Home sweet

The house where I grew up in Beaumaris - it has since been removed and a new house built in its place.

The house where I grew up in Beaumaris - it has since been removed and a new house built in its place.

This week I’ve been readjusting to the returning home after two weeks away. There’s always so many things that seem designed to keep me away from the studio so I’ve been making mini books to maintain my creative momentum.

I’ve also been thinking about home, or more specifically what constitutes our notions of ‘home’. I was asked to contribute an offering to a friend who is compiling written musings about the Inner Dweller and for me that is about houses and homes. I found myself thinking of all the houses I had lived in, and what actually signifies ‘home’ to me - is it where I was born and grew up (Melbourne, Victoria) or where I lived for the most of my adult life (Tolmie, Victoria) or where I live now ( Pottsville, northern NSW). I called this piece My House is a Heart and began my little rambling:

My house is a home and my home is a bag, a backpack, a book, a man, a family, a dog or two. It’s birdsong and a billy or thermos, a pillow and enough money to keep travelling, and when you stop it’s a bed and a good night’s sleep. 

I guess after returning home last Sunday night and then going away for another night this weekend, I think about these things a lot. Tonight my granddaughter asked me to read to her from “the really old time big story book that’s in the garage”. I didn’t know what book this was as there are no books that I know of in there. “You know the one,” she said, “about when my mum was little” - ah, its the photo album of the really old time, years and years ago in the “olden days”. We brought it out and I began to tell her the story of the cottage we built before we built our big house, and where her mum’s bunk bed was and the pictures of the cottage in the snow.

When I moved from that farm up to northern NSW I was for a time, quite bereft. The only thing we had from that time was bees and those bee boxes reminded me of the farm. I created a suite of prints around the houses on stilts of Murwillumbah, and when I looked at them closely, they were interchangeable with bee boxes. Hence my instagram name, bboxproductions….in the end it was all about finding that notion of home that I carry within me, hived like honey, the honeyed heart. Home is a heart…

All the Pretty Houses - artist book (unique), 2015

All the Pretty Houses - artist book (unique), 2015

Heather Matthew