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

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reptire Designs at the Festival for the Eno 2012- Sunday, July 8th

On Sunday, Ken and Leslie came by and picked up their motoknot planter, though I’m sorry that I was cooling off in the river when they came by. I also regret that I did not get the chance to get a photograph of them.

Leslie had been kind enough to write me another check, as I had taken the first one swimming in my pocket that day, so I was careful not repeat that mistake. Such are the hazards I guess, of doing office work near a cool river on a hot day.

    I had an interesting conversation with an interesting fellow, a raccoon hunter who described how he used to use an old tire still on the rim as a feeding trough for raccoons. He would drill a hole into the tire large enough for a coon to get his arm through, but not large enough for a deer to get it’s snout through. In this way, he was able to get the raccoons comfortable with an area. Just another use for an old tire.

(actually, just last night, at a bar I was playing music at, I met a fellow who carries a tire or two in the back of his truck, to use as fuel incase he gets stuck out in the wilderness…)

Later that day, I got to make a very special connection between a person whose sensibilities of style I happen to know, and admire, and one of my prized Tirariums.

The person was Anna Lena Phillips, who had called the Rowdy Square Dance the day before, and the piece she chose was a very small sedum succulent, planted in perhaps the smallest tredknot tirarium yet. This tredknot was ‘forged’ from an armadillo road bicycle  tire, with a really exquisite and artful tread pattern, which had something of the feel of a line-o-cut. In fact, many tread patterns do have this feel, but this one had a certain organic quality to it that made it stand out from the others. When the black of this band of intricately carved rubber was oiled to make it sharper, and it stood against the deep maroon tones of the sidewall on the edges, and the cool minty green tones of the succulent plant, this really made for a striking piece.

I am so glad that Anna Lena connected with this tight, elegent and perfunctive planter. I know that it really resonates with her personal sense of aesthetics, which I consider to be quite sophisticated.

Anna Lena Phillips with her new tredknot Tirarium (tm)

I also had a nice visit from a special friend, Jagmeeth Mack and his new sweety, Leah.
Jagmeeth has recently bravely entered Graduate School to persue his passion in Journalism.
I am very excited for him!

I would like to give a special thanks, once again, to my mom, Edie, who has once again gone above and beyond in her assistance in this operation.

It was Edie who used to bring me down to this magical spot as a kid, and she has always been very encouraging of me to participate in the festival, recognizing it as the great opportunity that it is for Reptire Designs.

This year, like last, Edie was a great help with the plantings, as well as helping to mount signage for the booth. Without her keen eye for detail, prudent thoughtulness, and solid craftswomanship on deck, I would probably be a sunk ship in this storm.

Reptire Designs at the Festival for the Eno 2012, Saturday, July 7th

Saturday was a good day for me. I knew what to expect a little more, and so was able to reflax a bit more, make some good connections, and even have a little bit of fun (I'm talkin' Rowdy Square Dance people..).

My old CFS nongrade school teacher the Good Signor Micheal Bonsignor paid a visit, which was a pleasure.


Bryan, a stained glass artist, and his wife…..took an interest in Reptire Designs, and decided to purchase for the daughter/neice/friend, Caitlin?.. a tredknot chaCHING!

I got a visit from The Awesome, Superwoman stop-fracking-before-it-permanently-fucks-up-our-water supply-activist, Dorothy Raleigh. Jah Bless Dorothy!
It was great to see Dorothy aglow in the reptire tent.

Dorothy Raleigh Inda House!
Aglow beneath the Reptire Canopy
I also met an interesting family who had recently moved down form the New York area.
The daughter Elinor, bought for her Washington DC apartment perhaps THE Bell Of The Ball, a beautiful bromiliade planted within a tirarium of whitewall mountain bike tire.
Rugged beauty, coupled with tropical, flora- "Romancing The Tire" indeed.

Elenor’s friend down from NY, Aaron was an interesting fellow. He is a lawyer, who specializes in solid wasted disposal! Coming from this perspective, Aaron took a keen interest in Reptire Designs, and finally settled upon one of the more rich specemines from the 2012 chaCHING collection- a gnarly greenish Kenda tire knotlette, the kind that crouches in Louisiana  swamps, and plots about industrial sabotage in French/Japanese.

Both of these forgivable (and admirable) New Yorkers must be commended for the discerning eyes.

OK, this lady didn’t buy this dragon’s eye. But I thought is would look great riding on her hip (And it does).

