Our kids used to call us the Mac Museum family, as galleries and museums always was on our program when we were travelling. They still are of course. I have often wondered at the fashions of art, how people are willing to pay and display the weirdest things to show wealth, power and connections. I used to think it would be better to choose the pictures that really meant something to the owner and expressed some of her (well mostly his) values and feelings. Then again isn’t that just what it does?
If I choose something because everybody else likes it, that too says something about my eagerness to be accepted, that again is rooted in something else than mere art. On the other hand it could be just as conceited to try to be different from every body else. A person not owing up to the feelings and sentiments we all share as human beings might be just as insecure and attention seeking as the conformist. Today I think it all boils down to this, our walls tell about longings, hopes and achievement, both those we want to share and those we in fact are part of.
We have lived in a lot of houses belonging to someone else. Just now we are happy to rent a house furnished almost in our own taste, we just had to make a collage of the kids, us and our dog on the wall to make it ours.
Last time we lived in a home where I prefered bare walls to the paintings the owners had found it fit to have. Another time we thought the pictures were OK, while our visitors kept commenting why do you keep that up? Of course your walls also says something of which culture you belong to or want to belong to. Our landlords have been Dutch, Moroccan, Chinese and American.
As I am in our own home in Norway this week, this daily prompt got me thinking, what is it really that hangs on our walls? I went for a photo safari at home. There is art made by the children, now or when they were kids. There are enlargements of my own photos, there are inherited plates, there are the antique tiles we brought from Holland, there are plates decorated by my brother, there are quilts made by me, embroidery by my mother. At my office wall there’s the embroidered wallhanging that my grandparents had in their hallway: “Yesterday is gone, you have not seen tomorrow, but today the Lord will help you”.
Then there are lots of pictures of us a family and the kids as babies, at school, at their confirmation. All this tells of a love of beauty, of the blessings we are grateful for, everything is hung with purpose.
Nothing surprised me, until I came to my sewing room. I have not realized before that a whole wall is filled of what I hope to be true, what I strive for and the palette of future artwork, all found in two objects. As I work with values and strategies I have verbalized the values of my home making, and made them into two quilts. Now the summer one is displayed, have nothing in your home, but love, truth and beauty ( a slight nod to William Morris).
On the other part of the wall is my memo board, with cards, bits of lace, the music score of the aria my brother-in-law performed at my 50ieth birthday, lace, snippets, buttons, cards, a calligraphic Bible verse from a dear friend.
Totally without plan, but a mirror straight into my heart. I have always had those boards and find it a wonderful way to stay with my dreams and true longings, to show myself who I am, to get me back on track. You see the most important thing on this board is the card my family gave me for my birthday ( it is up in the corner) a mosaic made of hundreds of my pictures, making a picture of me. It tells me of the beauty of being human, we all have so many facets to our personality, so many colors in our character, so many possibilities to choose from.
To be the one we are meant to be we need wisdom to know what to keep, what to strengthen and what to weed. We live in a fragmented world, we need to stay where we are made whole. If my walls would tell that tale, I would be happy.