Block Party

When the sisters behind Block Shop host friends for a dinner in Joshua Tree, their table is a reflection of the wild Southern California landscape.

Blue and White and Wood Table Setting

photography by LAURE JOLIET


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

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, and pillows in a rich palette, the Stockmans are introducing tabletop linens this spring.

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

PLATES by Helen Levi from $47 shop.helenlevi.com; VASES by BZippy and Co. bzippyandcompany.com; TOTEM SCULPTURES by Heidi Anderson Studio from $95 heidiandersonstudio.com; PILLOWS, SADDLE BLANKET, RUNNERS, and NAPKINS by Block Shop $52-$250 blockshoptextiles.com.

Blue and Brown and Pink Exterior

photography by LAURE JOLIET


A prime spot to soak up the sun. 

DHURRIES by Block Shop from $120 blockshoptextiles.com.

Blue and White and Wood Portrait

photography by LAURE JOLIET


Hopie (left) and Lily (right) ready the table; guests find a place in the sun.

Clockwise from top left: Hopie’s Dress by Beatrice Valenzuela $436 beatricevalenzuela.com; Lily’s Caftan by Rachel Craven $260 rachelcraven.com; Lily’s Pants by Rachel Comey rachelcomey.com

Blue and Brown Vignette

photography by LAURE JOLIET


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. 

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.

Blue and Green and White Food

photography by LAURE JOLIET


Avocados are served with a splash of good olive oil (the Stockmans favor Wonder Valley).

Glassware by Nickey Kehoe shop.nickeykehoe.com; Platters by Mt. Washington Pottery mtwashingtonpottery.com; Wonder Valley Olive Oil $33 welcometowondervalley.com; Runner, Throw, napkins, and Tablecloth by Block Shop $52-$250 blockshoptextiles.com.

Blue and White Food

photography by LAURE JOLIET


The platters and plates were made by friends, including the Stockmans’ L.A. neighbor Beth Katz of Mt. Washington Pottery.

Scarf by Block Shop $120 blockshoptextiles.com; Napkins by Block Shop set of 4 $52 blockshoptextiles.com; Platter shop.nickeykehoe.com; Diamond Saucer Vase by Bzippy & Co. bzippyandcompany.com; Block Shop x Mast
Brothers Chocolate $8 each mastbrothers.com

Blue and Purple and Red and Yellow Flowers

photography by LAURE JOLIET


Sprigs of foraged creosote and salt cedar create striking color blocks. 


Green and Pink and Taupe and White Exterior

photography by LAURE JOLIET


Brown Vignette

photography by LAURE JOLIET


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

Published on March 30, 2017 - 6:00am EDT

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