Next we had this lovely lass, who after some good pondering, decided to return, and snap up this lovely little Tirarium., planted with a baby-snake-plant. It glows just like she does, so I know she will give it a good home!

for me was to witness (and participate in) the spectacal of the first ever Rowdy Square Dance at the Festival for the Eno. RSD is a project of Nee Ningy Band’s talented washtub bassist Rob Van Veldt, which usually takes place in the tight (and hence rowdy) quarters of Pinhook bar (link). Here Rob, and the Five Point Rounders (a tribute I am sure to downtown Durhams nearby historic five points intersection), cook up a seeting stew of sweaty, rowdy square dancing, that is gloriously half mosh pit, half square dance.
Or, maybe you could just suffice to say that a Rowdy Square Dance is a spectacularly civilized moshpit, if that makes any kind of sense….well it does, it makes a whole lot sense, and I’ll be the first to tell you that it is a damned rowdy good time.

This year, Visionary Assistant Director of the Festival, Rebecca Connelly decided to bring the Rowdy Square Dance to the Festival for the Eno, which was a brilliant move, if I ever saw one. Anna Lena Phillips, a long time standard at the RSDs led us all through the motions, and damned if it wasn’t a dusty good time. We probably raised a colomn of dust high enough to eclipse the fire works a few nights before. And you can bet that yours truly made sure it was good and rowdy.

Interlude: Refinding Momentum, Inspiration and Salvation at The Scrap Exchange

(continued from last post, please see ENO 2012, Wednesday July 4th)
  "under the oppressive heat of the days, the fatigue of the weeks of preperation, and the intertia and distractions of being away from my studio, I quickly found my focus dissipating, and my effort loosing some momentum…

I knew I had to make a break, so, after a lost day, that I don’t really even remember,  I staggered out and over to visit my friends at the Scrap Exchange, hoping for some stuffing for my dragon’s eye’s, and maybe a little inspiration…."

As I staggered in, from the blinding, scorched Sahara of the parking lot, through the front doors, into the cool cavernous expanse of the Scrap Exchange, I found my eyes struggling to adjust to such a change in light and temperature, and psychedelic patterns flashed before my eyes. I heard a distant soothing feminine voice, welcoming me to the Scrap Exchange, and saw a menagerie of weird things, cobbled together from used parts.
Yet I pushed past all of these,  and staggered deeper into this cavern’s cool depths, down towering corridors, lined with god knows what, whistful faces peering out from unknamed tombs. I hurried past these, determined to find a blue Styrofoam noodle, like the one I’d found before…Actually, I’d long since given up on the noodle, and I was looking for Stuffing, any that could be found, to hold my dear mirrors in place. I briefly considered the prospect of stuffing them with a tangle of computer cords, and panic started to return, but then, I beheld, a giant towering TROUGH of holy stuffing, a giant pale green chalic, issuing forth billows of white fluffy stuff.
Into this chalice I dove, burying my head, my neck and shoulders, until finally only my ankles and feet stuck out. I didn’t care if they never found me, I was happy to be there, immersed, stuffed into my stuffing as it were. I didn't care.
OK, so that didn’t really happen. But I did feel kind of a gratified feeling to find this stuff/ing.

         As I marched back to the check out counter, I passed a glass doorway to one of the turqouise chambers that had previously been empty there. This was to be the new Scrap Exchange Design Center. And through this glass, I beheld a chrystaline workspace, abuzz with several angelic women that I know, sitting around tables busily working on stuff. One of these closest to the door was the magical Reclaimed Materials Artist Bryant Holsenbeck. Hmmm, so fair and gay all of these workers seemed inside of this aquarium of green, and so curious was I what Bryant was up too, that I popped my head, to inquire. She explained that she, and her assistant Iris, were making a flock of birds to soar from the vaulted ceilings of the Scrap Exchange. She just wanted, she explained, to give the place a little bit of her Bryant ‘bling’!

            Well, Bryant being the deft enlister of destitute resources, both (inanimate and human) that she is…, I soon found myelf perched at the top of a very tall ladder, hanging Bryant’s mobile from a grey beam, and sending her flock, (and this drab celing) aflight! I didn’t at all mind being used in this way. It was great to be a hand in this good production, and furthermore, I had been receiving so much help from my Mother the past couple days with plantings and signage, that it felt good to make myself useful to another Artist’s project.

