Robin Schlosser - Executive Director of Reach Out Morongo Basin, and Heart of the Home Tour.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robin early one Monday morning, she was my official “Tour Guide” for the day. Robin had successfully lined up four distinctly unique properties featured on their Home Tour. Reach Out Morongo Basin hosts an annual Parade of Homes Tour every year, and this years marks their tenth year. The annual Home Tour is one of their main fundraising events of the year, raising 10% of their annual budget, all proceeds go towards services for seniors and disabled neighbors throughout the morongo basin.
While I was busy making friends with the local senior members, Robin was busy organizing and making last minute arrangements for our day tour, as I contemplated having another donut and coffee, I could hear Robin say, “We’d better get going we have many stops to make today.” I had no idea what adventurous wonder I was in for.
After visiting our first stop on our tour, The Tile House - by Artist Perry Hoffman, in Wonder Valley, I have to say I was blown away by the colorful visuals and mosaic art throughout the house. Perry has been collecting and assembling mosaic title throughout since he purchased the place in 2000. For him its been a work in progress, a true labor of love. Perry holds regular Mosaic Tile Workshops at both his Tile House in Wonder Valley and his Raft Studio Gallery in Santa Barbara ( go to his website - http://ravenmosaics.wordpress.com)
Our next stop was clearly a - “Wurld” not of this world. It was the Magical Art Compound of Artist - Bobby Furst - known to many as “Furst Wurld.” It is truly a world like no other. I had Robin stop the car a few 100 yards short of the site, so that I could take it all in, for both my mind and my camera lens. Bobby has installed a series of buildings all jammed packed with his creative art pieces and studio supply collection of bizarre, thought-provoking and humorous items. You know how people say, you need a few days to really cover all of disney land, well, the same is definitely true for Furst Wurld, you truly need a few days, maybe even years, to take it all in.
My tour guide Robin, can confirm, that I was completely, and totally unprepared and overwhelmed by Bobby’s creations. It was a sensory overload experience for me - an experience I am very grateful for and will certainly never forget. Once I regained some sense of normalcy, I sat down for a one on one with Bobby and asked one simple question, “Tell me how long you have been doing this amazing work of yours?” Bobby calmly replied, "Well I’ve been collecting stuff and putting stuff together of decades." Well of course you have, hence the magical wonderment that is Furst Wurld - A true magical delight. Bobby is a man of many talents - from Artist, to Contractor, to Builder, to Metal/Electrical Works - he’s a Jack of All Trades. But mostly he’s a Transformist, he can transform anything into Art or Performance Art or Functional working pieces of art with a clear and strong message. I clearly need more room on my blog to go into more detail and to recount all that I experience that day. In fact, I may even need to do a separate story of this incredible valley wonder. But for now, I suggest you visit his website at http://bobbyfurst.com and discover for yourself, the magical wonders of Bobby and his creations.
Our third stop of our tour, included The Desert Lily, a Bed and Breakfast owned and operated by Carrie Yeager. But its not just any BnB, its a place with incredible landscape and views, electric rustic art pieces scattered throughout, but mostly, a place “That feels like you’re visiting old friends.” When Robin and I arrived at the Desert Lily, I quickly made my initial met and greet with Carrie, and then wasted no time in exploring her little nesting gem of desert delight for myself. After a good 20 minutes of taking plenty of great shots of the place, I returned for a more in-depth interview with Carrie. I was not surprised five minutes into the interview, to learn that Carrie too, is a person of many talents and interests, just like Bobby, she has accomplished a great deal and has manifested her own creative compound of relaxation, escape and discovery for her many visiting guests. The BnB feels warm and inviting, and it should, with its mountain views, colorful walls and tantalizing breakfast menu which includes, triple berry double stuffed french toast, yes, that’s right, double stuffed - with amazing goodness I’m sure. But all kidding aside, one of my first questions I ask Miss Carrie was, what brought you to Joshua Tree, and this BnB? Carrie shared, after traveling all around looking, finally when saw this place she knew, “This was the place, it just spoke to me.” Yes, in deed, this is certainly a place that evokes positive energy and warm peaceful feelings. For more information, or to make a reservation visit the website at http://thedesertlily.com
Our last stop on our tour, ended with the collecting duo of Jimm and Jo Ann Petersen, from Double J Ranch. Both Robin and I had barely made it out of the car, when we were joyously greeted by the Lady of Ranch - Miss Jo Ann. She ran up to me, and offered up a big hug and a kiss - like we were old friends. I was a bit surprised at first, but then I remembered my Italian up-bringing and thought, yes, now we are family. Jimm followed with a warm and pleasant greeting. They had been waiting for our visit, and were excited to share their collection with us. Again, I experienced sensory overload, within a few short minutes of entering their place. Jo Ann is correct when she says, "There is nothing we don’t collect." Oh, Yes, you got that right lady. Both Jimm and Jo Ann have been collecting for over, 30 years, with a collection of over one million Baseball Cards and over 500 Barbie Dolls. Jimm shared, that this has become an addiction that started way back when his father gave away all of Jimm’s collectibles as a child, and he’s been slowly rebuilding his lost collection one piece at a time. Jo Ann went on to add, that the piece doesn’t have to be anything special, just merely of interest to them - they’ll start collecting it, from cast iron frying pans, to coke bottles, to radio’s, to tools - If they like it - they’ll collect it. Jimm and Jo Ann, have also over the years collected an extensive collection of Local Art pieces, their list of art includes works from, Paul Michael Smiley, to Leonard Borman, to Wally Pacholka, with a long list of many more. On a more lighter note, Jo Ann shared the true importance to their collecting ways, she said, with a big smile on her face, "There’s got to be fun in it - you have to laugh about it all." Yes, Miss Jo Ann, I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for sharing in all your many years of happy collecting.