The art of home is a tidy title with an unpretentious posture. And yet it’s idealistic and evocative, ample and ambitious. Frankly, its restrained and self contained first impression is a little misleading. Maybe even a little ambiguous. What do I even mean? I’m not offering a catchy epithet for design and decor. Nor architecture. And yet, it certainly may include some or all of these. When I describe of the art of home, I’m conjuring several things at once.
In conjoining art and creativity with home-ness, I’m alluding to my own personal outlook on an intrinsic relationship between the two as well as an aspirational goal. Home isn’t science. Or, home isn’t only science (or even mostly science.) Sure, there’s science and math and all manner of practical, detail and data driven inputs in transforming a house into a home. But there’s much more. There’s a profoundly personal, subjective, intimate relationship at play in the act of homemaking. And, in the best of circumstances, essential circumstances in my opinion, home becomes a sanctuary for creating, an oasis for art.
All of this binds art-ing and homing. The art of home is a look at the homeness of art and the art of homing. It is an attempt to discern what allows one’s domestic sanctuary to transcend mere utility — a garage to cache one’s car, a grill to sear one’s supper, a nest within which to sleep, a shower with which to wash away the sleep and sweat — to transcend the housing function and become a place of growth and nurturing, an incubation space, a revitalizing space, a dreaming and dream-fulfilling space,…
In the photograph at the top of this post you can see the icehouse, mid-rehabilitation, tucked in beside the carriage barn, both frosted in snow like fairy tales illustrations or gingerbread confections. After a decade and a half my slowly percolating art of home has matured from a pipe dream into a concept into a clutch of sketches into construction plans into a creative collaborative of many. And for a few short weeks I’m privileged to participate daily, to engage in a real and hands-on way after participating from afar, participating virtually. It’s a peculiar but exciting transition. An ongoing transition.
The Art of Home: Poem Excerpt
I’ve been excavating through layers of creativity compressed into, and coexisting within, my notion of homeness. While shaping a house into a home is in and of itself a creative art — indeed a nearly universal creative art, even among those quick to volunteer that they are not artistic, not creative — I’m deeply curious about my awn associations with home as a cradle and catalyst of art. I’m trying to tease apart these different layers of art in a still embryonic poem, so I’ll include only a section about gardening, a creative pursuit that I inherited from my mother decades ago.
...composing a garden, my own personal patch, from selecting seeds — corn, radishes pumpkins, tomatoes, and sunflowers — to turning the soil, working compost into last summer's stems and stalks, into clay clodded dirt, into July-August hopes. Watering and weeding, thinning, scarecrowing, suckering, and staking...
Composing a garden is but one of the many instances that the art of home means something to me. Cooking. Writing. Telling stories. Pruning the orchard. Entertaining guests. Landscaping. Drawing. Adapting old buildings into new lifestyle enabling and enriching spaces.
The Art of Home: Documentary
At the heart of Rosslyn Redux is a quest to discern and describe what I’m learning about the art of home. But there is still more question than answer. I’m still untangling my thoughts, still reaching for some sort of clarity that might improve my ability to communicate concisely what I have found so captivating, and why it has obsessed me for so long.
But I’m not there there. My journey is ongoing. So I will, for now, offer another perspective on the art of home, a captivating documentary that obliquely sheds light upon our Santa Fe / Essex home duality.
Two indigenous artists create new works reflecting on their tribal homelands, the Wind River Indian Reservation. Ken Williams (Arapaho) is a Santa Fe art celebrity and Sarah Ortegon (Shoshone) is an up-and-coming actress in Denver. Both artists travel to Wind River Reservation to reconnect with their ancestors and present their art work to a somewhat isolated community. (Source: The Art of Home: A Wind River Story, PBS)
Intertwined with Sarah Ortegon’s and Ken Williams’s extended meditation on the relationships between art, creative expression, identity, home, culture, family, and belonging are the perspectives of other Native Americans including George Abeyta who touches on home as a place of strength.
“Your home, it’s a place of your family. It’s a place of warmth and comfort and strength and happiness. It’s the place where were you look forward to going because that’s your stronghold. That’s your place of prayer.” — George Abeyta
In the context of beadwork Abeyta is examining it feels seamless and comfortable the way we moves from beading motifs to home as a bastion of strength, as a stronghold. Also a space where family, warmth, comfort, happiness, and even prayer coexist. Perhaps even where they are rooted, where they thrive. The subject of his reflection, a beaded ornament akin to a necktie, is an intricate work of art, and as such it functions as a vehicle or a vessel to showcase and honor these fundamental elements. This notion of home, and more specifically the art of home, as a sort of sacred space for strength and belonging, for identity and connectedness, for family and for happiness resurfaces throughout this documentary. I encourage you to make time (just under an hour) to appreciate it from beginning-to-end.
What do you consider the art of home?
What do you think?