A Beautiful Collaboration: The Two Can Art Story

Patti Gay and her son, Noah, are the team behind Two Can Art. Tervis is proud to feature their designs, which raise autism awareness, on our drinkware. This is their story.

My name is Patti Gay and I have a son, Noah, who is autistic. We noticed at 18 months that the he stopped finishing the sentences we would read to him from the books he loved. His language would come and then he would lose it again, until it all fell away. He began losing skills he had previously acquired.

With an autism diagnosis, we began doing intensive home therapy with him. Over the years, I have developed programs for him and have trained all of his tutors. One of the many ways in which I strive to create a more stimulating environment for Noah is to fill his day with activities that enabled him to connect to the world in both a physical and creative way.

Along with teaching him living skills, we actively look for things that we can do together that he enjoys, whether it’s a matching game, hiking, reading books or, of course, painting.

Since Noah was very young, I have always had paints and paper available for him. For him, painting is a whole sensorial activity. He’s used sponges, fingers, brushes and even bubbles to create his textures. I have always thought his textures were beautiful and have made cards and wrapping paper for family and friends from them.  It seemed only natural that those textures would evolve into more.

I had a vision in my head of his textures assembled into images and started scanning his paintings and putting the textures together to create pictures. Two Can Art was born!

I live in a beautiful area full of redwood trees and am also close to the ocean. It seemed only natural that the first images were nature and coastal. But Two Can Art continues to evolve; I think this is the best work to date, and I have Noah to thank for that. These images would not exist without his inspirational paintings. I feel that he has given me an incredible gift.

All of the art from Two Can Art is made only from his painted textures. The first series of Two Can Art images on Tervis tumblers are of birds. There is a blue jay with its stunning color and feather patterns. There is also a chickadee. I have a feeder right outside my studio window and have lots of them coming to visit. It’s just so lovely to see them flit around and to hear them twittering.

There is also a cardinal in the collection, which is special to me. There were tons of them where I grew up and my dad had feeders and loved watching them. Every time I see one it reminds me of him. I also remember a great blue heron landing on the dock by the lake as a kid. It was the most beautiful creature, so of course the heron is represented in the collection too, and it seems only fitting a crane (another beautiful shore bird) should be added to the group. We also have hummingbirds visiting our feeder  and geraniums out the front window, so the hummingbird with its jewel-like feathers is represented too.

I think birds are incredible creatures and love watching them. I am really excited to have so many represented with Noah’s textures on Tervis tumblers. Tervis is a fantastic company and I am thrilled to be working with them. It is so exciting to see Two Can Art images on their products. Tervis is donating 5% of sales year round to autism awareness organizations. The fact that Tervis and Two Can art are able to give back to the autism community is something I am very happy about.

— Patti Gay