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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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?