In fact, once we had Bryant squared away, I found myself in a somewhat different mindframe…(such it seems is the magic of Bryant) And an idea struck me upside the head. I inquired, at the front desk. "could I perchance borrow this room for a crafts project?"
And the answer, my friends, as a resounding "YES!!!"
And so it was that I signed in, and then took a shopping cart for a little spin around the marbled concrete floors of the Scrap Exchange. You see, on my epic journey for stuffing, I had come upon some bulging, bursting bags of burlap. And some of these I piled into my cart, as well as few other morsels and tendrils..

Then, like a ravenous cook fresh from the hen house, I entered the ‘kitchen’, and began laying these out on the table for the operation that was to ensue...

Knowing that my time was limited, and the ticker was ticking, I was orderly and systematic in my procedures.

I first finished my work of the day, and completed my dragon’s eyes, stuffing them full to the brim, giving them a nice full feel. Once I had these finished and polished up, I set them aside, and moved on to the next operation.
This project was to create some badly needed paneling for my booth, to both disguise my little check-out station, and create a backdrop for my tire sculptures. As I had noted (during a photoshoot) that the texture and earthy tones of burlap nicely accent the smooth and rugged black rubber of the tires, I though that this burlap would make an excellent backdrop.

I had some carboard squares already cut to size, that I had brought.

What I had not brought, and very much needed for this operation, was a hot glue gun.
And this tool, I can report, was provided in ABUNDANCE by the Design Center.
I could have wallpapered a whole house with all of that hot glue.

One thing that was really nice about working there, on site of the scrap exchange, was that all of my materials were readily available there. When I needed to find another scrap of burlap, say, with a certain print or texture on it, all I had to do was dash out the door, to the mines of scrap waiting outside.
Should I have needed a wire, to fasten something with, it could readily be found, in its own special spot. A categorized bounty; your very own gem mine; a supply closet the size of a football stadium, what more could you ask for?

One other thing that I noticed right when I ducked back into the room, was that the Design Center is mercifully, gourgeously temperature controlled. And as someone who has been swimming through their own sweat in my studio, scraps of different projects sticking to me as I work, this cool, clean, fresh air provided a very refreshing space for me to work in indeed. A complimentary pitcher of cold water (or coffee in winter) further enhanced this refreshingly comfortable feeling.

Which brings me to one final aspect of the Design Center which I really enjoyed.
And that is that it was an empty and neutral space, free of the clutter of my own personal baggage, half finished projects etc, that haunt such spaces as my studio, or the house I grew up in. None of that was here.
Just an empty work table, some handy tools, a sturdy chair. This was HEAVEN!

And this was salvation.
That afternoon, I had staggered though the doors of the Scrap Exchange a somewhat broken man. Feelings of failure hung about my ankles like shackles.
Yet as I walked back out of that door, the returned bounce in my step spoke volumes of my sense of renewal, and accomplishment. I returned to the battle fields, with renewed vigor, and sense of purpose.

Looking back, I realize that that day, perhaps I was like some kind of lost Crusader, stumbling through the jungle, dizzy with dysentery, coming abruptly upon a grotto in the wood- the Scrap Exchange, my shrine, my church, my salvation.

ENO 2012 Wednesday, July 4th

One of the pleasures of setting up a booth at the Festival for the Eno, is watching the parks native inhabitants checking out these strange new arrivals. From exotic furry catipilars to robin's to, to this japanese beetle who found himself stuck  in this tredknot vase.

I’m not gonna lie, this was kind of a tough year at the festival. We had temperatures reaching up into the 108’s all week leading up to the festival, and right on through it too. I think we all took a little bit of a beating this year (in comparison to the last two years, which were quite mild).

This heat made my already ambitious preparations a bit more arduous this year.
This year, as I do every year, I wanted to outdo myself, to up my game, and moreover, continue to refine my presentation of Reptire Designs. But in gathering the many details of this production  together (not to mention the many details of production of artwork for the festival itself), it quickly became clear to me that before I could outdo myself, well jeez, I first had to catch up with myself!...

All in all, I think I was able to improve upon my presentation last year, most notably in terms of signage, and product selection. And looking at photos from year to year, it is most satisfying to watch this thing grow into itself, to see Reptire Designs come into sharper and sharper focus.

 However, I wasn't able to undertake a few new projects that I had hoped to mount this year. Oh well, I guess there is always next year.

Fortunately, I was blessed once again with some really great neighbors, Galia Graphics on my right, and Oliver's Collar on my left. Across the way was Max, with his beautiful leatherwork, and his sweet friend Jackie, standing in for his wife Cathy, who was busy being a new Grandma!

Galia, an Eno Veteran of almost 30 years (!) shared a lot of good perspective with me, and the dog treats, far from being smelly in the heat, were delicious! (I just wish these nice folks had had some milk to go with these cookies!)

