reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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not the fancy stuff. [two artists tuesday]

coffee pot copy

maybe we’ll go back.  this sassy coffee pot sits at one of our favorite antique shops and drew my eye.  we’ll be sure to know where to put it and, perhaps, how to use it before we maybe go get it.

we were on our way to cape cod and the sign salvage chic antiques stopped us.  four old aluminum coffee pots later, we left the store.  they are now part of a five-aluminum-coffee-pot collection on a shelf in our kitchen; instead of a canister set, these coffee pots keep all our different teas easily accessible.

anyone who knows us knows that we love our coffee.  anyone who knows us knows that we also love re-purposing old stuff.  but not the fancy stuff.  old aluminum coffee pots, old black vintage suitcases, old wooden boxes.  they are the treasures around us.  they hold special mementos, nespresso coffee pods, clothespins for the ukulele band, art supplies, rocks we have collected on beaches, in woods, from high sandstone precipices or red rock canyons deep.  they are history and they are new.  both true.

when we need a break, a few moments to lose ourselves, we will either hike or go to one of our local favorite antique shops.  things of worry will gently fall off as we walk through woods or aisles of things-that-remind-us of other times, memories, or maybe inspire us with a beckon to be brought home.

we choose carefully and deliberately.  for ourselves and for the gifts we get others.  it’s never the fancy stuff, but it’s the stuff that stops us, draws our eye, beckons to be purchased and re-treasured.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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oy! [two artists tuesday]

OY copy

i recently read these words in a written interview:  “i believe in a benevolent universe.”  i wrote it down.  “a benevolent universe” is a good mantra.  i have never met the person who wrote this, but i already like her.

i believe in joy.  finding joy.  leading with joy.  the word JOY has a prominent home in our kitchen.  above our big old sink, over the backyard window, sitting on top of the wooden window cornice sit the metal letters J-O-Y.  lately, the J is refusing to stay standing.  we’ll walk into the kitchen and the word OY is there.  OY has a totally different connotation than JOY, but i must say that -right now- OY! also fits.

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OY definition

having grown up on long island this is not an unfamiliar phrase to me.  i have used “OY!” a time or two or maybe a few dozen more.  right now, though, i ponder why OY keeps appearing in our kitchen.   is it a message?  is it empathic support from afar?

each time i fix OY back to JOY i laugh aloud.  and i wonder when OY will reappear.  what does it all mean?  does it mean anything at all?  what message do we want in our kitchen on the top of the cornice over the window gracing the sink?  it’s like a 70s mood ring, the thermotropic liquid crystals, moving with temperature change causing color change, flip-flopping within your own little world.  what is causing our J to fall?

is it JOY or OY?  hm.  either way, no matter what we are experiencing at the moment, i do trust that yes, ultimately, it is a benevolent universe.

read DAVID’S thoughts about OY! this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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feeling it. life. [two artists tuesday]

MelangeWk1 copy 2

in the beginning…..

i just re-read the first week of our MELANGE, a calendar-year ago now.  words about our little boy CHICKEN MARSALA, words spoken by my sweet momma, words about our community, words about david’s studio and my studio, two artists living together, and our own work-in-the-world.  i can feel it.  that first week.

we come to this place.  one year later.  i kind of want to go back and re-read each day.  study the images we chose, browse the products we created, watch the arc of changes in design through the year, notice the growth, the things we added, the things we let fall off.  somewhere around week 3 i wondered if i would have enough to say, enough words that would be interesting or, at-the-very-least, palatable, inviting for others to read.

i write from my heart, most of it experiential…moments i have netted and captured, written down to hold onto the feeling-of-it.  i wondered if that might be too….much…for some.  in the middle of living life, i want to remember some of the tiniest morsels of time, layered in the sedimentary layers, bits of shining mica in the middle of ordinary….mica that is celebration, that is eye-opening, that is excruciatingly simple bliss,  that is painful, that is full of maturing, that is on-the-edge-of-your-seat-nerve-wracking, that is full of hopes and dreams and regrets…all mica indeed.

