I've been wondering about something lately. I've been busy helping C build our house for us. I've insulated and painted and sanded and occasionally flaked out in the heat, but it all seems very worthwhile because I'm helping to make something practical, something useful - somewhere to live!
But, as I've been insulating and painting and sanding, sometimes I've caught myself wishing that I was sitting down to finish off a batch of cast plaster letters, or making a new mould from Pinkysil, or carving a swirly ampersand, or peeling the bark off a dry branch to make a wall hanging from some speckled bird's eggs. But because I'm busy being practical, I can't quite do any of that stuff right at the moment, and so I keep on thinking. I wonder about these things that I love to make - they have no purpose other than to decorate, to be pretty. I think about my current house, and about the things that make it 'mine', and yes, it's full of ornamentation. (This usually ignites a flurry of horror about just how I'll go when it comes to combining C's and my household items when we move in together in a month or so. Will he draw the line when it comes to my mouldy old handle-less aluminium teapot that I pulled out of an old campsite, and filled with dried seaweed stems from a beach at Coff's Harbour? Eeek!) But to me, these are the things that help make my home feel like mine, and although I may possibly have a bit too much, I can't imagine having it any other way.
So, as I pour out yet more white enamel paint into the tray, my thinking continues. What is it going to be like when I move my 'things' from my old (beloved) home into this new, brand-spanking one? Will there be a place for my blue-spotted ceramic bowl full of pebbles I've collected on various trips? That little shell-and-bead wall hanging that I made one summer holiday - will there be a spot for it, and what happens to it if there's just not? What will C think as I gaily unearth old treasures from boxes (and I know I have several that will come to light when I move) and start cluttering up our house with them?
I was at Harvey Norman recently and I saw a couple buying a 'painting'. I say 'painting' because it was the sort of mass-produced thing that has been digitally printed on canvas and then someone has brushed over it with varnish to give it some texture, to make it look real. I shudder. I mean - a lot of people must buy stuff like this to fill their homes and feel proud of it, but it's certainly not something I would ever want. So, in a time when you can buy 'art' in Harvey Norman and when much of the 'pretty' things you see in the shops have been made en masse in China, I feel GOOD when I think about my messy home filled with handmade bits and pieces, and old junk I've pulled out of the bushes! I'll let you know how I go when it comes to editing down when I move (C has said "I like your style, but I don't want all of it!") but for now I'm going to enjoy the notion that there must be other people in the world who like handmade things that have no purpose other than to help make someone's home 'theirs'.