reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the feathers as clues. [two artists tuesday]

perspective copy

i didn’t mean to take this picture.  somehow my phone camera snapped it and i was unaware.  later, when i looked at my photo stream of the day i was surprised to see this.  it took a few minutes to figure out what the picture was of, the way you feel when you look at an ink-blot picture, your eyes focusing on the dark, the light, the foreground, the background, searching-searching for an image to emerge.

i always had trouble with those.  i must have been concentrating too hard to find something there.  i suppose relaxing into it would have produced an image sooner.

the feathers gave it away.  the feathers made it recognizable.  a piece of familiar, the feathers gave it perspective.  the dream-catcher hangs on the switch of the lamp on our kitchen table so it wasn’t as hard as the inkblots after all.

i wonder how many times i have not recognized the ‘real’ image.  how many times i have given little attention to the everyday, glossing over it.  how many times i have passed by light, my eyes focusing on the dark, my attention to the background instead of the inkblot or vice versa, trying too hard to find ‘it’.  passing by the familiar, looking to the distance.  or staring at the familiar with no eye to the distance, the horizon out-there attention-less.  what might i have missed?  what more might i have seen?

i am finding comfort in the familiar right now.  i am recognizing more-and-more that which is basic is that which is familiar is that which is comforting.  like chicken soup and pasta sauce, i find basic and simple consoling, the familiar i see heartening.

might we have different eyes post-this-crisis?  might we all hold simple closer?  might we ford the great-chasms-of-divide in this country with horizontal -not vertical- ladders of understanding like the ladders that traverse deep crevasses in high mountain climbs?  might we be more willing to see economic, educational, opportunity differences?  might we truly address them?  might we see the landscape-that-has-always-been-there differently?  might we realize that which is comforting, familiar to us is the inkblot that so many cannot even begin to see, that so many cannot even imagine?  might we believe that every one is worthy?  might we see universal needs, universal struggles in a more united, focused-energies way?  might we come together, support different perspectives, talk about what is essential, strive for something different?

our universe camera is snapping pictures left and right of this pandemic crisis.  what will we see when we look through the photo stream?  what we will recognize about ourselves, this country?  will we embrace an image of care, of concern, of responsibility for each other, of unity, of equality?  or will we remain blind to the obvious differences we experience as this divisible ‘indivisible one-nation-under-God’ and will the dark inkblot prevail over the light?  we can look for the feathers as clues.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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these old woods. [two artists tuesday]

stump copy

this is an old woods.  while we still can hike in it, we are driving -without stopping- to the woods and, generally without seeing anyone else, taking a hike.  it is grounding to be in a woods that is old, a woods that is natural.

around us many trees have fallen.  they lay quietly on the ground, nurselogs to others, the white rot fungi that is sharing their space an invitation to symbiosis.

we spend time looking up at the very-mature-trees standing, reaching to the sky, parallel to each other, taking in the sun.  they too share their space.  they have endured storm and wind, snow and torrential rain; they have endured times of thirst and times of excessive heat.  they are still enduring.

i suspect most of these trees are much older than us.  their rings of life could tell stories of lack, stories of abundance, stories of challenge and stories of ease.  yet, they quietly stand, swaying in the wind like cattails along the curves of a slow river.  not one boasts of its steadfastness; not one complains of its fall.  the wisdom of the ages seemingly is in the long story.  not in the angrily staccato-ed punctuation of a self-indulgent-short-story.

we step into the forest and the community of trees seems to sigh, pleased to see us again.  it is not the prettiest of woods.  but it is deeply, silently reassuring.  life goes on.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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a house remembers. [two artists tuesday]

a house

there is a screen door that i am lusting over.  it sits outside an antique shoppe, subject to the rain and snow, sun and wind.  one of these days we will take big red over there and purchase it; the test is that i am still thinking about it.  we have no idea where we will put it.  but there is something about it; it has a story and that story will always be a mystery to us.  giving that door a home again will add to its journey, its history.

last night i had a dream.  it was, as dreams are, fraught with inconsistencies and unlikelinesses, but i remember one thing about it in particular.  in my dream, david handed me a check he had received from someone.  someone, presumably the person who wrote the check, had scratched out the address and, all along the top of the check, had written in a different address:  my growing-up-on-long-island address.  i was delightedly startled and pressed david to tell me about the person who clearly now lived in this cherished house, but, in the way that dreams make both little sense and all the sense in the world, he was unable to give me any more information.  what i know is that it left me with a reassurance of the feeling from that house.  it was a reminder of a time gone by, a time woven deeply into who i am and, for that house, the fabric of about two decades of our family.

