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, February 16, 2012

Reptire Arrives At Durham's Legendary 9th Street (in STYLE!); Hosted by Vaguely Reminiscent!

If you know Durham like I know Durham, then you know that that old city's Western outskirt is laden by a mythical lane, still named (the name remains the same): 9th St.

And if you knew Durham WHEN I knew Durham, THEN you would know that even when downtown was ne'r a vast hollowed shell of a city, it still retained, upon the lapel of its drab grey suit, this pimpernil, or a string of jewels, a broach worn around her hip?

Here, along this modest section of sidewalk, a meager sprout of a man could find a small cornucopia of the smells, objects, and ideas, that might make him dream of The Wide World Out There!

The first thing that smacked you in your undeveloped, teenaged noggin (as you clambered up the hill, say from Broad St.), was the inherently promising smell of fresh baked bread (wafting from the 9th St Bakery). The smell was like a friendly dog, that came to greet you at the gate, and before you knew it you were both wagging tail and tongue, as one. Mounted that stone curb precipice, you dove, no, strode, no dove, into that string of pearls, and goodies. Cheap eclectic records, Cashew Chicken from Vietnam, R. Crumb comics, French sandwhiches, silk scarves, malt sundays, tattoos. All this, along one short street!

And buried among/ along this string of varied jewels, was always (as far as I can remember), this one, mysterious, deceivingly very tiny, purple little Jewel, named enigmatically.... Vaguelly Reminiscent....


Well, those adventurous, curious (or perceptive) enough to crack that creaky door were rewarded to find within that small ruby room, an entire 'underwater' cavern daintily encrusted with rare and strange gems.

On those stacked and varied shelves, one can find the most wild diaspora of curious objects.
Bangles, Zombie Mints ("mmm...brain flavor"), rubber frogs and anteaters, cat butt refrigerator magnets (maybe as an appetite suppressant?), really nice scarves and other clothes for women.  All under one roof!

And now, to add to this mellee, an auto mirror tucked within a nest of chicken feathers, and woven bicycle tire! behold-the 'tredknest'.


How did this come to be?
Well, at the outset, it should be shared that I grew up with the Owner, Carol Anderson's niece, Katy, and am now good friends with her nephew, Squiggs, though I never knew Carol herself.

Recently, as the Festival for the Eno, I was blessed with a visit to my "Reptire Hut" from Carol herself, and an introduction from my mom, Edie, who has a pretty keen eye connecting people, particularly her son.

So I realize that it probably looks a bombastic, dynastic plot! And perhaps it is to some extent...

However, this I also have come to know about Carol: that she is a shrewd business woman (no doubt, you don't keep an eclectic-as-all-get-out boutique open THIS long (30 yrs? I am guessing) with out being one!).

So, I console myself to believe that Carol would not host my work in her tight-high-realistate-retail space, if she did not on some level think that this work might belong in her shop...

Thus, I can only deduce (with considerable pride) that my tire art has received the official.......
Carol Anderson Stamp Of Funk!

(I have arrived!)

Vaguely Reminiscent is located at 
728 9th St, in Durham, NC, USA
You can reach them by telephone at 

You can also check out what other new,
 interesting things are arriving there,
on their facebook page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Delivery to Li-Lan, of Atomic Tiresphere

Recently, I made a trip back to dear old Durham, to make a special delivery, of a pretty special sculpture, to a very special person.

The sculpture, was an Atomic Tireshphere, and the person was my good friend Li-Lan, whom I know first as musical and life partner to my old friend Alex Weiss, and percussionist in the Afro-Latin Chamber Ensemble, A Different Drum.

However, aside from being married to a special guy, and playing in his special band, I am also getting to know Li-Lan as a very special person in her own right. Li-Lan is a Healer; she has the power to heal people using the ancient arts of Acupuncture, Chinese herbalism, Reiki, and Mayan Abdominal Message. She is also one of the most gentle souls that I know, and I always enjoy her company.

This past summer, Li-Lan paid me and my Reptire 'hut' a visit at the gladey, shadey Festival for the Eno. And there she connected with one of my finer specimines of tirespheres, and decided to make a down payment on it. As she and Alex were planning to do some traveling soon, I agreed to hold it for until she got back.

And quite some traveling they did indeed! They made an epic trek high into the Himalayan mountains!
And when they returned to Durham, they invited their friends to come see an entrancing slide show of their adventure, at Li-Lan's accupuncture clinic.

This seemed like an opportune time to deliver Li-Lan her new sculpture.
I feel extremely happy to have connected this extraordinary person with this sculpture.
Li-Lan is a great gardner also, so I suspect that it will find a good home in a semi-sacred space, and Alex and Li-Lan's very special home!

You may learn about Li-Lan's awesome healing practice, by clicking..

Or by visiting: