When the sisters behind Block Shop host friends for a dinner in Joshua Tree, their table is a reflection of the wild Southern California landscape.
Published Mar 30, 2017 6:00 AM
“The community out here
in the desert is rich with musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, and designers doggedly pursuing their work,” says visual artist Lily Stockman of Joshua Tree, where she has a small cabin. “By the time the weekend rolls around, people are ready for some human interaction.”
Together with her sister, Hopie, Lily launched the Los Angeles–based textile line Block Shop in 2010. The two have since made the dusty pink home a satellite studio for hosting workshops on natural dyeing and hand block printing—skills they learned while setting up production in India. Known for their scarves, baby quilts, and pillows in a rich palette, the Stockmans are introducing tabletop linens this spring.
To get their social fix, they often throw laid-back, last-minute dinner parties for whomever happens to be around in Joshua Tree. While the house is only 500 square feet, the white-walled courtyard doubles as an outdoor kitchen and dining room. The stark landscape inspires the sisters to embrace a pared-down aesthetic with splashes of color, like cobalt plates or a bunch of Mexican marigolds, and strong geometric forms, such as their block-printed napkins.
PLATES byHelen Levi
from $47 shop.helenlevi.com; VASES by BZippy and Co. bzippyandcompany.com; TOTEM SCULPTURES by Heidi Anderson Studio from $95 heidiandersonstudio.com; PILLOWS, SADDLE BLANKET, RUNNERS, and NAPKINS by Block Shop $52-$250 blockshoptextiles.com.
A prime spot to soak up the sun.
Hopie (left) and Lily (right) ready the table; guests find a place in the sun.
The menu follows a similar let’s-see-what-we-come-up-with philosophy. “We like to cook big vats of things and serve a main dish that can be shared,” Lily says. Cut to her fresh-baked loaves of no-knead bread; quinoa with Alphonso mangoes and cilantro tossed in a sweet yogurt–lemon juice–curry sauce; and family-style salads dressed with Hopie’s go-to vinaigrette. The bonfire pit comes in handy for the crowd-pleasing Tandoori-inspired chicken, grilled and kept warm in a Dutch oven until dinnertime, as well as a rustic strawberry-rhubarb galette served straight from a cast-iron skillet.
The Stockmans’ breezy approach to entertaining suits the wild backdrop that surrounds them—painted-sky sunsets included. “Parties around here usually start during the golden hour and end at what our friend calls ‘desert midnight’—9 p.m.,” explains Hopie. “Everyone gets up early.” After all, there’s work to be done.
Avocados are served with a splash of good olive oil (the Stockmans favor Wonder Valley).
Glassware by Nickey Kehoe shop.nickeykehoe.com; Platters by Mt. Washington Pottery mtwashingtonpottery.com; Wonder Valley Olive Oil $33 welcometowondervalley.com; Runner, Throw, napkins, and Tablecloth by Block Shop $52-$250 blockshoptextiles.com.
The platters and plates were made by friends, including the Stockmans’ L.A. neighbor Beth Katz of Mt. Washington Pottery.
Scarf by Block Shop $120 blockshoptextiles.com; Napkins by Block Shop set of 4 $52 blockshoptextiles.com; Platter shop.nickeykehoe.com; Diamond Saucer Vase by Bzippy & Co. bzippyandcompany.com; Block Shop x Mast Brothers Chocolate $8 each mastbrothers.com.
Sprigs of foraged creosote and salt cedar create striking color blocks.
Magic hour in Joshua Tree draws dinner guests out into the wild just before sundown.