Home. Cue the whistles from ‘Home‘ by Edward Sharpe & the Magnectic Zeroes.
Today was my day away from work. On Fridays, I work at home. For most of my last several batches of weeks I have been teaching or rather, learning lessons. Yes. Sure. I stand at the front and show examples of artworks, try to generate discussions, but in the end, I’m stuck in a room of a gaggle of people that are stuck in that hellish limbo of feeling like they’re not children, not adults, both, neither. Oh those teenage years.
As I was not having very much luck with my Stockbridge screens (a problem of ink. No worries. I’ll sort it) I was thinking about what ‘home’ means. Home. One syllable. Said in a sigh when you’ve reached that destination after having walked far too long in the rain. ‘Home,’ said in relief after too many days in an airport in some foreign country because of a mistake. ‘Home,’ said when someone asks you where your studio is located. You know. To keep the overheads down. We’re all trying to keep our heads above water. Am I right?! *high fives the air*
In the last ten years, I have had 9 different addresses, and no, I’m not in the witness protection programme. That can really confuse a person. After so many moves, so frequently, some places used as stop-overs whilst a house sale and buy didn’t exactly join up. Then there was that place you lived on your own after leaving your own square footage of house, the house you helped to buy; the one that you can no longer call home because of a thing called ‘separation’ then ‘divorce’ and a whole lot of time and space between those two words. Did I say ‘you’? I probably meant ‘me’.
So. What is home. Is home the place you have bought for your little self and your possessions? A place to hang your photos and artworks (the ones you’ve accumulated along the path of life) and tea towels and hand towels and the other myriad of towels one must have in order to keep sane and tidy? Is home the place where you feel relaxed and comfortable and can reveal all the many fascinating facets of your personality and no matter what face you show, you know you will always feel welcomed. Is home where you keep your pets? (If ‘yes’ to the last question, then Sarah, you’ve nailed it).
I’m having difficulties feeling at home. It took me nearly 6 months to make the flat I rented feel like home. It took time for me to settle my pictures just how I liked them. Set up my work space so that it functioned seamlessly. Make sure my cushions on the borrowed sofa were in colours that made me feel happy. I took visual advice from another friend by tacking up a long string and hanging postcards and cards that mattered greatly to me, had special meaning, made my smile happen. There was even a polaroid snap of young me age 6 grinning whilst holding my Snoopy fishing poll with a fish attached.
But I’ve moved on. Those things have been taken down. And they are living in a box in a storage locker somewhere in Leith.
I think I can pin down my ‘home’ to a white table sitting under a window somewhere in Edinburgh. It’s my work table. My artmaking universe contained in a plane of white painted wood. I write from here. I think from here. I own practically nothing but this. (Oh, and far too many clothes and shoes, but I’m talking about furniture here.) Josey used to sit at my feet whilst I worked, until I unfortunately had to shove boxes of art materials and fabrics in her space. She was only slightly rejected, looked about, then hopped onto the sofa and seemed much happier there anyway.
‘Home’ has changed so frequently, I am having difficulties defining it right now. Defining my space. Right now it measures 1 metre x 1 metre. I see my work table and sigh because I feel that I have been walking far too long in the rain.