reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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it’s all how you look at it. [two artists tuesday]

THIS from the ferry copy

the ice-breaking bow of our ferry made its way across “death’s door”, the strait that connects lake michigan and green bay.  the windchill below zero, you could hear the hardy vessel crunching its way through the ice.  it was other-worldy.  no one else on the ferry appeared to be as enchanted with it as we were; clearly, they were big-I islanders, unmoved by this half-hour jaunt across frigid waters to washington island.  unfamiliar vs familiar equals enthralling vs mundane.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

when i moved to wisconsin 30 years ago (kicking and screaming at the time) i stood in the pasta aisle of the grocery store – a local piggly wiggly.  there was no mueller’s pasta.  none.  the brand i had grown up with on long island, the brand i found in florida publix grocery stores…it was not here in wisconsin.  i felt instantly lost, instantly homesick.  i sensed people moving around my frozen-in-the-spot-trying-not-to-cry body; they were choosing boxes of spaghetti and penne with no problem.  for me, it was a telling moment.  it was an indicator of change, despite its seeming insignificance.  standing in that aisle i can tell you it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.  (*for an update on this incident, please see below.)

the ferry docked on the tiny island, a mere 35 square miles.  we disembarked and met our friends.  they drove us around, on snow-covered roads, through canopies of trees, past glimpses of water between the pines, their limbs bowing to the snow.  at one point they said we could go to the house if we were bored.  “no,” we answered.  how could we be bored, we wondered.  the quiet, the stillness, the solitude was compelling.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

it was quieter on the ferry ride back with fewer people.  we were just as enthralled.  the ice pieces broken by the bow skittered along the ice plate on top of the water.  lines cracked through the sheet, paths drawn by nature’s etch-a-sketch.  some large slabs of ice raised skyward.  we looked at each other and quietly let out a breath.  we couldn’t imagine how this trip across open water could ever become run-of-the-mill.  but around us were people who acted like it was piggly wiggly brand pasta and they were in the aisle racing to get to the next aisle.  it’s all how you look at it.  and where you start from.

lake ice copy

*(the rest of the story) i called my sweet momma when i returned home from ‘the pig’ as they say.  she answered and i instantly recounted my no-mueller’s-pasta story, i’m quite sure teary in the telling, yearning for the home we had left.   four days later the UPS truck pulled up at the end of the driveway and the driver lugged a very large box to the front door.  in it i found every shape and size of pasta available…all made by mueller’s.  moms are wise beyond words sometimes.  by the time i finished using the boxes-in-the-box, the unfamiliar had begun to be familiar.  the crisis (yes, fundamentally not a physical crisis, but definitely an emotional one) was over.

zigzag through ice website box

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toward it. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snowshoes with frame copy

“the weakest link,” i said, referring to myself as we spoke about the possibility of going snowshoeing.  i had never snowshoed before, but i was excited to try it.  we were planning on renting some snowshoes at a nature center and then snowshoeing through the woods.  but, in the typical manner of someone who has never tried something before, i was a little nervous about keeping up.  i’ve skied before – both downhill and cross-country – and i know it takes some concentrated ability to do it even partially well.  hence, the nerves about snowshoeing.  (do i need to take lessons?  is there a trick to this?  are there things i need to know about balance and leaning in and switching leads and and and?)

our best friends and david told me it was “like walking”.  i seriously doubted that.  i just knew that i would somehow be trailing behind, poles and snowshoes stuck in drifts, head over heels in the snow (literally).

but it didn’t turn out that way.  i worked at having a you-don’t-have-to-be-instantly-good-at-this-relax-kerri attitude all the way there.  i worried all the way there.  did i have the right boots on?  should i have worn a different jacket?  what kind of gloves would be best?  i complicated something that is actually not complicated.  but, even in the middle of my snowshoe-agonizing, i kept walking toward it.

and, ohmygosh, it was fabulous.  when i wrote to The Girl afterward, she referred to it as “your new fave winter activity”.   it is totally ranking up there, high on the list.  what better way to hike a few miles through snowy woods?  the trails were quiet, save for the punctuation of our laughter and the stops where we had lengthy conversations and brad built a snowman.  it was a brilliant day.

so many times we hesitate…we worry…we think we should already know how to do something or be instantly good at it…we resist trying something new….

i just want to say this:  walk toward it.  it could be an experience filled with quiet and laughter,  stretching of muscles intellectual or physical, simple beauty and fresh air in your lungs literal or figurative, and an i-can-do-this illumination.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

snowshoeing website box copy

snowshoes ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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watershed. [k.s. friday]

WATERSHED SONG BOX copy.jpg

watershed definition

i can feel it.  it’s not something i can put words to.  it’s mysterious and undefinable.  but it’s coming.  there is a turning point.  right around the corner.

i walk into this new year and there’s something different…there is an underlying vibration i can feel – viscerally – a pulse, a quivering – that is present.

when it was time to pick a piece of my music for this week’s studio melange, i was drawn to this one….full of angst and wonder and sedimentary layers and mica and minor…..full of questions.

