New Windows

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Ok – there is actually a lot more then just new windows at this point – but I need to take better photos.  So far we have the building (mostly) wrapped and ready for stucco, new windows in the front, new sliding glass doors in the back, swinging glass doors (two installed, three to go) and tomorrow the wood siding should go up on the exterior!

Wrap Up

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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!

Material Tests

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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…

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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.

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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.

Thanksgiving Solar Cooker

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Totally Tricked Out

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Every time Steve came over I used to catch him staring up at two narrow glass windows way up on the wall of the eating room (it’s the room with the table – what do you call that, dining room, breakfast room, table room?)  Anyway, one day he finally offered to do something amazing fabulous and spellbinding to the windows…

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He made these exquisite stained glass windows for them.  I think that the pattern was based on a detail from a Native American sand painting – but I like how it matches with my geometric floor tiles in a way that adds some hippy neo-geo flair to the room.

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I first met Steve when I saw one of his films in an art show at Chris Viet’s cabin, way the hell out at the end of Wonder Valley.  I remember after seeing the strange kooky video called “Desert Pumps” asking everyone around “who made that?!!“.  Then a few months later I got to check out Steve and his partner Glen’s  low slung mid century desert house chock full of cool 1960s and 70s earth inspired art, complete with a pool made out of a huge irrigation talk out back and a 1968 fiberglass dune buggy under the carport.  I’m a huge fan of Steve’s work.  His free hanging stained glass windows have been for sale at the Commune shop at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs – an amazing big round stained glass window is for sale out our own HDTS HQ – and check out his lanterns on their website.

Rosemary’s Babies

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Rosemary Desert Willow (named by Emmett because says that “Rosemary is a “good name”, and she loves to eat Desert Willow flowers”) came to use this spring from the Joshua Tree Tortoise Rescue.  Her domain in the fairly large cinderblock enclosed patio area which she patrols multiple times a day.   When we first got her she spent about a week digging under a bushy sage bush which I assumed was an attempt to make a burrow.  However about a few days ago a teeny tiny tortoise appeared in the yard looking like a miniature prehistoric creature.  And the following day another one appeared.  Careful excavation with a wisk-broom revealed that Rosemary Desert Willow had laid three eggs under the sage – two of them had hatched and the third turned out to be unfertilized.

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Both baby tortoises had the embedded texture of sand all over them for a few days after they hatched – I think that they must have had a hard time digging through the sun baked decomposed granite.  Hard to imagine being born buried underground and having to claw your way out first thing in life.

Baby tortoises are sort of like caviar to Road Runners and the non-indigenous ravens.  We have both hanging out in the back yard every afternoon waiting to pillage Rosemary Desert Willows food plate – so babies are now living inside in a huge terrarium on my desk until they are big enough to not be bird food.   At last count Emmett informed me that we now have eight pets.  Which including humans that makes a household of ten.  I think we’ve officially hit capacity.

Enter Kitten

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Laura and Anna found Kitten in the middle of 29 Palms Hwy.  So much in the middle, that the four cars before them had to straddle him to avoid making kitten roadkill.  Laura risked her life to run into the hwy and save him – but unfortunately by then he had already suffered enough injuries that the local shelter said that if they took him, he would have to be put down.

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Thinking that there is nothing that can’t be solved by throwing a little cash at it, is where I came in.  (It never fails that whenever I’m almost down to zero in my bank account, that a new stranded animal shows up and I start spending money on vet bills like other people spend on shoes)  See the stitches under his chin?  All the skin there had to be pulled back up and re-fastened, he has a broken leg and tail, and lost the pad off of one of his rear feet.

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Not that that we need another animal in the house – we already have Poppy the dog, Emmett’s two beetles named Billy and Sam, the Tortoise named Rosemary Desert Willow, the unnamed pigeon – and now we have a kitten.    I’m not a cat person but really have to admit that kitten totally rocks.  He is resilient, gregarious, affectionate, voracious and better then an alarm clock at 6:30 AM.

Pigeon Needs a Name

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About a month ago Emmett and I found a sick pigeon in our back yard – after watching him hang out in the hottest of the summer heat under a bush for three quarters of a day I finally brought him into the house where he hung out on Emmett’s bed until we found a cage for him in town.  Pigeon is all black and has the sleek lines of a dove –  a little internet research and google image searches on black pigeons have lead us to believe that he is either a king pigeon which are bread for squab or a black racing pigeon.

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Of course the idea of a racing pigeon is more glamorous then one of an eating pigeon – and the moment of truth was when he was finally well and re-released into the back yard.

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Rather then taking off and soaring over the house our pigeon hopped around the yard a few times – took a dip in the pool and then settled in on the back woodpile.

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So I guess we have ourselves a new pet pigeon – who now needs a pigeon house and a good pigeon name.