Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thunderbird Kitchen

As many if you know, we live in a really old house. It is one of the oldest houses in our little mountain town.  It was built in 1890.  At one time it was a boarding house in the winter for remote ranch kids to stay in so they could attend school.

I drive my poor husband crazy working on it, or rather, undoing undoing undoing.   Ripping into drywall, tearing out walls, trying to get down to the bottom layers, the oldest wood.  I am constantly ripping out carpet to expose the original floors, stripping paint, moving furniture from room to room while I attempt to resurrect the old stuff...the cool stuff.  He patiently trips. And cusses.

So I am really fracking good at demolishing but a carpenter I am not.  I try, but he teases I have our entire home hanging together with duct tape and a finish nail. So far she is still standing. (Only because I once had to crawl through a hole to get under our house, then scootch as flat as possible on my back, holding a bottle jack, with my nose almost touching the floorboards to jack up our sinking floors.)  spiders claustrophobia

I have been holding off  starting some more work in our kitchen/dining room, simultaneously being in a bartering stand-off with a junk store owner for a piece I was dyyyyyying to put in my dining room. Unexpectedly, I won!  (yesssss) And came home with this amazing beauty.  It is from "Thunderbird Welding"  a 1950/60 era business that was over the mountain by Steamboat Springs.  It is hand cut and welded from heavy iron.  The worn blue and red patina is  to die for. And it is heavy as hell.

This is the "Before".  We had already added the rusty corrugated tin wainscot and now to get rid of the drywall and expose the original timber wall

nothing as fun as a wonderbar I always say!

Just as I suspected some amazing god damn wallpaper. Layers of amazing god damn OLD wallpaper!!!!!

My dad is nice and helps me hang the sign.

And then I go to work with the blade slowly, slowly peeling back layers of fragile, FRAGILE wall paper.  They are all very cool so I try to pick which layers to expose and where.  I am not done with this part and probably wont be for about 15 years.....or 20.

But in the is a view with a portion of the finished look:


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Calamity Skulls Feature at Urban Outfitters

I am so excited to tell you!  I have been working in my studio for the last few weeks making a special custom collection of hand painted skulls to be featured and sold at the opening of Urban Outfitter's new store in Malibu, California in mid August! Here is the complete collection.  You can read my interview on the Urban Outfitter's blog here.


"rendezvous jezabelle"


"heaven & earth"


"back porch"




"stomp your boots"




"never summer"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Put a Damn Lid On It

I just realized while thumbing through my Pinterest....I gotta thing with hats.
Must have come from my mama.  She always wears a hat and then gets a bratty attitude. But hats, along with eyes, are windows to your soul.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wendy Gill Art

I used to be the proud owner of just one of my sister's- Wendy Gill's incredible paintings.  Now I own seven.  Yes I said SEVEN!!

I recently made a HUGE change in my life by closing my physical vintage/gallery boutique.  It was a long run at 13 years.  (Don't you worry you can always shop Calamity online!)

 Through the years, my sister was, of course, my favorite artist to feature.

Her work would come to me from her studio, always adorning the walls of my store.  They were full of her dreams, our childhood, her rebellious, beautiful little (sometimes creepy) spirit.

Since we don't live very close, it was always as if she was with me.  Her creativity, her visions, her very essence-was always in the background of my every day life....inspiring me.  It was rough to covet them so much and let them move on to other lucky owners.

So, it was a traumatic experience for me, when I was packing it all up, thinking that I would have to live without her work coming in and out of my world.   Regardless of what series I temporarily possessed, they were a part of me, almost as much as a part of her.  

So, until I could meet up with Wendy to return the six paintings I currently had for sale in the shop, I hung them in my new at-home Calamity Trading studio.
They were amazing, perfect...beautiful.  

I whined about giving them back endlessly to my mom.

My parents-who at this point, (three daughters and 8 grandkids later)  have really really REALLY defined the meaning of unconditional love-surprised me the other day by purchasing for me the six pieces I was hoarding!  The best thing I could have ever received to celebrate my new life, my new freedom and my continuous creative journey.

No one could ever ever ever love them as much as I do! She is such an amazing person and artist.

Here is a random collection of Wendy's work.  She so many more beautiful pieces at Wendy Gill Art !

 "Wendy Gill’s mixed media collages have been described as both uplifting and sinister. 
Images from books, magazines, and photographs are cut out and then coated with acrylic gel medium. Using a tacking iron she fuses the pieces to the canvas. Her unconventional use of color composition adds drama and depth to her work. 

Wendy, who for the most part is self-taught, was raised in a rustic environment in Colorado. Her father was the caretaker at an abandoned mine and she grew up with a true love for animals and nature. Her mother, a gifted seamstress and artist, encouraged Wendy to pursue art throughout her life. "

Effigy of Autarchy

16 X 20


mixed media, collage

©wendy gill art

Dream Too

18 X 24

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic, spray paint.


©Wendy Gill Art

Onto the Narrow Ledge

16 X 24

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.


©Wendy Gill Art

Alexandra the Great

16 X 20

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.

SOLD/prints available

©Wendy Gill Art


16 X 20

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.


©Wendy Gill Art

Self Portrait

20 X 24

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.


©Wendy Gill Art


16 X 20

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic, spray paint.

©Wendy Gill Art


20 X 24

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.


©Wendy Gill Art

18 x 24
mixed media, collage
©wendy gill art

Benevolent Prince

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic

16 X 20


©Wendy Gill Art


16 X 20

Mixed media, collage. Paper, acrylic.


©Wendy Gill Art

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gypsy Wind

 Taking off from home not knowing (not caring) where we will end up. 
 The smell of the river and pine trees blurring by me.
My Whiskey buzz. 
My earphones blasting Led Zep underneath the growling of the powerful motor.
Leaning into my husband's back, his strong hands guiding us down the road. Leaning back taking in the endless blue sky or star splattered cold night at 80 miles an hour.

Some of the most vivid, fulfilling zen moments in my life are on a motorcycle....where I feel I could just spread my arms and literally fly. No rules, no bills, no dirty dishes, just us.... the highway...the mountains.

Some may not get it, but Bandit Brand does.  One of my favorite designers-not only because of her old school biker designs-but also because of how her, Leslie Crow of Heyoka, and Photographer Michael Schmidt capture the feel of gypsy wind blowing you down the road. I can't wait for summer!  

Source: via