Archive for April 6th, 2012

returnI could not let Good Friday go by without an appreciation for a piece of art I have hanging the living room of this old house in New Hampshire.  It is a large framed print by British/German artist Herbert Gustav Schmalz from 1903 called The Return From Calvary.

The image is epic in scale as it depicts the family of Jesus of Nazareth following his crucifixion, an event Christians mark on this day.

I love this work and fell in love with it the first time I saw it as it hung in my good friend Lynda’s grandmother’s home.  Years later, Lynda asked me if I would like to borrow the piece to hang in my home – kind of like when museums lend parts of their collections to other museums for special exhibits.  I took her up on that offer right away.

Now, several years later, I am pleased to say I still have the print and it hangs in a prominent place in my home.  I look at it every day and not only marvel at the image itself (I find new details often), but what it represents.

The artistic, historical and religious meanings aside, the print also represents what has become a treasured tradition with Lynda – our friendly exchange program of art and antiques.  Since we first exchanged this print, we have gone on share all sorts of things and it has further enhanced our already great friendship.

As a shout-out to Lynda and her blog, Grateful Evermore, I am grateful on this holiest of days on the Christian calendar, for great friends and shared passions.

The Return From Calvary by Herbert Gustav Schmalz as it hangs today in my home:

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rab3The other day I wrote about my mother’s little career of making bunny dolls.  Well, it is a lesser known fact that my dad also got into the bunny making business, albeit for a very short time.

When my mother decided all she wanted to do was retire (early) to an old farm house in New Hampshire and make her crafts, my dad went along too.  He decided he had done everything he set out to do in his career, the youngest of his four children (yours truly) was off to college, and it sounded like a good idea to hang out in the country with the love of his life, my mom.

Well, that was the plan.  As it worked out, my mom got a bit of a head start while my dad wound things down.  By the time he joined her full time, she was well into the production of her beloved dolls and outfits.  As so often happens to newly retired couples, my dad drove my mother crazy by just being around all the time.  So she encouraged him to take up a craft of his own.  He decided on woodworking.  He invested in all sorts of table saws and related equipment and started making all sorts of things, mostly decorative items fit for the then trendy “country” décor.

He made a great Santa Claus door stop, actually a bunch of them, that he gave as gifts and they were well received and now a treasured find every year.  He made some wooden toys and other things for kids. But he made quite a few wooden bunny things to compliment what my mother was doing.

Alas, after a very intense period of this wood work he decided he just wasn’t into it and turned his attention and time to managing my mother’s growing enterprise and ultimately taking a part time job to keep himself busy and sane.

However, many of the things he made survive.  And just in time for Easter, I found a couple of sets of bunny couples which my dad made which were still hanging around the old house.  If you knew my dad you would not think of him as the creative or crafty type, that is my mom.  But looking at his work now I have a new appreciation for his skills as he designed the stencils for these things as well as doing the saw and filing work and the fishing paint job. 

I can say that these things are not really my taste, but I get a great deal of joy looking at them and picturing my dad making them.  I have these displayed in the house now for Easter.  Next week I am going to put them away until next Easter, when I will pull them out and appreciate them all over again.

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Pictured throughout this post are a few of my dad’s wood works that are still hanging around.