Mt. Baldy to Chuck’s Place

IMG_1624

On Thursday Emmett and I visited Chuck Moffit in Mount Baldy.  The town of Baldy is a secret little village tucked up in the mountains next to Claremont – the small town vibe and idiosyncratic lifestyles make it feel similar to Joshua Tree – though with a bit more altitude.  Chucks place is a small cabin in the woods that he has completely taken apart and painstakingly put back together again – there are sculptures in all states scattered everywhere both indoors and outdoors everything feels earthy and organic – it is often hard to tell what is coming together and what is coming apart (in the best way possible).  Since Chuck has been a two-time HDTS artist my mission was to coax him into giving us a few more affordable works to sell at the HDTS HQ – I was successful in liberating a really nice ceramic floor piece as well as a brass “mountainscape”

First FKAS Product

IMG_1609

After the project “smockshop” was archived we realized that we were really going to miss working together.  So we started a new group called “formerly known as smockshop” – or more casually referred to as FKAS.  Our new products won’t be entirely clothing based and will eventually be available for sale both at pop-up sales, and via an on-line store.  And since every startup I’m involved in has a rule, so does this one.  The dictate for FKAS is that all of the products have to be made in the form of a rectangle – so each item is a “panel” of one sort or another – though these are all intended to be useful objects (similar to the “A-Z Personal Panels”, “A-Z Carpet Furniture”, and “A-Z Cover” pieces that I have made in the past).  Each member of FKAS is supposed to come up with their own panel product line so I’m trying out a new and very simple pattern that is loosely based on Guatemalan Huipil.  Here is my second try (sewn out of left over fabric from the bathroom curtain) – I thought that the first turned out great until I realized that the neck was sewn in crooked.. dang!

The Rest of It

AZ West June 2010 - Photo by Giovanni Jance 032 copy

Since as I’m showing the kitchen, I should throw in an image of the patio area next to it.  A few months ago TK made the fire-ring with a drop-on barbecue grating.  The ring is totally huge which is fantastic for wintertime bonfires in which I secretly burn almost all of my household paper waste (meaning fewer trips to the dump which is about a 45 minute drive from A-Z West).  The gnarled teak root chairs and table came from the Sky Drive In Swap Meet in Yucca Valley (where Amy and Wendy Yao will be doing an HDTS project in October) – they used to have loads of great furniture like this, but sadly it has since been all sold off.  (thanks to my friend Giovanni Jance for this very perfect and professionally shot pic of the fire-ring)

Outdoor Kitchen

IMG_1572

Over the last several years I’ve been trying to figure out how to reconfigure my house so that I still have some privacy, but am also able to serve the needs of guests who come to stay in the wagon stations or camp out in the wash on the west side of A-Z West.  Eventually, when I have a little more cash, the long term plan is to pipe water down to the parcel and build a kitchen and showers down there – but in the meantime I’ve been working on an outdoor kitchen next to the house so that people can use whenever they want.  TK Smith, fabricator extroidinare, came up with this deluxe design for my kitchen.  I had wanted horizontal redwood siding, but was worried about wood not holding up on the south side of the house, which gets blasted with sun.  TK came up with the horizontal metal design –  that will eventually rust to match the rest of my house.  two weeks ago while I was traveling back east he put the final touches on the kitchen – amazing!

Framing Wilderness

IMG_1178 copy
For the last week James Trainor, myself and 10 incredibly awesome Columbia MFA students have been roving around Hudson River valley and the Catskill Mountains in order to learn how America’s perception of landscape has been culturally and historically framed and defined by its art.  In a bus named gymsock we have visited the homes of Washington Irving, Thomas Cole, Fredric Church as well as sites such as Kaaterskill falls, Byrdcliff Arts colony, Woodstock, the Maverick Theatre and the amazing Tilcon quarry hidden in the backside of a mountain right on the edge of the Hudson River. Also thanks to some very generous folks up at Bard our group got to stay in their dorms, and we were able to check out a few studios as well as their MFA Thesis show.

IMG_1185 copy

IMG_1235 copy
IMG_1344 copy
IMG_1453 copy
IMG_1500 copy
IMG_1536 copy

Small Victories

IMG_1173
Progress on the Brooklyn home-front at A-Z East feels like it has been moving forward at a snail’s pace.  I’m in my old apartment on the second floor every other month, but it seems like whenever I’m here there is a show to hang, or a bunch of meetings to make.  Today we finally hung a new linen window-panel in the bathroom that has been on my to-do list for over two years….  Victory.

Chakra Healing Pyramids

IMG_1078

For years I’ve been eyeing this head turner – a big pink building (turns out it is a former post office) – uncharacteristically stylish for its Wonder Valley digs.  Why this remote and sparsely section of the desert would need such a huge and fancy post office is still a bit of a mystery – as is the reason for its decommission.

IMG_1037

A few years ago my interest ramped up even more when pyramids and a big dome appeared scattered around the grounds.   And on Sunday I finally got an up-close viewing by owners Philip and Margot who are going to open up the building and grounds as part of the HDTS driving map (the building will be open on the first Saturday of every month).

IMG_1067

The inside of the building is even more astounding than the outside, but since the power was out I didn’t try to take photos – discovering the interior wonderment should be considered further enticement to curiosity seekers considering the trek out to Wonder Valley.

First Day For HDTS HQ

Screen shot 2010-07-10 at 10.10.45 PMLemons, Land ownership, and Licenses….  was the heading of Jena’s first entry in the HQ’s log.  She also noted that we had seventeen visitors, made two sales and received the following: a $10 donation, a cookie and a bag of lemons.  Not a bad day for the “slow season” in downtown Joshua Tree.