How the Block Shop Sisters Host Last-Minute Dinner Parties in Their Joshua Tree Courtyard

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Plates, Helen Levi; Vases, BZippy; Totem Sculptures, Heidi Anderson Studio; Pillows, Saddle Blanket, Runners, and Otto Napkins, Block Shop.

“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 Southern California’s Joshua Tree, where she has a small cabin. “By the time the weekend rolls around, people are ready for some human interaction.”

Hopie (left) and Lily ready the table. Glassware, Nickey Kehoe; Platters, Mt. Washington Pottery; Runner, Throw, and Tablecloth, Block Shop. On Hopie: Dress, Beatrice Valenzuela. On Lily: Caftan, Rachel Craven; Pants, Rachel Comey.

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, pillows, and tabletop linens in a rich palette, the Stockmans introduced wallpaper in 2022.

A prime spot to soak up the sun. Rug, Block Shop.

To get their social fix, they often throw laid-back, last-minute dinner parties for whomever happens to be around. 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.

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.

Dolly Napkins, Block Shop; Platter, Nickey Kehoe; Tall Saucer Vase, BZippy.
Sprigs of foraged creosote and salt cedar create striking color blocks. The platters and plates were made by friends, including the Stockmans’ L.A. neighbor Beth Katz of Mt. Washington Pottery.

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.

Magic hour in Joshua Tree draws dinner guests out into the wild just before sundown.

This story was originally published in our Spring 2017 issue with the headline “Block Party.”

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