Another great change down in our little cove by the river was  the moving of the River Stage. 
The organizers had chosen to do this because its previous location had lacked key shade, creating a sort of "Ring Of Fire" infront of the stage (Vito).
The new location worked perfectly as far as I could tell. The stage seemed bigger, and it framed a backdrop of the shady mill.
As a result, this stage seemed to bring some of the more notable acts down to the river, where it is a little bit cooler.

As usual, I had some great visitors at the Reptire Designs Hut this year.

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera on Wednesday, and so don’t have a good photo record to go by.

I do remember my first customer though, Darlene, who purchased one of the Bells of the ball. A striking tredknot tirarim planted with a lily of the valley.
Darlene also sent over her friend, Rachel, who I really enjoyed, and emailed me with some really great encouragment and perhaps some legal advice.

I also meet Leslie and Ken, a very nice couple who decided to commission a tredknot tirarium to set on the edge of their small, hardscaped pond. For this I recommended a motorcycle knot, as they reported that the site had direct sunlight. They chose a really lovely specemine from the gemline series (with an inlay of chatham soil into the tread, which invokes something of a network of roots working their way into soil.
This I took home with me, and prepared for them to plant them selves, filling it with a liner, gravel and soil. It is finished with a plug of mulch which they only need to remove to plant their lucky plant. This was the first specemine of this kind, and I was extremely pleased with the way it came out. I will have to learn from Leslie and Ken how their planting went.

One other odd thing about this year, was that the festivals dates were divided between the customary 4th, which fell on a Wednesday this year, and the weekend after, on the 7th and 8th.
This strange occurance meant that, at our own discretion, we had to either leave our stuff in a wide open public state park, or pack it back up for this pause of a couple days, and then return to set it back out.

I had actually hoped that these days would be a boon, as this would give me the reality check of Wednesday, and then a few days to adjust accordingly.

And to some extent it did. However, under the oppressive heat of the days, the fatigue of the weeks of preperation, and the intertia and distractions of being away from the studio, I quickly found my focus dissipating, and my efforts loosing some momentum…

I knew I had to make a break, so, after a lost day, that I don’t really even remember,  I staggered out and over to visit my friends at the Scrap Exchange, hoping for some stuffing for my dragon’s eye’s, and maybe a little inspiration….

To be continued...(in the next post)


I need to give a special thanks to my good friend Diane Swan, who was sweet enough to lend me her work van (that she uses to deliver and install her gorgeous cabinetry).

I met Diane while working on the Pittsboro Community Mural Project, which Diane co- spearheaded with youth counselor/story teller Suzanne Robinson in around 2008. Very true to this community oriented project’s purpose, like a vertical watering hole of creativity, the mural brought together at its surface Chatham County artists young and old, and there on the scaffolding, and in classrooms, Chatham County bonds (East, West, North and South, African American, Latina and Anglo, Junior High to Senior Citizen) were formed that last to this day.
One of the many very special friendships that I personally formed there at the mural was Diane, and over the years since then, she has become a stedfast friend in so many ways.
Diane, and her partner Scotty Young, are some of the most giving people that I have ever met, and have been a real blessing to me in my life in Chatham County. 

Diane has actually lent me her wonderful red Chevy van for several important occasions, when I need to deliver big celebrity Tyrius the (50ft) Tire Worm to events, and my little Toyota camry just wont squeeze him.  One example is Reuse Conex, the US’s first National Conference and Expo, where Tyrius performed a series of asanas (yoga poses), inspired by the idea of Reuse, in the hotel lobby of the North Raleigh Marriot.

Photograph by William Denton
She also lent me her van to deliver Tyrius to the Festival for the Eno last year, where Tyrius joined Orange County Solid Waste’s menagerie of other scrap animals by such noted sculptors as Bryant Holsenbeck, and Helen Buskol and Janey

This old chevy van reminds me of my dear old love, Sophia, now a home to wren’s at Bobby Tucker’s Offuski Farm.  However, Diane’s van hosts a lux red interior, which really gives Tyrius, and all his little cousins a boost of rockstar glamour when we pack in and pull up.

In years previous, packing this van with tyrius, my booth tent, walls, pedestals and various sculptures has been a bit of a challenge, because, well, the big guy kind of hogs a lot of the space!... Therefor, I usually must resort to packing Tyrius, in three long sections, with various tire sculpture, creating, in essence, a van packed with three giant tire sausages. Opening the doors upon arrival is kind of akin to cracking open a can of Vienna sausages!

