I have been musing lately on the construction of home and what it says about the person doing the building of the interior of a house. I see the deliberate (and haphazard) placing of objects as a way to interrupt the inner life of the decorator. I’ve been thinking a lot about asking questions around this idea, as I see a habit of the collection of objects, their arrangement and the decoration of a house in the women in my life as being particular pervasive. My close friends, my aunts, my mother, my grandmothers, my cousins all are fantastic decorators with taste that ranges with age as well as upbringing and socioeconomic class. Regardless of the monetary resources available or not available to them, they all take a house and make it very much into a home.
I want to ask questions with these images, rather than find answers. What does certain stuff mean? Handmade or mass-produced? New or used? How does juxtaposition of objects lend its self to further interpretation? What does it mean to hold onto objects and place them in our homes? Finding the questions to ask is always part of the process. There are ideas brewing to turn this new obsession of mine into something lucrative, for real this time.
Katie’s ability to create a home that looks and feels exactly like her personal aesthetic. Muted color palate on the warm side, organic forms, odd details, worn edges, old objects with a silent history. Her house is exactly as I pictured it would be.
I’ve been thinking about this, perhaps, because of the distinct lack of my own space to construct. Sure, my room is well constructed but it is not the same as being able to make a home for yourself. I long for the time in my when I again will be able to create a place for myself, a place to come home to.
The last time I was drove south, the kudzu was but just brown, hard vines curled like steel wire around telephone poles and trees. I didn’t get to see it all green and lush so, when I passed one of those kudzu valleys, somewhere in Virgina, I was dumbfounded by how utterly beautiful it was and how heavy it must be to the living things it consumes. The trees looked as if they were drowning.
Kudzu crept into my dreams when I started reading southern literature of questionable merit at 14, 15 years of age. I heard William Christenberry tell his stories about the crawling plant. Seeing it with my own eyes, however, that was fantastic.
I exclaimed wildly about kudzu on my drive through Virigina, via text message to A. He said to me “Yeah there’s a reason they thought it’d be a good idea to plant” and after traipsing through it a few times in the early morning light to make some pictures, I totally saw why. It’s blossoms were sweet smelling and though I know it’s a menace, it’s hard to ignore just how gorgeous it is.
There is not much else to be said about this plant, with it’s long hanging tendrils and fat leaves that hasn’t already been said. It’s beautiful and weird and mean and lovely.
–verb (used with object)
1. to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to: They tried to comfort her after her loss.
2. to make physically comfortable.
4. relief in affliction; consolation; solace: Her presence was a comfort to him.
5. a feeling of relief or consolation: Her forgiveness afforded him great comfort.
6. a person or thing that gives consolation: She was a great comfort to him.
7. a cause or matter of relief or satisfaction: The patient’s recovery was a comfort to the doctor.
8. a state of ease and satisfaction of bodily wants, with freedom from pain and anxiety: He is a man who enjoys his comfort.
9. something that promotes such a state: His wealth allows him to enjoy a high degree of comfort.
10. Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. a comforter or quilt.
That Friday, I woke up in the house of someone who I love and who’s absence in my life is felt in small but enormous ways every day. We came together like interlacing fingers, as hands folded in prayer, our words slow but flowing, like the 9 months that has passed hadn’t changed anything. When we ran out of words, we just enjoyed the shared silence, the sunlight, the hum of the truck’s engine, the birds, the heat.
K., in one of those long, layered conversations about life, mentioned that North Carolina is all around comfort for her. She lives in a house she grew up in and so I can imagine that it feels like a big hug or hand on the small of the back. Her personal aesthetics fit so perfectly into the house and I felt instantly calm and let go of whatever had been weighing on me from my everyday life. It was like walking into the house of a family member, an aunt, a cousin. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the small, strange histories that live in the rooms and the yard.
Is home that of a real, physical space or does it come out of something else? Does it offer comfort solely from it’s mere existence as a place to return to after a long day, a space to decorate and store or is it greater than an apartment, a house? Is it the people that are within it, that lets the nerves relax and brings the calm? How does one create the comfort of home? Does it take patience and time or paint and curtains? Is the combination there of?