Wrap Up


We are into the final hours of finishing up the work for the exhibition at Sprueth Magers…  This is the last show that will be fabricated in the shipping container studio.  Goodbye waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain and having to run outside in my PJs to put  plastic over everything in the wet cold blowing wind!   Goodbye not being able to work eight hour days because it gets freezing outside when the sun goes behind the hill!  Goodbye running out of space and having half of the work outside, precariously vulnerable to windstorms while it waits to ship!

Indigo Girls



Here are some photos from the Indigo Girls performance by Travis Boyer.  Originally I thought this would be a sort of “dye party” but once we got going it became clear that it was really an endurance performance in which Travis magically helped a never-ending line of participants unravel the mysteries of indigo dying.  Like why the stuff comes out of the dye-bath a bright acid green. And how to avoid getting any extra oxygen into the batch.


And it is still cold in the desert – cold enough that in the late afternoon everyone’s clothes froze on the clothesline.



Material Tests


Where do you go to do materials tests when you don’t have any flat walls in the shipping container studio?  In the bedroom of course.  I’ve been working on a piece for my upcoming show in Berlin in which I started with the format of our local desert paper and replaced all of the copy with Lorem Ipsum.  Since there is a formal theme in the show that I keep explaining as a broken down grid system (what happens when idealized systems become imperfect and slightly more human),  it seemed like the grid-like format of the newspaper could look really good plastered up on some of the gallery walls.  Which is how it ended up in my bedroom…

The newspaper actually looks pretty of great.  Laura and Anna said it made my room feel like a hovel, which we then agreed was a good look.  Here are some closeups of the paper.  And because of how thin it is, and the way it is applied, the paper has a really nice pattern of vertical creases.  Eventually it will probably get painted over to do more tests (I’ve been wanting to do a wallpaper print series for Gemini GEL for AGES now)  and with a few coats of paint over it the texture under paint may look even better.


Also of course once the paper was hung, all of the other colors in the room had to be repainted.  On a purely decorative level, gold and terra cotta is the all-new-favorite color combo.



After Thanksgiving we decided to visit Garth.  Garth lives way up off of Gamma Gulch in Pipes Canyon.  Living year round in a small concrete teepee with no electricity and no phone – on a huge spread of amazing high desert land that has been meticulously landscaped, Garth has become a pretty famous character around these parts.


To meet or visit Garth you just drive the x-odd miles of dirt road out to his domain – since he doesn’t have a phone there isn’t any way to stick to usual formalities such as calling first or making an appointment. After a visit it is customary to leave something in the donation jar – which helps to subsidize his amazing undertaking.


It was a really cold afternoon when we got there and everything was going into shade.  We checked out the swimming pool and sauna that were built into the rocks.  The pool was covered with a thick layer of ice.  The sauna has a bed of brilliantly colored stones that you can lay in after they get hot.


We experimented with the pool of “meteor dust” and then we shared some of the solar oven stuffing with Garth in the outdoor kitchen.  Did I already mention that it was cold?   By mid afternoon the only warm spot was the teepee which is heated with a wood burning stove.  Emmett sang a ode to Garth and then Garth reciprocated by showing us his super far out and fabulous desert bling – which is mostly all custom designed by him.


Thanksgiving Solar Cooker


The fact that there are fewer posts lately isn’t because there is nothing going on – it is actually because every day has been so incredibly action packed that it is sometimes hard to even know where to begin.  But if we start anywhere, it should be with trying to get these pics from Thanksgiving posted before Christmas.


Thanksgiving this year was actually pretty awsome.  A bunch of favorite friends came to visit from all over, and helped put together a day-long, every evolving feast.  Michael and Alyse brought two solar ovens that they had been prototyping and filled it with black jars full of thanksgiving stuffing.


The stuffing turned out super….  and was only a day late.  Because it wasn’t in the sun and cooking by 11:00 AM it didn’t finish completely by the time that the house went into the shade.  (we are on the north side of the mountain, so by 4:00 PM the sun starts to set and the temps really drop).  So we had to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for their grand finale.


As the photos attest, it the stuffing was a success – perhaps even better with the buildup of the wait.  Michael and Alyse are going to be teaching a workshop on solar cooking in LA tomorrow.  And in the spring they will be part of a series of “New Everyday Life” workshops teaching all sorts of handy survival skills.


