Beauty Shot

Island CroppedThe beauty shot doesn’t do it justice.  Not because the Island is any more drop dead gorgeous – but because it is missing Mike Runge and Jessica Dunn the official Island Residents at the IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) this summer.

I heart Mike and Jessica.  They are resilient, funny, articulate and seem to have an endless cadre of friends bringing them picnics while they live on the Island.

The way it works is this:  For the last two years we have been working on Indy Island for the IMA’s new art and nature park: 100 Acres.  (The island was made by Barnacle Brothers – a fabrication outfit in LA who totally rock).  Each year the IMA will invite one or two residents to live on the island and to interface with the public, sort of like park rangers.  Or maybe docents.

This year island residents Mike and Jessica who are doing a project called “Give and Take”.  When a flag is raised on the island they will row ashore to pick up visitors who want to tour the island (there is a bell on shore that people ring when they want to come out)  Visitors can also send them messages in floating island-like pods, and they have what they call  “island trade” where people can bring them things and make trades in the process.  And while doing all of this they manage to maintain a pretty detailed blog.

And to top it off there is a bicycle generator for energy and floating gardens in an attempt for self sufficiency.  Genius.

Raugh Stuff

IMG_0886A few years ago I made a big carved Raugh desk in the middle of the living room – and in the process learned that two-year old toddlers not only regurgitate on foam, but also love to chew it (go figure) and also that mouse pee melts little craters in it.  I loved the foam but the foam didn’t love us.  Or at least it didn’t love our desert lifestyle.  This week we are prototyping a new setup of a smoothly sanded walnut frame with a plush raugh foam interior… the potential seems limitless.


IMG_0859For the last year there has been a teetering pile of cardboard boxes precariously stacked against the dining room wall. Today the masterpiece was finished and installed…. Walla!

The New Everyday Life

IMG_0762We finally did it!  After what seemed like the most intensive planning session ever we pulled off our first installment of “The New Everyday Life” this weekend.  The program was led by four workshop leaders (Trinie Dalton, Wells Pollock, Chantale Doyle and Katie Grinnan) and there were eleven participants.  Unlike the larger events the group this weekend was small, and by the end of two days I felt like I had learned something about each person who turned out.  The picture above of the inside of the school bus that Wells lives in and uses as a leather working studio.  Before his session started he squeezed blood oranges into soda water and made sort of virgin cocktails for everyone.

Still Working at the Kitchen Table


When I was twenty and studying art in undergrad, I house sat for my parents one summer and built my entire senior show in their kitchen.  I remember the feeling or horror one day when cutting out a shape with the jigsaw and accidentally making a slice into the tabletop that my mother had hand stained when I was an infant.  Three decades later and I’m still making most of my work in the kitchen.  I have a studio about fifty feet from the house in a shipping container – but the kitchen is oh so more comfortable.  At least until Emmett, comes home and starts at his own art experiments precariously poised on top of one of my own almost completed billboard paintings.

Mice Full On

For the last few years my house has been mice full on.  There is a crack under the door that I can’t (or won’t) do much about which has become an open invitation to every desert rat to come party between the rafters of my ceiling at night time when we are trying to sleep, and to poop in my cutlery drawers right before company comes for a cook-over.  Finally this winter I thought I had the problem licked, but when TK was installing the new hall cabinet we found a seemingly fresh and soft mouse nest under the toe-kick of the old cabinet.

Automatic Door Opener

Thomas traveled to A-Z West from NY, in part to make progress on the Wagon Station Vacation this weekend.   On Saturday he rigged up this experimental door opener for the drop down front hatch.  The hatch is tricky because it was originally designed to open upward, but Jonas re-engineered it to drop down so that it can function as steps or seating.  The only problem with this is that the entire thing is ungodly heavy and two very strong people can barely open and close it.  Thomas has been trying to figure out a fool-proof (non people squashing) mechanism so that one person can safely open and close the door.  Right now the verdict is still open between the pulley system shown here, hydraulic lift system that TKs dad might be able to engineer, and some sort of a boat winch.