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

Opening Night- Rubbish To Runway 'Trashion' Show at FRANK GALLERY


Straddling parallel universes. The work of shamans, diplomats, ambassadors, and quite often, it seems artists.

Perhaps, probably, certainly, everyone spans and breaches certain gaps within their own lives. I think of the students I worked with at the Hispanic Liaison, whose parents had spent their formative years/lives in a culture in many ways unrecognizable from the one that they the students were now being forced to negotiate, translate, reconcile. This is both the beauty and challenge of our modern world, perhaps always has been, for the traveling, multifaceted human…

All this is to say that the evening of May 10th was looking to be one of the crazier nights in artistic career/life yet…

In some ways, my two world sphere’s were threatening to collide on the evening of May 10th. And as they swung past one another in the course that night, it would take some deft maneuvering to navigate between them, and not get crushed, or pulled apart, as attached to both as I am…

How to be in two places at once?

For tonight was Opening night
RUBBISH 2 RUNWAY’s opening night and ‘trashion’ show,
and also
ZamBamBooGee's long anticipated performance at Bynum Front Porch Music Series.

Typically, I was attempting to FIND A WAY, SOMEway, SOMEhow, to do both...

Crazy day/crazy night

Most of my day was spent at Frank Gallery, trying to finnish securing the dress as best I could.

I had asked my mom Edie to act as an assistant to Nicole, especially after I would have to leave for our Bynum Front Porch performance, promptly at 6:15, 45 minutes before Nicole was to walk the runway. A good Wisconsin gal, Edie is very very practical and handy, and had a basic understanding of the dress, and the twisted way my mind works, so she was an excellent candidate for this important job.

It was satisfying to finally see the thing all fastened together (a couple hours before the runway!).
I snapped this picture on the twilight of the runway, which would very soon be  alit with bursting flash bulbs and our gorgeous models sporting our creations.

Before I carried Fobidden Fruit Dress upstairs, for preperations for the model fitting and photo shoot, I thought to take her outside for a quick walk and photoshoot on the promenade.

photos by Edie Cohn

Then it was upstairs, where I used a few spare minutes to a 'ceremonial anointment', or shine up the rubber parts of the dress.

photos thanks to Edie Cohn.

Then I rushed downstairs, to capture Nicole's star arrival, which, when it came, she was wearing very well...
She looked so good in what she was already wearing, I kept wishing we could skip the Fruit Salad..

But alas, the show must go on.
So my mom and Nicole and I managed to get the dress on Nicole, thanks to some dressing rooms generously donated by the vintage thrift store next door.

Then came make up time.

And finally, the photo shoot, deftly orchestrated by FRANK pool of excellent photographers.

It was at this point that I had to make my departure, bid my trusty accomplices farewell, and dash across the county line down to Bynum, NC

When I got there, I was struck that the energy of the scene could not have been more different!
I had nimbly woven my way through and finally out of a tightly pressurized micro climate of buzzing urgency; honking with dense model traffic, and then dense car traffic.

And when I opened my door, and stepped out of my space shuttle, I could have fallen over, for the pressure difference. (I’m lucky I didn’t get the bends!).
The sense calm in the placid air was almost astounding. I walked up to the stage, where my

 A separate universe, only 15 miles down the road!..

So tranquil and placid in Sleepy Bynum, a field of soft luminous green, a chorus of insects chirping.

As we played out our set, at a certain moment, my being was struck by an image on Nicole, making her way down the runway, photo flashes bursting around her like fireworks, and felt distinctly connected to them, across time and space, from across our small galaxy.

While part of me wished I could be there, enough of me felt like I was.

And seeing a curious mayfly alight on my shimmering ride cymbal (inspecting, perhaps,this strange rippled pool of bronze water that had visited its environment) and hopping (undeterred) when I gave it a demonstrative tap, I recognized my own joy to be here.

A few special friends gathered there, to enjoy the gentle ambience of Bynum’s ‘Front Porch’, infused with a little ZamBamBoogie in their woogie, and maybe even (I like to think) recognize my big duel purposed evening. Someone later said they heard we ‘killed Bynum’ the other night. I don’t know if that’s the word I would have used, but we did play a good, hard solid set (inspite of being a very important man down- Bruce sick with high fever). And it seemed evident that the good people of Bynum, seated in rows of folding white chairs, quietly, somewhat solomnly recognized and appreciated what we delivered to them that night.

After we finally had broken down and packed up all of the gear, I made a little pilgrimage down to the river. A ceremonial dip was just the thing to cap off the night, the day, the week, the months.. How refreshing it was!

Many thanks are in order for this impossible evening to work:

A huge thanks to Diane and Scotty and Jenne and Liz Todesco, for helping me to get in to set up drums early (which eventually Scotty did himself, bless him!).

 Thanks also to the rest of the band (soundman Geo De Socio included), for being so cool and flexible about it all). Bynum Front Porch was great to work with as always, as well.

And of course, a huge thanks to the excellent staff at FRANK GALLERY for being very flexible and accomodating, and for putting on a helluva a show.

And of course, thank you to Nicole, for so bravely and expertly modeling the dress that evening.
It was such a thrill to see you working that dress.

And thanks to my Ma, Edie, for being an excellent support assistant in the process, and for documenting the evening. As I furiously buffed and polished the rubber straps of the dress before the show, and looked down and saw my Mom sprawled out on the carpet, camera snapping up at me, I was reminded once again that I might quite possibly have the coolest mom in the world..