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, June 10, 2013

Forbidden Fruit Dress Saga- Episode 6

And so the march wore on...

I started to become kind of a fixture at the Scrap.
Gotta give some love to my main men Kyle Knight, Daniel Bagnal, and Jack, who were very sympathetic and accommodating!

Eventually, I moved myself out (to give room to some other crafters- knitting club, a raucus lot) into the more open area near the fabric area, where a circle of couches enclosed a small work table.
Madeline seemed to enjoy and appreciate the sort of Roman Collosseum aspect of my self-imposed installation there (where shoppers could witness the gory spectacle of a man being devoured by time and a dress). 

Against all odds, I did get some good 'blows' in out there, on the colloseum floor.

And the pressure was on. For I realized that I was not to be afforded a second draft. And so I moved, with steadied nerves, straight from Nicole and I's sketch in rubber, to what was to be the final piece.

This added a level of tension, and exactitude, to be sure, but also, for me, an element of excitement.
To the outside eye, I must have seemed to be moving at a snails pace (and boy did they tell me about it). But from my own perspective, I could finally start to see what the thing was really going to look like, when DONE RIGHT! And this precission, while hard won, and tedious, was really where the dress began to gain its glory.

So this was rewarding for me to see, though I had to ignore the nagging and jeers of nay-sayers up in their colloseum parapets. Romans indeed.

I did also recieve some heartfelt encouragement from some of my beloved allies into the stands.
My dearest Jessica happened by, and what borage blossom of courage is she to a warrior in the thick of battle.

I also made the good aquaintance of a new friend, Hanunah! Who not only liked my dress, repeatedly! but promised to maybe teach me some skills on the Design Center's industrial sewing machine. Hanunah knows all about them!

At this point I might mention that their was a little bit of a design intervention by my good model / design partner and myself. It started to become clear that this dress needed a little more.... uh, dress to it...

So, at some point, perusing the piles and files of Scrap, I came upon

As it so happened, I got it ‘together’ in time to enter it into the Friends & Family Show.
Various members of the TSE crew had been gently dropping this to me for weeks- are you going to put anything in the show Travis? Gee, I’d think, I don’t really have anything to show. Well, Duh, sometimes I can be a little myopic, to the point of not seeing the nose on my face, ya know? So as I watched Jack and Daniel and Kyle and Sara all the rest busting ass to put the show together, and started to watch a really top notch exhibition beginning to coagulate, I thought, well Damn, maybe I can enter my dress in the show!...

And that I did, wheeling it in on its graceful gurny. 
The piece was in great company. As many of the staff noted), and Art Critic Blue Greenberg as well (in an article about the show in the Herald-Sun (LINK)), this was one of the best Friends and Family shows yet.
It seems our artisan community is really honing its chops!....

Unfortunately, the (FIRST) opening night of the show was very much hampered by tornado warnings (the show was so good it will be held another month, and this coming opening promises to be SPECTACULAR! Scrap car, spoken word scene). This made for an unusually and disproportionately thin crowd, with out perhaps the due buzz and hype that comes with larger herds of animals.

So, in some ways, it was an inglorious demi-debut for the dress.

And while this did afford me a chance for some much needed rest (on one of the very comfy couches there), the dress did receive an explosion of interest from two style savvy gals from Jersey, which, well, really made my nite.
It was actually me who spotted THEIR style first. Brie was walking by in a knock out outfit.

Somehow we got to talking about her wild and tight pants, which she refered to some special hybrid of tights and jeans. The more I spoke with the two sharp young ladies, the more I began to size them up as two serious (big city) Fashionistas.
Hey, I want to show you to something I said, levitating from my deathbed on the coach.
So I led them over to my new Forbidden Fruit Dress, fresh off the creative vine, and they just Flipped!

They couldn’t get enough of it, walking, Stalking around it, like hyena’s circling their prey. And you can bet that I could not get enough of that!

I slept better knowing that, whatever luke warm reception Forbidden Fruit might get in NC, with Jersey Fashionistas, it seems this gown has got MAD STREET CRED!

(God Bless Assistant Store Manager, Jack Thegan-Crowely for allowing me to work late into the night that night as he tallied up the totals, and for all around just being a Bro).