Friday, March 4, 2011

The Wall


ecently, I've been hanging more art around the house; and by "recently" I mean over the course of a better part of last year. Sometimes when it comes to art, it's almost  intimidating to hang anything. Ideally, I like to meticulously picked out items and when possible, have relevant conversational pieces. I'm not trying to fill the place with Rothko but I do like it to be unique.

Our walls were pretty blank for quite some time. I like to attribute it to the fact that since it took so long to refinish things around here we wanted to enjoy the "art" of our handy work. But who am I kidding, I was just slacking off. As with most things in this life, I had to let go of my expectations and just get crackin'.

Decorating Miss M's room brought to light feelings I hope she will create about her house, specifically her bedroom. It was so important for me to get an alphabet together from various picture books and yet when I finally gave up that pipe dream (b/c man it's harder then it sounds and who has the time?!), I found a super-cute alphabet which makes me happy in whole different way. I know it's working it's magic on M because I see her looking up at it every time I change her diaper.

I think about how these early images will shape her perception of art and the world in general. The same is true with a mobile and a watercolor print we bought in Taos. The other things hanging in her room include a sign of her name which my aunt sent along after she was born, a sign I found years ago but didn't purchase because I didn't want to buy stuff for my "unborn, not-even-really-trying, possible future child" (I was so excited to have the store order it for me this past December), an encaustic painting that JH gave me, a piece of artwork from my childhood home that someone gave my mom for Christmas right before she had me (and I've had in storage since she sold the house), and an iron candle holder (the only remnants of the space pre-M: our old guest room) that now holds the small bird's nest, bird, and egg from the lovely cake at my shower. I find each item to be interesting and fun to look at, and I'm still not done; I think it will be a constantly evolving space as we both grow.

What makes me mention this is that my sister, NR, posted a photo of a piece of art asking if any of us (sisters) remember where it was located in our childhood house. It was actually a pretty interesting activity. I lived in that house for 18 years and knew what was in every nook and cranny. You know how it is: as a child you explore your home like you're going to find buried treasure. I would stare at some art pieces for quite a while, other things I never really payed any attention to until I was older, and then some items never warranted a second look. I remember the little porcelain angels, each holding different items like a harp or a flute to make them unique, that my mom had arranged in her living room on a shelf around the Virgin Mary (how's that for symbolism?!) - the collection of six slowly dwindled, fallen to the curiosity of little girls wanting to play with the pretty sculptures (perhaps we were not such angels: it's  ironic because we were never allowed to go in that room without company around). I could imagine the copper molds above our cabinets in the kitchen, the shelves of Hummels over our fireplace, my dad's framed degrees in our den, and the old photos in the hallway to our parent's bedroom. However I couldn't place the artwork NR posted. I did recognize it but the challenge had me traveling through every room in my head. I was picturing things I had long since forgotten. Was it in the scary basement bathroom that I never wanted to spend to much time in because it was cold and had spiders?! It was killing me that I couldn't remember where this art was located but neither could my other sisters.

My mom finally relayed that it was my Grandmother's. Upon hearing that teaser, my oldest sister, DS, remembered the "small picture in a gold gilded frame in the 'bar' at Grandma's house." So even the subtle artwork at our grandparents house, a place we visited (at most) once every other year, was collected in our mental art galleries as well.

How profound that idea is: what we choose to decorate our house with can subtly stick in other's heads for years to come. In any case, you can imagine how happy I was to catch M looking at the artwork we recently bought. Someday, I hope she hangs it in her house and fondly remembers it hanging in ours.

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