houses remember.  and you can feel it.  the moment i walked into our house i knew.  this was the place i wanted to live; this was the place i wanted to have the next part of my life.  this house had all good things to offer; i wanted to sustain its story.   i suspect it would have been easier to have purchased a brand new home way back then, something pristine and customized to our needs.  something that had a sparkling new kitchen or an attached garage, central air conditioning or an open floor plan.

but this house said, “wait.  don’t go.  give me a chance.  i can offer you a lifetime of sturdy foundation.  i can tell you i have been there in the light and in the dark times.  i can be a safe place for you.  i can hold you and celebrate you and listen to the laughter of your children.  you can walk on my old wood floors and keep food in my old pantry.  you can have dogs and cats and they can run circles through my rooms and children can push or ride plastic wheeled toys round and round hall-kitchen-dining room-living room.  you can use my rooms as you need.  a nursery with a singing-to-sleep-rocking-chair can later be a studio with a big piano; i can rejoice in listening.  you can sit in my south-facing living room and delight in the sun streaming in the windows.  i know it will need a little tuck-pointing down the road, but you can burn all the torn-off-the-packages-christmas-wrappings in the old fireplace. you can paint and redecorate and remodel as you wish for it won’t change how i feel.  i can be your house.  and i, even someday when you have moved on to somewhere else, will always remember you.”

we really need to go get that old screen door and add it to the story of our house.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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moonline. [two artists tuesday]

moon for wix

it beckons.  the moon, no matter, will seek you out.  it has no agenda but to light your way.  it has no preconceived notion, no prejudice.  it is out there for all, for anyone who looks up.  it offers stability to this good earth’s axis, regularity to the tide, illumination to the inky sky.

the moon’s romantic presence is the stuff of wishes and the pronouncement of love all the way to it and back.  its moonline will find you, wherever you roam.  always, always, it appears to light a path directly to you.  each of us must be equally as important, then, for the moon shines for and to each of us.  a gleaming line, luminous, brilliantly reaching to us.  reminding us that no matter, on this big beautiful earth, we are all under the same dark sky, the same unlimited galaxy of stars, the same moon.  we are closer to each other than we think and we all have even – at very least – these few things in common.  how reassuring to know that we all, despite where we are, stand on different ground but gaze at the very same moon.

were the divine-in-all-the-universe to have a living room and be gazing out the window, i suspect the divine-in-all-the-universe would say, “i see the full moon out my window and in it, you.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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doorknobs and doors. [two artists tuesday]

doorknobs

it doesn’t matter that they aren’t now attached to doors.  a display of doorknobs, all lined up at an antique shoppe, beg you to wonder what doors they opened.  what old house was it that had all its doorknobs changed?  are the doors still there?  these knobs removed; knobs that likely welcomed sticky toddler fingers, trembling arthritic hands, dutifully, solidly a part of history.  what new hardware has replaced these knobs that had countless hands turning, opening, passing through?

the joy of having an old house is just that – the history of what has gone before you.  how many times was this closet door opened?  how many people passed through the front door?  how many times did someone come home and walk in, close the back door and sigh?

we cannot think of doorknobs without thinking of doors.  we have 22 doors in our old house, a few less than when we bought it, and not counting cabinetry.  we have extra doors in the basement.  beautiful solid six panel doors, some sporting their knobs, some knob-naked.

i think about the rooms of this home that they all have led to, these doors, the conversations that took place in those rooms.  the babies, the plans, the family elders.  the hugs and cherished moments, the arguments, the worry, the celebrations, each room a time capsule of lives lived in this very place.  doors in, doors out.  how much did a hand hesitate to open or close the door?

the metaphor is obvious – doorknobs and doors.  the old and wise adage – “when one door closes, another opens.”  the words sometimes seem like hollow reassurance.  and i look up the adage and realize that there is more to this and is quoted by alexander graham bell, “when one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

the patina of the knobs shows wear.  hands, hands, grasping and turning, opening.  each door an invitation to the next moment, whatever that moment might be.  choosing a door, choosing to walk in.  standing.  waiting.  hesitating.  we often wonder about the doors.  maybe paralyzed with indecision, with grief, with confusion, we often pine after a door.  we are often blind.

those doorknobs.  if only they could speak.  the stories they could tell, the lessons we could learn.

