Chris King on a trailer

Mud and Sotol: The Many Faces of Marfa

For travelers on the open road, Marfa, Texas is the crown jewel of desert oases, built by wanderers and artists who band together to cultivate community and support each other's creativity. We recently spent time with several remarkable locals who graciously showed us around. Below we invite you to learn more about them.


In this story:

  • A Marfa architects' advice to visitors and people who want to settle down in Marfa.

  • The evolution of his own craft, from carpentry to working with the earth.

  • How he's salvaging a piece of adobe wall that has been transformed to art.

  • A Marfa sotol distiller discusses his process and why the audience comes second.

We recently named a boot after Marfa. Learn more.

How The Desert Provides: Chick's Message to Marfa Newcomers

When Chick Rabourn arrived in Marfa, he was an architect with carpentry roots. He fell in love with an adobe home, and a key part of owning a home built from mud bricks is knowing how to take care of it.

"It's tempting to come out here and see the big blue sky and see the endless possibilities to start a new life, or do something new, and it's important to remember that people have been out here a long time. They've been passing through here for thousands of years." - Chick Rabourn

The Evolution of a Carpenter

In the desert, there is no better material to work with than adobe. When he first got out to Marfa, Rabourn was very intimidated by working with earth, mostly because of its simplicity. The earliest iterations of adobe bricks were made and held together by raw materials that included mud, sticks, animal bones, and fruit acids.

What Chick learned over time about adobe is that its purity makes it a predictable material and, once studied, it becomes easier to see the signs of stress or failure.

Chick explained one technique he employed to fix a crack in his home.

Chick Rabourn sitting down

Shop the pairs Chick's wearing in his videos

The Art of Adobe: Chick's Salvation Plan

In his bedroom in Marfa, Chick Rabourn has a wall that has become something of an art piece for him and his wife. The layers, colors, and history represent a time range that began all the way back to the 1880s, when the home was originally built. A major crack threatens the wall, but Rabourn and his wife came up with a plan to save it, which he explained in the video.

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Spirits in the Desert

The Marfa Spirit Co. is an outpost within Marfa delivering sotol, rum, and other specialty spirits. We spent time with distiller Chris King, who took us through his creative process. In the process of making anything, he said, the value is in the creation of the product and not in its reception.

We partnered with Brooke Shepard from Clay Island Ceramics to create a small batch of ceramic cups, better known as copitas, that are perfect for sipping spirits or espresso.

Reviewing The Marfa Boots

Crafted from premium pebbled, full-grain leather in striking Black and rich Brown, The Marfa Boots are a fusion of weather-ready durability and artistic charm. Perfect for someone like Chris King, distiller of The Marfa Spirit Co., who is regularly on his feet for 8-10 hours a day.

"I do have a wide foot and these are wider cut and they feel great. Out here, a lot of the streets are unpaved, a lot of rocks, and a lot of rough terrain. Things that are well-made, well-stitched; tougher materials are very important if you are out here." - Chris King, on The Marfa.

Chris King sitting

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