2019.  it has been nine years since i recorded a full-length album of any sort and seventeen years since a full-length vocal.  is it time?  to record?  to let it go?

i can feel it.  it’s not something i can put words to.  it’s mysterious and undefinable.  but it’s coming.  there is a turning point.  right around the corner.

a watershed.

download AS IT IS on iTUNES or on CDBaby.com

read DAVID’S thoughts on WATERSHED

megaphones website box

WATERSHED from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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trees and angels. [merely a thought monday]

merely words framed copy

“how was your week?” jonathan asked.  we rolled our eyes.  he was unpacking his bass while i uncovered the piano and d adjusted the mic stands.  he said, “tell me about it.  you guys always have great stories!”  eh.  great stories.  more like mini soap operas, you might think schadenfreude applies here (where he might derive some pleasure from our angst) but on the total other side of the spectrum, we have agreed that jonathan is an angel.  i wonder if, as he drives away in his subaru outback, he turns the corner and POOF! he disappears.

“it’s ok,” he says.  “trees must split their bark to grow.  there is pain.”

i can’t remember ever truly thinking about this.  but…i immediately pictured a beautiful sapling, our own “breck”.  a baby aspen we brought back from colorado, we have been nurturing it for over a year now, watching it carefully -and proudly, like parents- through the seasons.  the smooth bark on its adolescent trunk glows in the sunlight and we worry as we see this summer take its toll on the young tree’s leaves.  we notice little scions near its base, our aspen sending out roots to perpetuate itself.

i think of all the walks in the woods, the trails in the forest, the old trees in our yard and neighborhood and i can picture the rough bark, the puzzle pieces up and down the trunk of each tree.  somewhere along time, these trees, too, had smooth skins.  and then, in growing, the cambium layer’s cells, just under the bark, divided and grew, adding girth to the tree’s diameter in the process.  the outer bark continued to protect this inner layer of growth.  the job of that outer bark is forefront, keeping the inner tree healthy, as it experiences pain from the environment.  and the tree grows.

the bark.  the cambium.  the heart of growth.  and angels.

thank you for the perspective-arranging, jonathan.  again.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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where’s chicken?

 


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in transition. [k.s. friday]

in transition song box.jpg

in pondering what to write about this piece,  i took out the jacket for the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART.  my first full-length album, released in 1995, an hour of my original solo piano compositions, i dedicated it to my big brother wayne who i had lost a few years prior, but whose presence i could feel as i worked on this project.

in the jacket notes, next to this piece IN TRANSITION, i wrote “many changes for many around me.  changes give us time and impetus to sort through (and feel) the stuff of our lives – the transitional time.”  that would explain the minor, a key that invokes going inside.

i guess i will have to defer back to that.  it’s no different now than it was then.  there are still “many changes for many around me”.  i would have thought that things would feather out on the change seesaw, maybe leveling out a bit.  but now, 23 years later from those moments of recording remotely on stage in an auditorium at northwestern university, i see that life continues to be fluid, change continues to happen, we still have to sort and feel and go with the flow, we are still learning, growing, changing, we are ever on that seesaw.  still in transition.

 

purchase the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART or download IN TRANSITION track 8 on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

K.S. FRIDAY – ON OUR SITE

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visit our page kerrianddavid on facebook 🙂

IN TRANSITION from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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the 21st century. [two artists tuesday]

WelcomeTo21stCentury copy

side B of the canvas

along with the portable record player we take out on the deck, we have the you-remember-the-case-with-the-handle box of 45’s.  with titles like sugar sugar and IOU and julie do you love me and….the side A of these records are the likely hits.  but if you turn it over and play side B you can often be surprised by a song you like even more than the touted “side A” song.