read DAVID’S THOUGHTS this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the old green chest. [two artists tuesday]

toolchest

the old planters peanuts can sits on top of our dresser.  it is a decor mismatch, so it is not there for its color or what it offers as an artistic statement.  it is there because it was my sweet poppo’s.  he kept it in the third drawer down of his dresser.  in it he would place cash, his money clip, odds and ends from his pockets.  “look in the peanut can,” he’d say, if you needed a couple dollars.  it was one of the treasures i kept from their house, the peanut can that had made its way from long island to various houses in florida.  it brings my dad close and every time i look at it sitting atop our dresser, i feel like we had a little conversation, my daddy and i.

you already know we have a penchant for boxes.  not the cardboard kind,  but most definitely the wooden kind and the metal kind.  old wooden boxes, seemingly value-less, of greater value to me than anyone, things my dad used in the garage, things in which my sweet momma kept her paper clips. each a bitty visit from them.  we have old apple crates, old brewery lidded boxes, boxes with slide lids, boxes with hinged covers and hooks to secure them, tiny boxes and big boxes.  and old vintage suitcases.  all special boxes – places to keep the most precious and the most visually-mundane-but-emotion-permeated items.  a place for rocks or stones we couldn’t place-label anymore, a place for my mom’s wooden clothespins, a place for ticket stubs or notes or feathers or cards, a place for colored pencils, ink pens and nibs, rubber bands, a place for our nespresso pods.  it’s not likely we need any more boxes, wooden or metal.

but there it was.  the somewhat battered green metal carpenter’s chest.  its personality taunted us from the floor of the antique shoppe we were trolling with jen and brad.  i went back twice to look at it, to touch it.  we noted that jen and i touch things when we see them; brad and david stand back and admire them.  different processes.  venus.  mars.  “don’t you have to touchhhh it,” we ask?  but i digress.  anyway, we, david and i, are not big helpers-of-the-retail-world, rarely shopping for new ‘stuff’.  but this chest?  it was different.  it was old.  and it was green.

we walked away without purchasing it.

but i still think about it.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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a morsel among many. [d.r. thursday]

PeaceOnEarth

i distinctly remember designing this.  for over a year i spent tons of time designing products:  pillows, tote bags, cellphone covers, prints, beach towels, cutting boards, mugs, travel cups, coasters, cards, shower curtains, side tables, leggings.  i would study david’s paintings and extract morsels and execute the process – with great joy – of the choosing of the product lines i wished to represent and the designing of those.  it was our intention to sell these pieces.  i would have absolutely loved to fill a brick and mortar store with these pillows and mugs and journals and tote bags, but the sheer outlay for merchandise and stock and the overhead for a physical store made that impossible.  but online – at an online storefront called society6.com, which would manufacture the pieces as they were ordered – it was possible.  it was a good premise.   so we opened five storefronts online (listed below in case you want to stop by with a cup of coffee) to represent each day of our studio melange postings.

only it didn’t really work.

hundreds, literally hundreds, of designs and thousands of products later, we decided it was time to stop putting the hours of effort into these designs.  we had some sales and it is truly a delight to see someone carrying a tote bag i designed or a laptop cover or to hear from someone who is enjoying their purchase.  the sales trickle in still, $4 here, $2.10 there.  the mark-up, as you would expect, lists mightily to the side of the host company, but we dreamed of great volume – so many pillows that earning a few dollars for each-one-of-many would be a big help to our working budget.

only it didn’t really work.

every now and then i visit these sites and am astounded at how actually cool the products are.  the designs aren’t so bad either, if i do say so myself.  (tee-hee)  there are some really beautiful pieces out there, like this PEACE. EARTH. PEACE ON EARTH. morsel.  simple and profound.  timely.  if you click here, you can see it as a pillow.  if you scroll way down on that linked page, you can see all the other products that we designed and made available with this image.  it was within the painting INSTRUMENT OF PEACE that i found this morsel.

even though it didn’t really work, i suppose it worked.  because i can’t begin to tell you how much i learned.  maybe that’s the point.  maybe that’s always the point.

InstrumentofPeace copy

for more morsels of david’s paintings, click here:

www.society6.com/davidrobinson

for various designs of mine, click here:

www.society6.com/kerrisherwood

for products with photographs or graphic designs or inspiring messages, click here:

www.society6.com/twoartists

for products with our beloved cartoon chicken marsala, click here:

www.society6.com/chickenmarsala

for products that make you laugh, images of our flawed cartoon, click here:

www.society6.com/flawedcartoon

and for david’s online gallery of paintings, click here:

Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 4.09.09 PM

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

their palettes website box

INSTRUMENT OF PEACE/PEACE.ON.EARTH © 2015 david robinson


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reminders. [two artists tuesday]

heart leaf

i stopped and went back.  i had to take this picture.  reminders are everywhere and right now, although, truly, as always,  i knew i wanted to capture as many as possible.

it feels as if we are surrounded by whirling hypocrisy.  those people who proclaim one thing and treat people in an extraordinarily different way.  i’ve been stunned into i-don’t-even-know-what-to-say-silence more than once lately.  people who demand respect but don’t give it, people who are unnecessarily controlling, people who go behind your back, people who list toward cruelty, people who declare appreciation but tear down, people who hide behind glossy words.  what is going on?  narcissism seems to be alive and well as we suffer the effects of those-who-believe-they-are-on-pedestals, pedestals that seem to exist on every step of the ladder.  it’s shocking and more than a little disconcerting.  we each have first-hand in-our-own-life experience.  what a disappointment.  we are humans capable of so much more.

and so, the reminders are incredibly welcome.  the heart leaves or rocks, the sun’s rays glowing through clouds in the sky, the presence of a cardinal or two blue jays crossing our path in the woods.  a text message or call out of the blue, beautiful generous raw-matte-finish words spoken to you.  all reminders.  a kindness extended by a stranger, an eye-contact smile.  the big initiatives, the little gestures.  not picking up the tug-of-war rope.  reaching out to offer the olive branch.  life-giving.  practicing.  we are truly capable of so much.  we need be reminded.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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improving. a little every day. [two artists tuesday]

wine

but the real question is – do WE improve with age?

yes, lush red wine, dark chocolate, bold roast black coffee – all have risen on my list of chosens.  i remember the days of sugar and cream in coffee.  i remember the creamy milk chocolate days.  and i remember the 1980s and 1990s days of ‘white zin’, the go-to wine of that age and time, a staple of the culture.  but those days are past and we have moved on to rich red blends or old vine zins, 85% dark chocolate with no milkfats, and the boldest of the bold coffees with no sweetener or added dairy/non-dairy product.  all improved (in my opinion) with my age.

me…on the other hand…i’m not so sure.

i read a brief article which proposed that your thoughts are less important than your feelings.  it reminded the reader that, in light of everyone’s hard-to-speak-of mortality,  there is no time more important, nothing more important than feeling the present moment.

how often do we get caught up in the swirling mind games of reviewing all the past?  thoughts.  how often do we find ourselves double-clutching on the future because of something that has happened ‘before’?  thoughts.  how often do we hesitate as we ponder-ponder-ponder until it’s too late?  thoughts.  how often are those thoughts – skewed – which have accumulated all through these supposed improving-with-age years – ruling our moments, nonetheless ruining our moments, the ones right-now?  stick to the topic/don’t go backwards in time and drudge up old stuff/stay in the “i-feel” not the “you-did”…any counseling master’s program notes referencing ‘conversation’ (read:  heated conversation) with a significant other.  feelings.  do we actually improve with age?  do we learn?

i’m guessing the wine cork has it right.  the moments you are sipping wine are quieter moments sitting by the fire.  or moments of laughter with friends.  or moments with a good meal.  the older we get, it seems the more value we place on those things.  we drink-in the heart of these most important times, with or without wine.  feeling.

we gain perspective.  maybe like that glass of wine in the evening.  a little every day.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the more grateful you are, the more grateful you are. [two artists tuesday]

gratitude blanks

it is easy to have a list of things we wish for.  a list of things we lack.  a list of ways we aren’t enough.  it is easy to perseverate over these things.  things that make us different from someone else, things that make us less successful, less wealthy, less chic.  it is easy to measure yourself against others.  it is easy to fall short.

in those moments, it is easy for someone outside of you to remind you of what you do have, the ways ‘it could be worse’, the ways you are rich beyond compare.  it is easy to push back against those words, against those admonishment-reminders.  it is easy to stay in the lists.  alone.  to wallow.

but in the new tide that follows the overwhelmed sobs, the tears that cleanse but don’t solve, the grief of wishing-it-were-different, there are deep breaths of renewal.  there are realizations.  there are glimpses of beauty, the seeing of kindnesses, winks of hope.

there were rocks planted along one of the trails we hike on, positive messages painted on them.  each one made us smile, made us wonder, made us look for the next.  life-giving.

gratitude is like that.  in a time swirling with negativity, personal challenges, darkness overtaking the sun, we offer these gratitude cards.  print and cut them out (PDF link below), write your thoughts, hide them somewhere as a surprise, tuck them into a nook or cranny, or give them to people who are unsuspecting, people who maybe need the spark of your expression of gratitude.

the more grateful you are, the more grateful you are.  it’s an amazing, wondrous cycle.

gratitude blanks

click here for gratitude blanks PDF

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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