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, July 1, 2015

ECWA Extraordinaires!

ECWA is now a force to reckoned with, with offices in the Snow Building downtown, miles and miles of biking and walking trails, and the infamous annual Beaver Queen Pageant, which gathers hundreds of freaks and squares alike to celebrate “Peace Love and Beaver”.

            In addition to his excellent advocacy of our local stream system, (and our air quality, through his work with the EPA) Larry has been a great neighbor, and a great supporter of Reptire Designs! Larry was a great and enthusiastic presence at Reptire Designs’ Grand Opening at the Scrap Echange 8 years ago, where his young (10 year old) daughter Catie Brockman acted as an indispensable assistant to me at the show! Catie has graduated from High School just this May! Here’s wishing Catie a great time in college!



            This year at the Festival For The Eno, I got a double whammy visit to my Reptire Hut of two of our areas finest sculptors!

            Bill Moore has always been one of my FAVORITE stops on the Chatham County Studio tour. His Geodesic dome studio, with its overhead wench, fire pits and jungle of succulent house plants, and just all around awesome energy,

just mesmerizes me every time. And that’s just his studio! Intermingled among house plants, cast iron star fish, raku obelisk bird houses, hammered hindu busts adorn space. Clearly, amid all of the smoky ashes, you sense there is something of the transcendental at work in that space….very mysterious, and well worth experiencing some December, when he opens this space to the public.
Plus, Bill is about one of the coolest and nicest guys I have met in Chatham County.

            I also received a visit from another of our finest sculptors in the area- Jerry Noe.
Jerry taught his last years at UNC while I was just getting there, and unfortunately I never got to work with him there, which I kick myself about, because, wow, it would have been fun to learn from him! Jerry is one of of the finest sculptors working in neon in the country, and I remember well a piece of his hanging in the office of Hanes at UNC, a casting of a greek vase surrounded by a square frame of glowing pink neon. Wow, that piece knocked my socks off every time I saw it.

INTERLUDE 2 Nefarious Avian Activities

           I can’t look the other way any longer. The signs are all there, staring me in the face. And D’ Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt…no, no. Time face the facts. Wrens are using my studio as cover for a bug trafficking operation.

            My suspicion should have been roused the first time I caught the male wren returning, a few days after the kiddos hopped the nest. All the hubbub had finally died down, and now that the last little grouchy little grandpapito had made that great leap of faith off of the window sill; things had finally returned to the peacefull post partum period I have come to expect this time of year.
            So I was surprised to see the little brown male wren hop through window and make a hasty b-line over to my kitchen area, pausing only for a startled moment on my stereo when we discovered one another. We eyed one another with surprise and suspicion. “What are you doing back here?” I wondered. He only begrudgingly acknowledging me with a tip of his beak. “Oh hey, whats up?” he seemed to mumble. Talk about awkward. After all we had been through, this is all I get? “Oh hey, what’s up? I just came to get a few things….”…? and then he went on his way rummaging through my kitchen.

            And so the traffic began. Now, I might have a spider here or there hiding in a corner of my studio, but I don’t have the kind of merchandize that these cats are slinging. Big fat beige grubs, dangling from their beaks, where are they getting these things from?

            My theory is that they are mining these things from somewhere across the street in front of my studio. And that their nestlings are still holed up some where behind my studio.
            So rather than take the risk of shuttling these things over the vast black expanse of my roof top, the safer little wren thing to do would be to cut through the ‘thicket’ of my studio, their old neighborhood. They know the sculpture, every tire branch, the circuit hopped from one sculpture to another has been etched into the micro circuitry of their reptile brains.

            And so it is, that my studio, with its wide low ceiling, and perches galore provides the perfect foil for transporting a bumper crop of bugs.

            Have they offered me a cut of the action, for safely harboring their nefarious activities? Ha! They fly through like they own the place! And I, like a poor peasant, watching through drawn curtains as the narcos conduct their business in the street, endure and wait.


            My lovely Lady Friend, the good Catherine Sapp was sweet and helpful enough to brew and bring a hulking cooler of two delicious herbal teas to the Reptire River Hut the festival! 1 Red Zinger (hibiscus) and 1 (sweet) Mint Tea.
These were such a nice refreshment to be able to offer to my booth guests and neighbors at the festival. (and or course, I enjoyed their soothing, cooling effects too!)

            I knew that Catherine, an herbal woman to the core, and also a former Sous Chef at Pop’s Trattoria in Durham, was up to this task. And boy was I right! Refreshing and delicious! From all of us all down at this end of the Mill neighborhood, thank you for sharing your herbal woman goodness with us Catherine!


            This Lovely Lady, Pam Byuns, felt a connection with a certain “chaCHING!” that was calling out to her. It seems that they were glowing to one another. Who am I to stand in the way?
You know, the internet does a lot of amazing things. I have it to thank for our connection right now!
But as I mentioned to Pam and her friend, coming to this festival, and witnessing someone find a connection with the fruit of your loins, it is an experience that cannot be replicated by the internet. Neither can the GREAT BIG open hearted hug that Pam and I shared. I hope some of her warmth comes through in these photos…

FLY GUY                       
            This small iridescent fly found a connection with my latest talking tread. A favorite sketch of mine, I had really busted ass to finally pull this one together and get it to the festival in the 10th hour. So it was nice to see it receiving some attention from such a fly little guy. Obviously, this guy had a very sophisticated sense of color and style! (as indicated by both his choice of furnishings, and his formal attire ;).


This Glowing Girl appeared at the doorway to my booth, just at the right time to get gloriously misted (and anointed) in Rose Water. 
Does she look happy or what?!



            It is always a pleasure to receive a visit from my long time friend and classmate from CCCC’s sculpture program, Sculptor Holly Felice at the Festival For The Eno. 

Even though she moved to Boone several years ago, and her folks moved to the mountains to open a camp ground/retreat, they STILL manage to come down to enjoy the Festival For The Eno EVERY YEAR!!! Now that is a dedication of support for this festival that I really find admirable.


  This year, as last, Holly brought her friend Ben, a super nice fellow.  Ben, it so happens, will be entering Medical/Physicians Assistant school this Fall. And one of his first assignments there is to wear a tie or bow tie eve-ry day! Yowza, that would be hard for me to get used to.. and Ben expressed that he was feeling much the same way...

 Somewhat serendipitously, I happened to have JUST the THING for Ben. And that my friends, is a flo tie

You see, the flo tie was created for just such an occasion. I feel proud that this small apparatus was able to go out into the world, and do its job for such a fine fellow as Ben. May it adorn him well, and inspire he and his peers and colleagues to keep thinking outside of the bowtie.