What does home mean to you?
We wrote this in the middle of a large blank sheet of paper, expecting that there would be few if any people who might answer the question.
“Home is where the heart is’, I added on a sticky note, just for encouragement.
So began the end of the Home project that Jo Roberts and I have been working on for some months. To draw it to a conclusion we had decided (Jo’s idea) to offer to talk about what we had been doing and display the work that had been created along the way. This was very new territory for me… a sort of road show where the talk and discussion took centre stage, and the “art” was just the backdrop.
Jo planned to talk about how her childhood home eventually became a house, and her ‘grown-up’ house turned into a home – something that involved a real life pilgrimage. We put up the work that we had produced, and failed miserably to take a decent photo!
I ‘d realised that I had been drawn to this project because I was already working on related themes, so some of the display featured completed works. There were a number questions I was asking myself and the audience: The acrylic paintings in the “leaving” series visually asked ‘what have we lost?’The grey landscape that stirred up very conflicting responses was in part about searching – ‘what are we looking for?’One response to this question – warmth and companionship, presented itself in the ‘woodburner’ series of sketches and prints: Another – stillness and that which lies within – found its way into the linoprints. Finally, ‘what do we fail to see’ was illustrated by sketches from my recent ‘urban sketching’ course in Coventry – more about that later!
All these questions, in various guises, come up again and again in any long term psychotherapy.They are fundamental recurring themes in the attempt to make sense of our lives and those around us.
Amazingly, over thirty people turned up. …some at the Althorpe Studios in Leamington, and some at Rugby Art Gallery.. and we explored a fascinating range of topics. People shared their experiences of feeling at home, whether in houses or landscapes or with loved ones, and touched upon moving memories. We discussed our attachments to places, people and things, intrusions and invasions, domestic objects, and cars!
We thought about how emotional security has become entwined with the physical home, the cultural and historical baggage around home ownership and the changing patterns brought about by the financial downturn. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity and the challenge to think more about the cultural, socioeconomic, political and historical context for the identification of house with home.
I came away with the big sheet of paper, now covered in sticky notes. Home means ….
“ where my partner is”
“where all the family come together”
“somewhere I feel comfortable”
‘my safe haven where people I love live”
‘my stability, a power base and ultimate comfort and joy”
‘a half forgotten place far away in time and life’
“memories, emotions, investment of love”
‘security, warmth, love, safety”
“a yearning to close the door”
“comfort, security, and a place to grow beetroots”….
These are some of Jo’s works – more on her website.