountains of Scrap, 
I received one final mission- a very special Treat and Honor. 
That was to judge the Third... EVER! 

Why was this such an honor?
Well, not to mention the obvious prestige of such a post, it was also full circle, as I was a contender in the FIRST EVER Iron Crafter Competion- and I won first prize. OK not really, 
but I won the clearly most awesome trophy EVER!

I was also in some really good company, such as sculptor Bryant Holsenbeck, and two other individuals whom I greatly enjoyed working with.

There was quite a hum of creativity in that room!

Mix Master Dave on the SET!

The green glow and hum of industrious creativity, YES!!!

In the THICK of it!

Back Alley Habber-Dashery

PLUNGING into uncharted ground for art! 

And when all was said and done, and the dust cleared, there stood some really pretty impressive art work!
I wish that I had more pictures of it, as it deserves some recognition. Unfortunately, being judge and photographer was more difficult to balance than I expected.

Imperialist SQUID!

Junk-in-the-trunk hunk, and his Master.

The Prize, The Glory, Our Grand Prize Winner!

Fjording Mt. Scrap- Helping the Scrap Exchange make their final shlep

For the last three weeks I have been assisting my dear family, and beloved Durham Institution, The Scrap Exchange, to clear out what remains of their storage space upstairs in the old Liberty warehouse.

As you may know, the roof of this historic structure (at one time one of the largest tobacco trading stockyards in the southeast (world?) caved in this Spring, and TSE had to make an emergency move out, on the double.

 This was not really too much of a suprise. In the many years that we stored supplies for outreach events in the warehouse space, above the retail space, staff could hear the water pouring through the roof when it rained; in fact you could actually see the sky even then (according to my co-worker, Daniel Bagnal, who spent the most time up there of us all). In fact, it sounded like Niagra Falls when it rained. In rumor, people who couldn't afford to travel up to Niagra Falls to get their wedding pictures taken were going upstairs in the Liberty Warehouse instead.

Why didn't everspreading Greenfire, who bought the building, fix these leaks before it came to this?
Well now, that is a very good question.

The Gaping hole above the entrance ramp.
Ironically, the sign above the ramp reads (something like):
Oh well...

But the skinny of it is, we are out, have found a great new space with a great new landlord, and thus are transferring the last of our supplies out Liberty.

This has been an interesting operation....
A small handful of us were selected as Scrap Special Forces. Mission: rescue our remaining stockpile of  usable materials from the molding, collapsing Liberty warehouse.

What this looked like: Somewhere between a bomb site, a rummage sale, and an archeology dig.

The pictures you see here are quite decieving, as they were taken at an advanced stage of the clean up process.

I had some great coworkers.