The Art In And Of The Tiny House

During the first weekend of February a team of builders and tiny house leaders including Deek Diedricksen, Dustin Diedricksen, Joshua and Shelley Engberg, Roy St. Clair, Michelle Boyle, Andrew Odom, Palo Coleman, and Martin Skrelunas, met up at the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA, to build a one-room tiny house/cabin to be auctioned off in March with proceeds benefitting the non-profit arts center.

The build was part of a Diedricksen Bros. hands-on building workshop. While usually held on remote property or some other outdoor location, this build was different. It was open to 35 participants and held in the courtyard of CAFAM, directly across from the La Brea Tar Pits. The Friday night kicked off with several hundred people attending an open house wherein speakers talked about their personal tiny house experiences, building techniques, and recycling/upcycling elements. The audience was truly captivated and while the topic seemed very different than the current exhibits including ‘Chapters: Book Arts in Southern California’ and ‘Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video’, it somehow fit so well in this house of folk. But is both the point of CAFAM and, I believe, the point in art.

CAFAM is special because it is a place to both see art and make art. Tying into exhibitions, CAFAM coordinates a robust roster of hands-on workshops led by professional artists and instructors. The museum is a place where friends and families come to spark creativity, appreciate more fully what it means to craft something by hand, and feel how satisfying that can be. 


During the weekend I was fortunate enough to work alongside those who had experience building and those who had never held a hammer before. But that was the beauty of the event. Learning to build from a hands-on perspective – né, how to create art – from a hands on perspective is something most humans appreciate and can relate to. From the time we are in school taking art class and maybe even fashion design or auto mechanics, we use our senses in a hands-on manner to engage our minds and our bodies. From simple construction paper furniture to more complex wire art design we have the ability to grow into industrial designers, problem solvers, abstract thinkers, etc. And that is what this hands-on workshop partnered with an art museum was about. Learning to build, create, and adapt, a tiny house into something beautiful yet practical.

And then there is the community involvement. The cabin is portable, measures 15′ by 7′ inside and made of unconventional materials. Complete with pet peek windows, a sleeping loft for 1, and a light fixture supplied by The California Workshop, this modern design inspired cabin is a perfect office, artist studio, or relax shack, and can be won by raffle. In fact, to purchase a raffle ticket visit CAFAM’s site.

Diedricksen has long been known for his commitment to salvage materials and recycling materials, but this could be one of the first times a public landmark such as CAFAM has brought to light the obvious relationship between tiny houses, art, and the public.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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