“live life, my sweet potato,” my sweet momma said to me.  yes, momma.  this sweet potato is feeling it.

live life sweet potato mug

live life sweet potato pillow

anniversary haiku copy

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TWO ARTISTS DESIGNS ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 


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back to back. [two artists tuesday]

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dogdog and babycat – back to back

in the middle of the night when i wake up – which happens every night thanks to the keeps-on-giving gift of menopause – i can hear them.

dogdog is gently breathing, sometimes punctuated by his paws running in a dream where he is doing laps around our pond, excitedly barking.  his even breaths, a dog in mostly-quiet slumber, reassure me, and my heart and i listen as he peacefully sleeps.

the peaceful-sleep bar is different for babycat.  he is not a stealth-sleeper.  well, actually nothing that babycat does is stealthy.   he’s not that kind of cat.  instead, his sleep on the end of the bed (he picks the side and you definitely know early-in-the-night if you have drawn the short straw) is noisy, fraught with snoring.  i’ve never heard a cat snore as loudly as he does; it is absolutely necessary to nudge him a little so that he steps it down a tad bit.  even with the snoring and the give-him-an-inch-he’ll-take-a-mile-bed-hogging, babycat’s presence sleeping on the bed is reassuring and i lay awake in wonder at how peaceful he seems, how content.

these two are buddies.  i was concerned at the beginning, having never had both a dog and cat simultaneously.  i needn’t have worried though.  they will lay napping on the raft back to back, with their people nearby.  perhaps at those times it is the two of them tuning in and listening – to our voices, our laughter, the rhythm of our day.  and perhaps it is those times that they are reassured.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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ice pops. [two artists tuesday]

ice pops copy.PNG

i know it comes as no surprise to you that we watch the national geographic show ‘life below zero’.  we’ve talked about it before and have even quoted snippets of wisdom from some of the show’s regulars.

in the next day or so it will drop to a “feels like” temperature of -52.  that’s negative fifty-two.  the “actual” temperatures won’t even reach the single digit negative numbers.  now, that’s cold!  and yet, each time the temperature is posted on the screen when we watch ‘life below zero’ it is usually some negative number (which doesn’t include the wind chill.)  then, whichever arctic resident they are following will proceed to go miles to hunt or gather or fish, walking or driving snow machines in bitter winds, dragging behind them sleds upon which they will place their findings.  i think we watch it because it is so far from our own lives.  we love the vistas and can’t really imagine the life.

the whole town was closed today; the school system, the colleges, the city offices.  and we haven’t even gotten to the life-below-zero temperatures yet.  at lunchtime we took a walk and the snow was amazing.  it was quiet and the lakefront was full of ice.  our sedum plants looked like the lemonade ice pops i used to make The Girl and The Boy with the tupperware do-it-yourself-ice-pop-set i’m saving for the possibility of grandchildren.  the snow is everywhere; there are enormous baby-sled piles on the sides of the roads.  icicles abound.  it’s beautiful.  it’s a vision of real old-fashioned winter, a calendar entry on one of those the-year-in-wisconsin calendars, postcard images of this time of hibernation.

and so, in deference to the scope of mother nature’s ability to stop us in our tracks, we plan to limit our outdoor exposure the next few days.  we look outside at all the snow that has already fallen and, expecting more, make sure we have enough basics in the fridge and the cupboards to last, in case we can’t get out.  our little scion rocks, but unplowed roads and extreme cold are not necessarily its gig.

maybe we’ll take a little time and watch some more ‘life below zero’.  by sheer comparison, we’ll realize how easy we have it.  oh! and hey, maybe we’ll make some ice pops.  or not.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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pick a tissue box. [two artists tuesday]

tissue box copy

i am difficult in the facial tissue aisle.

it seriously makes me cringe looking at the little square boxes of tissues (the size that will appropriately fit in our bathroom.)  most of them, in my humble opinion, are ugly.  i wonder who designs these boxes and i wonder why anyone purchases them who doesn’t have one of those crocheted-tissue-box-covers that you could purchase at any church bazaar in the 90s.  (we don’t have one of those.)  the color choices, the patterns (or i should say the lack thereof) are really disconcerting to me.  someone is clearly getting paid to design them and they are dull and uninspired.  target used to have a solid-color-series of tissue boxes; maybe they still do somewhere, but it isn’t at our target location.  choosing a solid color is much better than a pale-skin-tone-dot-pattern-on-cool-light-beige box.  i mean, really?  i suppose if you want your tissue box to blend in with the environment that would overly-work, but what if you want your tissue box to be a statement piece?  or at least be attractive?

