Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making Art from Trash

The "Slabs", just outside Niland, CA was the next stop on the WINs Western Winter Circuit. This is a unique place, an old abandoned WWII military base, where RVers and others can live free for as long as they want.

One morning we took off on a trek to find one of the more interesting residents.

This is Container Charlie's home, consisting of a large storage container and several small outbuildings/trailers. The container is hard to see here, but it's underneath the satellite dish.

Since there is no electricity here at the Slabs, the container is covered with solar panels, enough for Charlie to do his welding, and run his A/C in the summer when the temps go to 120 degrees.

Some of the Slabs are covered with junk. Charlie decided to turn his section of trash into art objects. This tower is a work in progress, but there are many other completed projects in his yard.

Charlie is a friendly and open guy, who gave us to a tour of his place and answered all of our questions.

Some of the things I especially liked -- The fence, made out of bed springs.

A collection of bottles for future art projects.

A baby grand piano.

A full size bus that a stranger dropped off and buried in the backyard. Charlie fixed up the inside and uses it as a guest room. He had to straighten up the bed, table and stove.

When Charlie first came to the Slabs, he lived in this VW van named Cinnabar Charm. It's now covered with various items.

As are several cars.

All in all, a great experience. More on the Slabs to follow!


  1. WOW...what a talented guy!! I love the idea of repurposing objects to art--that small camp trailer is just what Im looking for!! Are there any more abandoned ones needing a home? The Guest Bus reminds me a nightmare I had once where the floor was so crooked I was sliding off the edge--very clever idea! The slabs is a spot I want to see, cant wait to see what else you have to share from your visit there!

  2. I might cruise thru Slab City this Saturday. I'll look for you.

  3. I've been to the Slabs many times...but never saw these places. Thanks for adding a new dimension to my image of the Slabs.

  4. wow I never knew a place like that existed, that is pretty cool how he has his home and he looked like he was happy and he sure seems to keep himself busy, thanks for sharing!

  5. I don't remember the baby grand or the big bus. New? or am I just losing it?

  6. I stopped by the Slabs yesterday AND YOU WEREN'T THERE!!!


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