Kit Brooks | Ep 74

Kit's family moved to the desert in the early 60's from Duarte, California. Kit was youngest of four kids, spread out over a number of years, so two of her siblings had already left home by the time the family made the move to the Mojave. Kit spent time riding horses barefoot and bareback and made a few bucks to spend on school clothes sweeping and washing curlers at Barbara's Beauty Salon (now known as 'that blue building' next to Ink & Steel in downtown Joshua Tree.

After being voted 'Queen of Landers', Kit married at 17, had a child and moved to a local reservation with her husband with what by today's standards would be considered an early form of 'pre-fab housing'. Living for several years without running water or electricity still gives Kit an appreciation of the flip of a light switch. In this episode, Kit also talks about her appreciation for the Native American culture and what life on the reservation was like for her.

Kit is a 'doer' and has had many jobs over her lifetime. Among other things, Kit has cleaned houses, been a firefighter, an ambulance driver, a meat cutter and a medical supplies driver. That last one, was the job that paved the way to her meeting renown environmental sculptor, Noah Purifoy and ultimately, apprenticing with him for many of his later years. It was Kit who encouraged Huell Howser of California Gold fame to come out and interview Noah for the program. With a home in 29Palms, Huell was also a lover of the desert. Kit is featured in the episode with Noah - watch it here.

Kit has always been creative, but because she did not train in the 'fine art' of it, never really felt as if her work from found objects in the desert was truly art. It wasn't until stumbling upon Noah's place in north Joshua Tree that Kit really felt she was on to something with her found object, recycled material work and later, black-smithing.

Though moving to the desert as a kid was a bit of a culture shock, Kit says she and her family immediately adapted and totally fell in love with the desert - she's been here going on 40 years.