Happy Thanksgiving from Quirky Berkeley.
It is a holiday and so we continue with our holiday tradition of taking a quirky field trip. Ready???
Reminder though – click on a photo to get full screen. All these demand it. Take you time. Click them!
My second stop when in Eureka was in Arcata at the home of Laurel Skye. This is her porch. A hint of the greatness to come. A few more exterior shots:
The blue tarps were there to protect the wet saw and tile boxes from the winter rains. Blue tarps or not, I am stunned by the tile work on the workshop doors.
Skye makes art in many ways, but making mosaics is the main event in the main arena.
Before we get too far into this, let me introduce the dramatic personae.
Dharma greeted us outside. Love the top knot!
Laurel Skye. Her energy and ideas and creativity would fill an empty room. In her home, which is sensory overload to da max, her energy bounces off the objects with which she surrounds herself and – intensifies.
She had a few years in Berkeley.
“Okay, now flash to Berkeley. Moved to Berkeley in ’77. Bought a house on 7th and Allston, illustrated and printed a line of astrology greeting cards, made a Tibetan calendar, opened a juice bar/restaurant (Oasis/ A Naturally Small Restaurant) next to what used to be the Co-op on University. Learned a little Chinese calligraphy, and [ex-husband] Dov decided to be a doctor and went back for schooling. Lived there for five-ish years. Sold the restaurant.”
A once-upon-a-time daughter of Berkeley!
Skye’s daughter Marley Goodman, a second-generation prolific mosaic genius.
And the cats!
Dorje wants to be my friend.
Dolma doesn’t want to be my friend. Yet.
I mentioned mosaics. The house is filled with mosaics, and not just your grandmother’s flat mosaic designs. Nothing is safe from mosaic improvement:
Mosaics are everywhere, but they are not the only show in town. The rooms flow into each other, with lots of dimly bulbed lamps and elegant lampshades. Religious iconography is everywhere but is not everything.
I picked up on what I learned were spirit bottles or ancestor bottles, used in Haiti to communicate with the beloved and mighty dead. Good thing! Scary thing! Bad thing! Skye has one or two Haitian examples, and then a number she and Marley made:
There is a significant mannequin population in the house.
I counted five but it is entirely possible that I missed one or more. The one hanging from the ceiling is easy to miss. Until you see it. Then it is hard to miss.
The bathrooms are ultra quirky. I include many photos of two of the bathrooms in my post on quirky bathrooms, so will only include a few here.
Lots of tile:
Skye leads mosaic workshops here and around the world, and has a bright shop where mosaic tiles and other supplies are for sale.
Skye rents her upstairs through Airbnb. It is not as over-to-top as the downstairs, but it is not without quirk. Breakfast is at the downstairs kitchen table with Skye and Goldman. We’ve seen the kitchen table – it has to be the Best Ever Airbnb kitchen.
The stairs up serve as the guest book. Words and drawings.
We only spent an hour at Skye’s house, which I regret. I would like more time there, and will effort that when next in Eureka.
When we visited,Skye was just starting a peacock mosaic. In September 2016, she went me a photo of the finished product:
That – is really – something.
It was commissioned by Laura Hussey for her private collection in Ferndale.
Before my visit, Skye wrote: “I seem to function best out of the rubble, I just had seven people, tourists walk through here a minute ago, from Canada, while at the same time, I had two customers shopping for tiles and I am working on the border of that 6′ peacock in the middle of what used to be my living room. And now the phone is ringing. I just heard Marley answer, saying ‘Yeah, we’re here, come on over.’. So thats my life. I’ve never had a ‘day job’. I wanted to be a set designer. If I had had any talent I would have joined the circus. But I had nothing to offer them.”
Out of the rubble – that really works for me. Rubble in a figurative sense. There are many – many – pieces of art in the house. Sensory overload is an issue. Skye’s energy and creativity and desire to share and the stimulation of the art – it isn’t easy until you just stop thinking and start taking it in.
I took the photos to my friend. He had already done some searching online and found the site about Skye’s design workshops. He saw a photo from her December 2014 shrine-building trip to Mexico.
He wants to go next time. Why? He sees the shrine as a great backdrop for his photo on these posts. So – all about him.
He fingered a small tile that I bought and brought him. “I have a friend who would be happy with a kiln, making little tiles, painting them, all day.” He was immersed in a study of the making of arrows. He actually woke me up a few nights ago to ask what the feathers on an arrow were called. I did not know but he can now tell me. “The feathers – called fletching. You fletch them. A fletcher fletches them. They can be called vanes. There are cocks and hens. Did you know that a crossbow doesn’t shoot an arrow, it shoots a bolt? You can fletch a bolt too.”
I love the kiln fantasy and applaud his immersion in fletching, but – what about Laurel Skye and Marley and the dog and cats and mosaics and the figurative rubble?
This place has it all over Dave Ireland’s mortuary on Capp St. To Life! (and 1900 degrees Fahrenheit).
wow wow wow….speechless. over the top. So happy to get a glimpse into Laurel’s world…..however the ‘link’ you have about Skye’s December 2014 shrine-building trip to Mexico.
does not lead you to that workshop, but one coming up from a very different teacher. I would get rid of that link. ‘ ound the site about Skye’s December 2014 shrine-building trip to Mexico.’ I can probably round up some relevant photos if you like
Laurel Skye’s work is beyond words. Such a talented woman. As some of you already know, Laurel was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. There is a GoFundMe page that has been set up to help with medical and living expenses. To learn more, and make a donation, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-laurel-skye
I wish Laurel would put detailed photos of her house and studio and sold mosaics and mosaic projects on mosaicatlas.com. She is AMAZING AND EXTRAORDINARY! !!!!!!!!
I am the owner of the beautiful mosaic Peacock. Working with Laurel on that project was a great experience. She has a “store” in her house that has lots of fun mosaic art and more for sale. I just did my Christmas shopping there. I highly recommend seeing it if someone is in the vicinity.
Rest in peace Laurel. She taught me how to mosaic 15 years ago and I’m still really into it.