“A house with love in it, is where we stay”, my dad used to sing along to an old 78 rpm record of his. I think it was. My parents did everything together, always looked out for each other and as a result my home was a secure and happy place.
Is this why I love houses? I don’t know. I have lived in so many of them through the course of my life, all kinds: flats, maisonettes, penthouses, cottages, black and whites, plaster and lathe and new builds, both here and abroad, though I didn’t live in any one of them more than five years. The house I live in now is the longest I have lived anywhere.
I love moving house, the packing up and unpacking, the smell of fresh paint, the anticipation of a life somewhere else, looking out of smaller or larger windows onto unfamiliar views. Most of all I love the way that every house causes you to live your life in it, differently. The layout and position of the rooms; how warm or cool they are; how much light they let in; what you can see out of them; this influences what you put in them, how you spend time in them and how much you choose to be in them.
Perhaps like most children one of the first things I drew was probably a house, with a door and a couple of windows, perhaps a garden with the sun shining. Many years later, when I lived in Singapore, I began to be interested in real houses especially the colonial houses and enjoyed photographing as many examples as I could.
Here in Scotland I have begun drawing houses again. I love the ones with stone walls, low roofs and little, symmetrical, windows.
I notice the chimneys in particular and how large they are, often taking up one whole side of a building. I didn’t grow up with chimneys, so I find them fascinating. Does anyone else out there take photos of chimneys?
When I started sewing recently it seemed obvious to start making houses, not only to add to quilts and pillowcases but tall houses that you can lean on a mantel or hang on a wall, tiny stuffed and embroidered houses and house ‘cards’ to send friends to welcome a new baby or for a house move.
However, the ones I have enjoyed making the most are accordion houses, ones that stand up by themselves, a zig zag row of houses that you can place on a shelf or window sill and that will, hopefully, make you smile.
For now I have made only a few designs but I have plans for so many different ones. I never seem to tire of them, as if all the best things about all the houses I have known and loved are stitched into their seams.
I began with this prototype, a little row of tartan houses only an inch high, with the windows and doors glued on. After that I was hooked. Since then I have moved on to a range of sizes. They are all double sided, some have chimneys and they come in multiples of three, four or five houses in a row. There are tiny medieval houses, plaid houses and houses in bright cottons.
I’m excited to sell you that these will be selling in ‘Curly Tales’ book and gift shop in Wigtown, Dumfries and Galloway, during the whole of next month (June 2016) and I hope some of you will pop in for a look. I would love to hear your comments.
Till next time…..