Well, this year, since I didn’t have big Tyrius dominating the space, I was able to be a little bit more orderly in my packing strategy, and to honest, sorry big guy, this was kind of a relief.

My strategy was simple, pack all of the supporting materials in the back, such as long bamboo tent poles etc., where they could easily be pulled out.

Then through the side door, pack all of my merchandise, right behind me in the drivers seat, so I could keep an eye on it all. Because a lot of my cargo was delicate tropical plants this year, I didn’t want to worry about things falling on them and crushing them.
I was even able to rig up a bungy cord to the seat belt, so that that a tall drucenia behind the passenger’s seat would stay standing in his ‘seat’. So this system proved effective n keeping me plants safe, and me sane.

The next day, the van faithfully delivered us to West Point on the Eno, where I found myself at home sweet home, under that shady tree down by the river.


Before I launch into this years festival for the eno, I've got to mention one other aspect of this year's production. And that is signage for my booth. This is the result of valuable feedback from Reptire friends who have visited my booth at the festival.

So, I have been putting in a lot of hours at my "night shift" job, (as my "day shift" boss calls it when I stumble in sleepy headed), perched in front of my computer in the dark.

I won't go into these in too much detail here, but perhaps someday I will explore these more individually in my graphics design blog.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Terrible Tredknot Tirariums!

Of the many tredknots hatched for this years Eno Festival, maybe the most exciting to me (though they had stiff competition in the treadknests) was this years line of tredknot "Tirariums" (tm).

As I mentioned in the previous post on planting these "terrible" tirariums, this year Reptire has expanded beyond the quintesential spider plant, into the greater world of plants.

Each of the Tirariums shown here matches a plant, with a tredknot, whose rubber sidewalls enjoy a similar amount of direct/indirect sunlight. Most of the tropical rainforest plants and tires shown here enjoy indirect sunlight.
If you consider that the latex rubber that makes up a 'gum wall' bicycle tire's sidewall comes from the natural rubber of a rainforest tree, maybe this makes some sense...

This guy looks like he stepped right out of Vidal Sassoon Studios!

Commercial (Bloody Mary) Break from our sponsors at the Pinhook

Last weekend, I misread my calender, and decided to give myself a little Durham break.
So Saturday night, I drove in to get my JAM on at the Cosmic Lounge. And that we did, until the dawn's early light.

The next day (or, rather, later that day), I stopped by Pinhook, to drop off some flyers for the Festival for the Eno. There, in that cool dark hall, I ran into an old friend, Lindsay Cooper, who I had not seen since our time spent in the Bay Area many years ago.

Lindsay introduced me to her husband, Adisa, who, with Lindsay and another DJ, were all spinning some wicked grooves there that lazy Sunday. Lindsay also introduced me to the Pinhook Sunday Bloody Mary, which (once thing led to another) stands a chance to go on to become the title holding undeafeted champion mixed drink event of my life.
Now, while posting photos of cocktails on the internet is a new low that I never fathomed I would reach, well here it is
The Pinhook Sunday Bloody (Sunday?) Mary
(prepared here, to approximate specification, by Maestro Cody)

1 part Salad Bar, 1 part Alcoholic Beverage, 1 Gazillion parts Awesome.

A Rookery Of Tredknests

Well, as I mentioned, I've really had a blast developing a brood of different subspecies of tredknots, from the motherload that I just recently hatched for the Festival For The Eno.
In the last post, I shared a few of the new Dragon's Eyes that I fashioned for the Festival.

Next up is tredknests, and then maybe I'll move to Tirariums.

The trednest was originally developed, as kind of a hybrid with a dragons eye, as a piece for the Burrito Bash Fundraiser Auction for the Haw River Assembly at the recent Pittsboro General Store. I wanted to create something that had some of the riparian wildlife magic to it, that you might find along the majestic Haw River. The result was the first tredknest, which featured a winding knot of orangy yellow Kenda bike tire, coiled sereptitiously around a 'knest' of on glassy babymoon hubcap egg, nestled into a purple feather boa.
I really felt like this hit its mark, and was relieved when then Events Cooridinator accepted it at the last minute for the fundraiser (God Bless Germane!).
I was then thrilled, when Ken Moore, builder and co founder of UNC Botanical Gardens bid on the piece, and when my very good friend Diane Swan made the final bid. I had, in fact had Diane in mind as I rushed to create the piece (knowing she and her partner Scotty Young would be at the event).
I could just see it resting on their porch in Bynum. And shore enough, fate it be!