so by now you are rolling your eyes at this, a clear first-world-problem-meaningless-rant.  and i understand that.  but my question remains…a question i quite often wonder about with many different products…who designs this stuff?

we were at festival recently (one of our grocery stores) and stumbled across this tissue box.  we purchased this one.  although the band of mustard gold at the bottom edge with advertising seems unnecessary, the font is mostly acceptable, the colors are not simply muted non-shades.  and the saying is a good, albeit trite, every-time-you-are-in-the-bathroom reminder, “the best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen and the memories you’ve made along the way.” 

i don’t suppose everyone ponders tissue boxes.  but two artists living in the same household pretty much ponder everything that will sit out in view.  although i have to admit, david is not as zealously-picky about tissue boxes as i am.   maybe, just maybe, i should have been a tissue-box-designer.  or maybe i was one in a former life.  either way, it makes me a critical-kleenex-consumer.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the storage unit. [two artists tuesday]

storage unit copy

on my nightstand next to the bed are two frames.  both written in little-kid-writing, they are notes i saved from long ago.  one is from My Girl and it reads, “goodnight mom” surrounded by hearts.  the other is from My Boy and it has two words on it, “craig” (with a backwards g) and “mom” and has hearts filling up the rest of the notepaper.  each night i see these as i wish them both, from far away, goodnight, sweet dreams, restful sleep.

i come by this threadiness honestly.

we were in florida visiting; two of the days we were there, despite bright sunlight and temperatures in the 80s, we spent in a storage unit.  what was left of my parents’ belongings was packed in boxes, stacked in a unit, waiting for us to put our eyes on all of it and decide what to do with each of these things.  my mom’s impulse was to keep things, especially paper.  photographs and slides aside, there were files and files – some of which we will wade through later.  there were boxes of mugs and baskets and trinkets, a kaleidoscope of the pieces of life, carefully packed by my sister and brother-in-law during a time of sadness, a time that was not ripe with paring down or organizing, a time that is difficult for anyone who has packed up a house. larger items were already distributed – furniture given away or passed down to the next generation.  but these boxes….

i was quite sure that, even if i hadn’t seen anything in any of the boxes, i had all i needed….my treasures of my sweet momma and my poppo are tucked in close to my heart and i have physical memories of them around me in our home.  they are not the high-priced treasures you might think people would save or claim.  instead, they are small, meaningful, invaluable and thready things that speak to me.  old calendars of my mom’s, my dad’s small rickety wooden boxes from his workbench, glasses from which my dad sipped his scotch, a flannel shirt my mom wore that matched my dad’s, a board with hooks that is wood-burned with the word “keys” and hung in our growing-up house for as long as i can remember…

spending time in the storage unit, surrounded by memories and the fading scent of my mom’s perfume and their house, i was heartened to see that i actually could go through and pare down.  it gives me hope about our own basement.  the real things of our past – sweet treasured memories – are not things.  everyone gets meaning from and sees value in different stuff.  two days in the storage unit reminded me again of that.

this time i didn’t cry.  i laughed with my momma, who, no doubt, was rolling her eyes in heaven over the fact that she had saved sooo many pieces of paper…paid bills, old house contracts, warranties from appliances long gone, car receipts from several cars ago.  a collection of life gone by, i know she smiled when every now and then we stumbled onto something i loved to touch….i kept the little scrap of paper that fluttered to the floor that my mom had written my full birth name on…i kept a couple calendars with my poppo’s handwriting…i kept a tiny folder of maps my mom collected in her curiosity about the changing world…i kept my dad’s brown suede cap, the one i bought him a million years ago…i kept a manila folder of letters i had written to them over the years – that my momma saved…these pieces of evidence of who they were, heirlooms of what was most important to them.

i vowed, once again, to go through, give away, sell the things in our own home that are not necessary.  but those bins in the basement labeled “kirsten” and “craig”?  those will stay.  i will delight in going through the artwork and stories and notes and school projects from their childhood and growing up.  and some day, maybe they too will see how infinitely important each of the baby steps and adult steps they have taken are to me.  and maybe some of the thready treasures i have left behind will give them pause and, maybe, they will save a scrap or two, a calendar, a notebook of unpublished songs, photographs, something that reminds them of what was most important to me – the thready things that are memories of love, of family, of them.

it wasn’t sunny or 82 degrees inside the storage unit.  but it was warm in a whole other way.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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