when david brought up this canvas to photograph the painting on the front side, i was reminded of what we had seen when 20 so generously gave d a slew of his dad’s canvases.  on the side B, his artist dad (richard “duke” kruse) had written, “welcome to the 21st century” on the back of the canvas he had so meticulously stretched.  we laughed when we first saw it, but it remains a mystery as to why he wrote it; we can only guess…maybe he was bemoaning the loss of something of the 20th century; maybe he was truly welcoming the next.  either way, we get it.  we are both 20th century artists.

as a painter, david uses actual brushes to apply actual paint to actual canvas, a process that doesn’t necessarily need explanation, but, in the 21st century art world, isn’t necessarily always the trend.  with computer design and sketchpads -aka graphics tablets- the feel of bristles can become foreign to a contemporary artist.  what about the smell of the paint?  the light from the window on the canvas?  the spatter of acrylic matte medium on your clothes? the wooden brush handle in your hand?

as a composer, i use paper and pencils and erasers and a piano.  i have a couple of keyboards that have traveled all over with me, but the piano that takes up an entire room in our house is my tool of choice.  it is stunning how much time it took me to write a full score way back in college compared to the ease of scoring on the computer.  if i made a mistake on the score, i had to -with my pencil and then calligraphy pen- redo the whole page.  then i had to write out all the parts individually.  the 21st century has advanced the ability to have a computer generate all the individual parts off one score that is online.  pretty amazing and time-saving stuff.  not to mention the “playing” factor.  the computer program will “play” the part you write; you don’t have to.  but what about all the pencil eraser dust that falls on the keys of the piano?  what about the scraps of paper spread out all over the top?  what about the feel of the action below your hands, the response, the whooshing sound of the pedal?

acoustic vs plugged-in, analog vs digital.  kind of old-fashioned.  that’s probably why i like to sit in one of the rocking chairs in david’s studio and just watch.  and why he will come into my studio and just listen.  we don’t need a lot of fancy stuff.  he just wants to hang his paintings and i just want to sit at a piano on a stage with a single mic.  pretty 20th century.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

EarthINteruppted7 copy

the new side A:  earth interrupted VII (36″x48″)

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

welcome to the 21st century/earth interrupted vii ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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two artists tuesday #3

CHILDRENarethebestwithframe jpeg copymay 15, 1990.  the day my life took an unchangeable turn.  the girl was born.  i became a mother.  nothing would ever be the same.  and i am beyond infinitely grateful.  love became more than a noun and a verb – it became a person in my arms.  every fibre of me was in love with this little wonder.  i still am.

nothing can really prepare you for this feeling that is undeniably the most intense thing i have ever felt.  i had my first taste of this when my niece wendy was born…the first of my niece-nephew-niece trio.  i was young then – just eleven (sorry, ben…that really dates you ;)) i fell in love with each of them and, to this day, i’m quite sure they have no idea how much they are loved.  but motherhood was different.  it took my heart to a different plane entirely.  i wondered how it would be -how i could love any more- when i was expecting my second child.  when the boy was born i felt as if i had grown a whole second heart, as bottomless as the first one.

i am so very fortunate to be the mother of these two amazing people-in-this-world.  my daughter ‘the girl’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  my son ‘the boy’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  i have been moved by their presence in the world.  i have learned in countless ways.  i have struggled with the balance of  wanting-them-near and having-them-far-away.  i know that there is not anything else i have done that is more important.  they are the first thoughts in my mind in the morningtime and the last at night.  i have been changed.  i will never be the same.

this past week, like too many times in recent years, has cut to the core of my heart.  i have felt overwhelming empathy for mothers (and, of course, fathers) who have lost their child to violence.  i am not protected so much that i believe the events of the past week are the only children being lost to violence.  i am no less appalled by the loss of a child to famine or war or domestic brutality.  i just can’t imagine it.  the raw brokenness-of-heart is unfathomable for me.

our children, like anything else that really counts in life, do not come with a manual in which you can look up ‘how’.  we can read and study and research and google, but every situation is different and caring for and raising children is – and, by sheer importance, absolutely SHOULD be – the toughest thing you have ever done.  and, if you have chosen it,  the most momentous. it counts.  it is the shepherding of life.  it is life begetting life.  children are the breath of the (what-kind-of-world-do-we-want?) world that continues. not just for their parents.  but for all of us.  because it doesn’t just take a village; it takes a world to raise a child, to raise children.  they ARE the best thing.

CHILDREN ARE THE BEST THING – MERCHANDISE

TwoArtists ChildrenAre MUG copy                TwoArtists ChildrenAre FRAMED PRINT copy

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

read DAVID’S thoughts about this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 children are the best thing ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson