Monday, September 12, 2016

Tis a Gift to be Simple

There's a blogger whom I follow with the greatest relish who's furniture work is spectacular, perfectly odd and challenging. Each piece of hers is a centerpiece, a showstopper, a room maker. I envy and respect her abilities to fathom and create such works of art, things that I could never even attempt.

          To be honest, it's been causing me a bit of an identity crisis as of late. It's a frustrating and impotent feeling; I'm not changing the campus of the furniture or design world. I'm not changing your life, your taste, or mine. I always want to inspire you, but lately I've felt so uninspired myself. This has all made me rather glum. I'm starting to become prone to dreadfully self indulgent melancholy Facebook posts (on my personal page). Tonight I was either going to sit down and ugly sob or sip good whiskey and write this blog post. So it's been chin up, whiskey down, and I'm typing away and shedding not a single tear.

         I cannot be what I'm not and at 32 I'd say the ship's far sailed on any miraculous changes in ability.  I'm not a brilliant artist, really the only thing I'm not dreadfully mediocre about is enthusiasm. I am a damn hard worker who cares right down the bottom of my paint speckled toes about furniture, and history, and this little business of mine, be it ever so humble. I will never be the Van Gogh of furniture, but perhaps I can be the Henry Ford, or the Grandma Moses.

         So while I was doing the dishes after yet another twelve hour day of furniture work and for no particular reason, the tune to Appalachian Spring popped into my head, well really just the Shaker Melody bit 'Simple Gifts'. It was written in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett and was made popular in 1944 when composer Aaron Copland incorporated it into his masterpiece Appalachian Spring. Here's a link to that excerpt I'd argue it's one of the prettiest melodies ever. I played it in high school, on the french horn, I had a solo. I was pretty mediocre at it.

And here's the original lyrics:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

Which is a long winded and round about way of introducing this sweet and simple vintage solid pine bench. It's not going to be the most important piece of furniture one of you ever owns. It's not the most important piece I will ever refinish, but it's good, and solid, reliable and handsome. You can put it at the foot of your bed, or use it as a coffee table, or put it in an entry way with your boots lined up below it. I can just about guarantee that the Queen of England will never sit on it, and Architectural Digest will never feature it. In fact if your life is anything like mine, it's more than likely your cat will noisily puke onto it at 4am. On the plus side the top's all sealed and fully washable. It's the little things. 
Also, incase you're curious- Here's a link to the website of that most brilliant furniture artist


  1. Mary A.9/12/2016

    I think your work is incredible! Your furniture reveals on Facebook always inspire me, and give me a bit of career envy. �� Keep doing what you're doing!

  2. Much as I love Turquoise Iris, you can't fill a house with her furniture, it would be just too overwhelming. What you do is completley different; your look is classic and eminently livable. I'd have one piece by Turquoise Iris to drool over and admire, but several of yours to live with and love and use to death. Don't underestimate your style. Just sayin'

  3. Kate,

    You are so charming. I. Can't. Even.

    If you write a novel, I'm buying it. How do you write so eloquently, so poised and still hilarious? Quite frankly said, you are a literary genius and I admire you greatly. Thank you for this undeserving list of compliments! I'm hoping my work can live up to your expectations ;-) Until then, I'll consider myself blessed to have a friend like you. xo

    The Turquoise Iris