Cashews in the bowl of life

158 Tony and Bobette live completely off the grid (wind and solar) in Rimrock, a small community amonsgst the boulders just north of Pioneertown. I drive up and find Tony in his mini-Kwanzet Hut-like outdoor ceramic studio behind the house. His shirt is splattered with turquoise and rust glaze, his smile earnest and clearest blue eyes. Tony tells me he is working on a series of Raku fired purposely pointless parrot pitchers in metallic colors. Inside, his wife Bobette solders brightly colored geometric stained glass in their living room. You can see her work here. Their home is surrounded by 8 inches of foam, which keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Their swamp cooler was not on, despite the 103 degree temps and humidity all week!  Bobette pulled a bowl of frozen grapes out of the freezer and we sat on stools and talked about art as the process of realizing why we make art, the moment of "I made it blue there because I had a feeling about it." People in the desert are like the cashews in the bowl of nuts at the party, said Tony, we are similar to eachother, but don't always find each other the vast, constantly shifting landscape of urban existence. We meet eachother out here and there is already a shared understanding, a love for open space and rawness, of real DIY. Tony used to teach high school ceramics in South Central LA, and he would set up raku firings in trash cans in the art rooms, do it discreetly, and no one ever found out.  He and Bobette moved out here 4 years ago for newness, for a horizon, to be artists.

159 Tony next to his bathtub raku firing pit. He buries his leather-hard ceramic pieces in the newspaper and lights it on fire, closes it off and waits for all of the newpaper to burn. Then he removes the pieces when they are still hot and cools them quickly with water.The Raku firings are performances, dances, the whole body participates, in tough leather gloves, in boots, moving these 1000 degree vessels from the bathtub to the world. I will attend one of these next week, and fire some of my own desert pieces. Move my body in the heat, in the heat.

160 A Purposely pointless parrot pitcher, leather-hard, pre- firing

164 Raku vessels, post firing

162 Bobette's stained glass163 The foam home coat