We gotta tell ya’ this story is a wild one! I was recently donating some furnishings to the folks at Grace Community Church for their Country Store annual sale in October. They brought over a small crew of folks and trucks to haul this stuff away, when this crazy gent notices a hand-knitted blanket I have at my house and asked if it was for sale. (It’s not, as it’s a specially knitted blanket for my 5’17” husband made by my mother). But he just starts talking to me telling me he has this huge afghan collection and how I ought to do a story on him. Well, he’s way more than just a nutty guy who likes to collect blankets, let me tell you.
Meet Jeffery Axelrod, of Hippo-tees.com, who it turns out is not only a prolific artist and collector, he was also apparently the first maker of silk-screen t-shirts that were ever endowed with rock-band logos and sold live at rock concerts. Go figure!
He moved to Boulder City just four years ago after selling his company in the San Francisco Bay area, and kicked around Nevada for a time before he met a friend and moved to Boulder City in an ideal situation that allows him to keep his art studio and collection spaces he needs. Naturally he also loves our town and the people he has gotten to know since moving here.
To see his home is an adventure, as it’s filled with treasures he has collected and created over the years. He gained some prominence up in CA, as a regularly invited artist at the prestigious Sausalito Art Festival. He creates panels and assorted artwork from random items that most of us would never think of combining, cutting up pictures from movie posters, music albums and even makes items out of all kinds of miscellaneous materials.
He tells the story of the silk-screen business, when he and a partner in 1970 Frankenstein-ed together their own printing mechanism in his garage. He and his cohort then hit the streets showing their work and trying to make a sale. A woman they made a showing too just happened to be the wife of one of the members of the Grateful Dead, and asked them to create 200 shirts in a couple of days. They pulled all-nighters to make the delivery, and the rest as they say, is history.
You can watch a YouTube video on a store he had up in Seattle from a few years back here:
What about the afghans, you may ask? He can’t control himself – Jeffery is relentlessly enthusiastic about collecting and you cannot help but be caught up in his wake. He estimates he has well over 70 collected so far, and now has built up a reputation in town from local yard sale regulars. Friends will even call him when they see a good one at a sale he doesn’t know about. He has a remarkable eye – able to take the absurd and unrelated and create something beautiful and interesting out of it.
He’s on TikTok for those interested you can find him at his Hippotees link HERE. And, if you happen to be at a local yard sale, and find this gent walking around looking for blankets, give him a hello, and if you’ve got one to sell, email him at HERE.