Steampunk Clothing Indi-Designer Judi Morales

Truckee Art and Culture Judi Morales

Judi Morales is an artist, burner, steampunk indi-designer, and an instructor of upcycled sewing and encaustic painting. She volunteers at non-profits such as the Truckee Roundhouse, Friends of Black Rock High Rock, Crews with Obtainium Works, and the Steampunk makers of the Neverwas Haul art car – a three-story Victorian house on wheels.

In a process artistic called steampunk clothing indie-design, Judi repurposes obtainium (materials obtained that are not new), so she doesn’t use new fabrics. Using second-hand clothing, table linens, and fabric samples, Judi upcycles them into steampunk clothing and accessories. She vends her handmade goods and a findings bar of upcycled materials for DIY artists, at events; the Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally, the Bay Area Maker Faire, Clockwork Alchemy and the Truckee Roundhouse Maker Show. Judi is well-known as a vendor at Treasure Island Flea in the Bay Area.

Judi teaches guerilla upcycled sewing at the Truckee Roundhouse, her own style of sewing with upcycled clothing and materials, and without patterns. She believes sewing should be enjoyable instead of intimidating, so she specializes in beginning sewing through fun projects teaching adults and teens.
Summer Workshop Schedule:
August 2, 2pm-5pm: Machine Check-Out and Open Studio
August 9, 2pm-5pm: Machine Check-Out and Open Studio

Judi also specializes as an encaustic painter and instructor, a youth art instructor, mehndi body artist, occasionally writes for publications, and routinely volunteers.

Encaustic Painter & Instructor:
Encaustic is a hot beeswax medium that utilizes an open flame torch, that Judi discovered in 2007 while working at a women’s art retreat in Carmel, Ca. There, she studied with the late William Harsh and Lissa Rankin, author of Encaustic Art, The Complete Guide to Creating Art with Wax. Judi has exhibited her work in Truckee, Kings Beach, Berkeley, Carmel, and Benicia. She currently teaches unconventional Encaustic techniques using upcycled wood substrates, at the Truckee Roundhouse. The next workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, 5pm-8pm. Register at:

Youth Art Instructor:
As the Youth Education Coordinator for Arts Benicia, Judi doubled as a youth art instructor. She taught at the EcoArt Summer Camp, ABAS (Arts Benicia Afterschool Program) and Exploratory Wheel hosted by the Benicia School District, where she taught Tinker Time, a woodshop maker class for 3rd-grade students. Her classes were based on Eco-Art principles of using upcycled materials, student-imagined designs and the use of a variety of tools. Judi currently teaches Truckee youth programs, Aim High summer program, and the Boys and Girls Club. Her experience as a Respite Care provider for children with developmental disabilities has helped work with kids needing extra encouragement.

Mehndi Body Artist:
Judi practiced mehndi, (henna painting) at community events, Indian weddings and private parties. She has also taught mehndi workshops in Benicia and Vallejo.

Journalist, Writer:
Judi wrote for and covering the arts, education, and community. She also wrote for the Burning Blog, as an advocate and educator for families at Burning Man. Judi still writes, mostly comedy and satire that she sometimes performs as a stand-up, at local Truckee venues.

Volunteer Work:

Obtainium Works (Steampunk Art Car Makers), Vallejo, CA: Judi is a crew member of Obtainium Works, a Steampunk group of tinkerers, gearheads, and steam bohemians who fabricate steam-powered art out of repurposed industrial detritus. The crew is best known for its the three-story Victorian house on wheels, the Neverwas Haul, a self-propelled Mobile Art Installation at Burning Man. Judi currently volunteers as vendor Coordinator for events such as the Obtainium Cup Contraptor’s Rally hosted on Mare Island on July 28, 2019.

Friends of Black Rock High Rock, Gerlach, NV: Instead of attending Burning Man, Judi currently volunteers for 3-4 weeks at FOBRHR, by hosting the Last Chance Outpost, a pop-up store fundraiser in Gerlach, Nevada. The shop sells playa gear, pre-owned burner wear, cold drinks, and snacks during Burning Man. The non-profit organization does conservation and education in the 1.2 million acres of public lands in the Black Rock Desert region.
Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV: Judi participated in and Burning Man from 1999 to 2015, 11 times with her son, Dexter, who was 16 months old at his first burn. In 2006, Judi founded a theme camp, Hot Monkey Sox, a sock monkey workshop in Kidsville. In 2010, she founded Black Rock Scouts, an educational program for kids, now known as Black Rock Explorers, a non-profit organization. Judi has volunteered with Gate/Perimeter, Earth Guardians, Lamplighters, Greeters, and Man Watch. In 2014, she started Playa on Tap, a campaign to encourage burners to bring tap water to the playa, instead of bottled water. Judi currently moderates a Facebook page called MOOP-Free Playa Wear, where burners can find responsible playa wear goods and ideas.


Photo credit: Stephen Jacobson