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.
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.
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.
We are back to work in the shipping container studio again – starting new sculptures for a February show at Sprueth Magers in Berlin. Exciting!
As pretty as the all-white container compound may look, it isn’t very practical for producing large bodies of work – plus the heat and the cold really takes a toll when you are working outside every day. This will probably be the last show that we do in this studio as we are gearing up to build a full size building – which will hopefully be completed in the next six months.
This week we had a slew of visitors including Alberto the awesome curator who organized the exhibition of my work at Palazzo Pitti last June, Michael and Alyse some of my favorite friends from LA, and Joachim Hamou another really great friend and collaborator of the film Gollywobbler (about the huge concrete floating island that I built in Scandinavia about twelve years ago)
While Joachim worked on a new film of his in Desert Hot Springs, Alberto, Michael, Alyse and I braved the 106 degree heat to visit Amboy (it gets far hotter in the dead of summer) – stopping at the salt trenches on our way there.
About a week ago I thought I saw that Amboy had come up for sale again on Zillow. After getting super excited about the abandoned town with a population of 8 (all male) possibly coming back on the market again I now can’t seem to find anything about it on the listings. Bummer!
My former photo professor and friend Walter Cotten introduced me to Amboy about 25 years ago, and I’ve been making the pilgrimage back ever since. There are so many rumors associated with this place – from ones of a witches coven that used to occupy the church to another that might be true about the town not having any water (or the water being salty) which would explain why a Cafe, Motel, Post Office, Church etc were offered for sale on Ebay in 2005 and eventually sold to for $425,000 in cash. In any case if anyone wants to buy or give me this town I promise to love turn it into the most amazing High Desert Test Site compound ever.
By the way – the shirt that Alyse is wearing in the photo below is a rectangle. Completely unbeknownst to each other we both started sewing rectangular panel shirts this summer. Hers is a lovely Japanese looking print with the selvedges still showing at the bottom – very stylish and smart in the summer heat!
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.
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.
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.
So I guess we have ourselves a new pet pigeon – who now needs a pigeon house and a good pigeon name.
Check out the table that Chuck built for the A-Z West guest cabin. It is a very nice table – out of redwood and fir. In stripes!
I’ve been wanting to try this pattern forever – and have been interested in learning how the softer woods respond to age and use. (I suspect that they will age well – though this wood is a lot softer then the materials that I have typically used for table tops in the past)
For years I’ve scoffed at tent owners, preferring the canopy of starry skies at night. But not having BLM maps for most of Arizona and New Mexico I realized that we would probably be staying in a lot of public campgrounds – and finally broke down and bought a really comfortable REI car camping tent. Not as glamourous as a little high tech backpacking tent – but it is pretty darn nice to be able to stand up when you pull your pants on.
This was the best campsite of the trip – right on the edge of the waters of the Rio Chame, not too far from Georgia O’keefe’s hometown of Abique. The campground was 11 miles down a bumpy gravel road leading to a monastery – even on the even of Labor Day weekend there wasn’t another camper to be seen or heard.
The travel book described Taos as being capable of inducing spiritual enlightenment – however the town itself felt a bit touristy and homogenous. However Michael’s Kitchen provided sustenance in the form of heavily spiced breakfast burritos and Ms. Quick-stop on the northern end of town managed to likewise revive the struggling Subaru with a radiator flush, oil change and new air filter.
The biggest regret of the trip was arriving at the Earthships 9 minutes too late for a self guided tour. I’ve been wanting to visit these for years and discovered that there are a few that you can even book for overnight stays. Later we found this one for sale on Zillow (hard to tour the country without the Zillow Ap on your iphone honed in on every possible purchase)
I heart Earthships. They both bring out the hippy in me and make me want to make love to a sci-fi alien being.
The night after staying in Gila Bend in Arizona we ended up at Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico (and the next day at Gila Cliff Dwellings). The hot springs were at the end of a tiny twisting mountain road that looked like it would take about 20-30 minutes on the map, but took one and a half hours to navigate in reality.
There were a few different campgrounds – but this one won the prize with it’s outdoor communal kitchen. I’ve been wanting to do something like this at A-Z West so that people have a sheltered functional area to cook in when they camp in the wash.
And I’m a huge sucker for ACX plywood and simple fir 2x6s (as the furniture in the HDTS HQ will attest). Even the bathroom, a converted mobile home, was glowing with wooden goldness.
And not too far down the same road was another totally different kind of communal living situation. The Gilla Cliff Dwellings were amazingly complex in their network of small interconnected rooms which originally were entered from above – their roofs creating a large platform for the inhabitants living functions.
My much yearned for camping trip through the southwest was a long time coming (years actually) – but last week it finally manifested itself a 2,000(+) mile journey that Thomas Stevenson and I took through the California Desert, Arizona and New Mexico.
Once-upon-a-time I used to go camping all the time – sleeping out on BLM land and exploring sketchy dirt roads that sometimes felt like little more then goat trails. This trip however was more of a research expedition – targeted at checking out further regions of the southwest – and finding greenery and cool temps in the August heat.
We got a late start on Monday afternoon and drove into the night to Gila Bend where there was a “space age” Best Western and giant desert creatures both past and present.