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


Oh Man, oh Woman, Eno 2014 was such a wonderful year for me at the Reptire River Hut.

Here are some other nefarious characters I crossed there:

Sol Food Mobile Ranch Hands
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Kent and Brooke are a couple of young activists who I had the distinct pleasure to meet at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival a few years ago, aboard their mobile farm bus! Sol Food is a mobile educational tool- so cool! They also shared with me the bible of tire crafting, given to them by the author Paul of Utah! Brooke and Kent dug on my classy ranch-hand suspenders. I think we're going to have to attach a pair onto them somehow.


I caught this young Durham native digging on the ‘SuperHighway’ sculpture, perhaps the first and only person this year to really study it in depth. He really seemed to like it, so I gave him a post card with its image from the Cultural Crossroads Exhibition in Winston Salem from about 5 years ago.

I found this lovely lass peering up at the ceiling and around the interior of my booth like an explorer walking into a jewel encrusted cave. Her name was Morgan (German for ‘morning’?), and wearing a deep purpley-blue shit, which set off her raven black head of hair, the name suited her just fine, as did my tire art… On a whim, I decided to introduce Ms Morgan to my flo ties, and they were an instant match. Somehow, the butterfly-like flo tie fluttered up to perch on that raven black cascade of hair, and moments later, the first ‘bow fly” was born. I hope Morgan is enjoying her new friend.


This gal took to a fine specimen of the brand new line of Bull City Bad Belts.
And from the looks of her, she is going to wear it well, and with sass!

I am a little bit chagrin to jump on that “Bull City” bandwagon, that is seeming a little bit overloaded with mooing cattle en route to market these days. I don’t know if there is a Bull City Pedicure yet, but I would not be surprised… If all you can say about your business in your name and ‘branding’ is that it is located in a place that used to sell cattle,  I am sorry, but I think you need to dig a little deeper!
   However, that said, Durham pride, seems all and all to be a positive thing. And I can certainly understand the allure and temptation to draw from the power of this mythic beast and history, as I myself am now guilty as charged! And hey, who, if not ReptIre Designs, is guilty of drawing from the strength of mythic beasts?!

One of my favorite occasional companions on this year’s journey was self described Timberlake-Country-Boy Tyler, whose father and grandfather were selling their beautiful hand-hewn wooden canoe paddles down by the river. These were really beautiful to behold, and Tyler, who would drop by periodically with his sister, to ask an unending stream of questions, was actually really good company! 
Tyler even bought himself an Ouroboros Street Snake Belt! (I gave him a good deal)
I hope to see Tyler again next year.