Panels in Palm Springs


Check out the latest pop up shop for the Group Formerly Known as smocksup!  This one was actually part of Mt Fuji pop up at at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.  Catharine, Danielle, Peggy  and I worked the sale. Peggy met a guy who she used to go to school with who now owns a spa on the east coast.  He bought her crazy sequined body-bag panel (check out the photo of her performing in it in the entry for the Swapmeet)


Also, for those of you not familiar with the Palm Spring Ace, one of the hot features of the hotel is a crazy hipster pool scene there on the weekends (“swim club”) which means that we had shoppers in the store wearing teeny bikinis and one even wearing only a towel (an escapee from the spa next door) in the middle of December.


New Fall Uniform


I started this top last spring, in part as a technical exercise to see if I could begin with a cross, and then work it outward to four corners, sew up the shoulders and end up with a top.  Though I’m really not sure what I was thinking with that colors scheme!   And finally, now, it is done. The problem is that it isn’t something that I would wear. I’m not sure if it is the candy colors or the pop references of the pattern, but I would go nuts if I had to wear this for a whole season.

So how to make a new fall top in a pinch?  Re-inspired by conversations about finger crochet techniques with the Von Tundra Crew when they were here for their event (they made great lamps with finger crochet netting to diffuse the light) I decided to throw together a new top using an organic undulating single and half double finger stitches.  I love the effect that this creates, and was able to make a new “uniform” in just a few days.  The problem was when I got it wet to block it into shape, it totally expanded and got huge, like a big 1070s tunic.  I guess that the stitches were so loose they just totally stretched out and lost their delicacy and complexity.


So I did something that I hate it when knitters or crochetters do – I tossed it in the washing machine and felted it up (always thought that the washing machine felting technique was was totally a form of cheating).  Then I stretched the still damp result over a dress form and it actually turned out sort of awesome.   Next up will be one in brown done mostly with single crochet stitches to see if I can tighten up the weave a bit, stay posted.



Amy and Wendy Yao hosted another groud-breaking HDTS swap-meet – this year at the Sky Village Swap Meet which is the local swap meet right behind Barr Lumber off of Old Woman Springs Road.  I love their press release so I’m going to reprint some of it here:

“We grew up going to swapmeets nearly every weekend, tagging along with our grandparents at the break of dawn and riding illegally amongst the boxes in the back of their customized white Toyota minivan. Our grandparents worked at the swapmeet every weekend for years, selling video rewinders and novelty erasers imported from Taiwan.  We would help out and watch all the strange characters pass through, everyone buying or selling something.  These are some of our earliest memories: the improvised look of each booth, everything on the go.  If we were good, at the end of each day our grandparents would let us buy one thing from the used book vendor next door.  We would get things like old paperback books published by Mad Magazine, full of jokes and innuendo that we were still too young to fully understand…”


“The Art Swap Meet has always been an experiment in how an ephemeral, mobile marketplace works within the desert, an environment of extremes where only the fit survive.  It provides a chance for its participants to test ideas, make artist direct sales, create works and experiences that might not be salable, or embrace the absurdity of setting up shop in a location where your customer may or may not show up. In all, it’s a beautiful spectacle where trading posts sprout up at sunrise and then evaporate like mirages…”


“This Saturday’s Art Swapmeet will be the 5th time we’ve convened to give, trade and sell art and experiences at very affordable prices!  Always fun! Always great bargains and great artwork!! Come early, we start at 8pm and end at 1pm! Don’t miss the mirage!!”


The photo above is of Bob Carr, the owner of the Sky Village Swap meet – the mothership for this year’s art swap meet.  Bob is an amazing artist in his own right and it is fair to say that the entire swap meet is a really a gigantic, long term, communally based art project.  If you look in some of the shacks you can see his really cool and sort of psychadlic spiders and spider webs that are all works in progress.  And of course then there is the famed crystal cave which will be revealed later this month as Mette and Merete’s HDTS project.


One of the most amazing things to me are the people who turn out for Amy and Wendy’s events – this year’s participants included David Benjamin Sherry from NYC, Tobias Madison from Zurich, Marlous Borm from NYC Berlin, John Rieppenhoff of Green Gallery in Milwaukke, Rob Halverson from Cool Art in Portland Amy’s MFA students from Arizona State University, and LA’s own local Alice Konitz, Lucky Dragon, Gabbie Strong, Piero Golia, and Erik Wesley (and there are even more) Oh – and of course the “group formerly known as smockshop”