The next development for the tredknest occured when Jimmy and Audrey Shwankle happened in to my studio, one 3rd Friday Art Walk, in Siler City.
Audrey had a brother who was a  trucker, and got married in Las Vegas, and Audrey wanted to give him an Wedding present.  They were really taken by the tredknot form, and asked if they could commission an artpiece incoroporating the form for a wedding gift.

 So I got to work, and what I came up with is now what is known as the tredknest.
Like the original, this involves a tredknot of bicycle tire, with a mirror buried within a knest of feathers.
However, for this, I traded the babymoon out for a smaller rear view mirror. There are some other contraptions involved, but I can't really talk about those here (trade secret).

A new addition though is a backing, of reclaimed cardboard, foam rubber and upholstery fabric.
As I mentiioned in the post about Dragon's Eyes, this backing really helps to finnish out the piece, and adds another element of depth of character to the piece.

I was extremely pleased with this particular batch of tredknests.
This particular tredknot form is quite tricky to master (as the beads of the tires rarely want to behave, to allow a graceful form). But have made in the neighborhood of 50 of these forms now, my skill level increased, to yield a much higher success rate.

 And additionaly, through this experience, of what works and doesn't work aesthetically with this line, I have honed into what I consider to be some pretty exquisite pairing of tire, feather and fabric.
Humbly, I would say unto thee that I think this gradual heightining of skill and aesthetic sensibilities shows in this years collection.

Strawberry Milk Knot 
(a true Bessie)
The idea for this knot began, as is often the case, with the tire.
For some reason, these white wall tires knots always remind me of a the black and white jersey? cows that I see in Chatham County. So I have come to call these knots "Bessie'"s.
I made the first Bessie for my friend Tessa, which my girlfriend Carrie at the time commissioned for her. It suited her so well, and she seems to adore it (it hangs in her bathroom, which I think of as a compliment, coming from a woman). Tess is a really strong woman- an activist, who helps lead/teach some community gardening education classes in Siler City. I wanted to make another one of these bessies, to honor Tess, for another strong woman out there.

The strawberry milk bit was an afterthought (I just had this dotted red upholstery fabric laying around).
But what a deliscious afterthought!

Perhaps this one is a little kitshy, but what's wrong with a little kitsch?!
It was that leapord print fabric I tell ya, these fabric backings are causing kitschy wild things to happen around here! But look how it brings the whole thing together, willya? 

That hot pink feather boa has been sitting in my closet for yeeahs, yeeah's I tell ya, 
waiting for its moment in the sun.
Well, its day has finally come. 
Phassined to one hellluva knot, and finished with a cool minty blue/green derriere, 
this tredknot is to die foa!
I'm caught between being embarrased to hang this in my booth, and swooning over it.
Palm beach aside, or not, against that burlap background, you've got to admit, Palm Beach and all, its pretty exotic.

Mallard Knot
On maybe a slightly more mature note, but no less exquisite in my eyes, 
is this distinguished tredknot.
I remember a movie I saw several years ago in SF, called Birds in Flight, which followed birds on their migrations on what were at times perilous journeys.
One very touching scene was of a group of beautiful ducks who were making their way through a polluted landscape of Eastern Europe. You couldn't help but feel and pull for these brave and beautiful creatures, as they made their hurried way through the darkened, sooty skies, and through slick, polluted once marsh- waters. You also could notice their sense of vital urgency, as they tried to get through this doomy chapter of their journey as quickly as possible.
So anyways, this knot is perhaps a small tribute to those ducks. 

I think that this one I am going to have to set aside for a gallery in Asheville that I have been talking with.

This here is one wicked knot. So much so, that I am not quite sure that its interior does the knot justice yet.
However, I do think the purple does it right, and 
For me, this has a bit more fierce and masculine energy to it. While I like the purple, I am considering trying a new color, maybe a yellow, orange or lime green. 

One of my very favorites of this series was this one, whose name has not yet revealed itself to me.
For some reason, it just strikes me as straighforward, matter of fact, and utterly beautiful.
I guess that I could say that, to me this piece strikes a perfect, and enchanting balance 
between strength and femininity.
 It reminds me a little bit of an once upon a time love of mine.
Maybe I will name her Tila.

 Here are few more close ups of Palm Beach Knot, just cause its so... glamorous!
(the shape that you see reflected in the mirror at the tredknests center is a tiresphere called "Sphere for Charles Woodsend" that was hanging above where I was photographing the knot. I had never witnessed this piece from this angle, pretty neat!)