Handcrafted from Retired Rubber

Travis Cohn, a Durham native, is an artist with a studio in historic downtown Siler City. He’s among one of the many active community members and merchants. When he’s not in his studio, you’ll find him taking a break at Courtyard Coffee, stopping by NC Arts Incubator, or elsewhere in town.

Travis comes from a family of artists with varied talents, including writers, bicycle mechanics, poets, jewelers, and portrait artists. The tire art concept was built around a childhood visit to Florida where his family joked about wrestling roadside scraps of tire, at the time, visions of alligators. Years later, Travis made the commitment of time, energy, and willingness to learn at the San Francisco Art Institute before heading back to his home state to bring the art to others.

The ‘alligator art’ grew well beyond that one image into creative and functional pieces—plant holders, lamps, lanterns, tables, mirrors, footstools, coin purses, cell-phone holders, suspenders, purses, and other items. Where does he find his materials? ‘Tire farms’ throughout North Carolina, primarily the Piedmont region, serve as the source for the vintage, non-belted, and other kinds of tires.

You can see Travis at work, by appointment, and hopefully, he will host some Third Friday ArtWalk festivities. And what might those be? Worm sewing parties at the Studio. Travis says, “visitors form out of town, perhaps staying the night at the Inn at Celebrity Dairy or elsewhere in Siler City, can come in and ‘tie one on!’ to old Tyrius!”

Having hosted a ‘Verm-Sewing Verk Party’ most recently in September of 2010, guests found the experience to be enjoyable, relaxing, and therapeutic. Travis tells us that the repetitive motion of hand sewing two fabric rings together (with jumbo sized, curved upholstery needles and heavy duty fishing line),  and creating a long, bendy, human-sized glowering tube, with alternating stripes of black, orange, white, pink and yellow, is indeed a special experience.

Meet Travis at the Third Friday ArtWalk and learn more about his work. Stay tuned for your invite to a worm-sewing party, just around the bend.