Stay at home are the words we have heard countless times over many weeks now. Despite the terrible tragedies that have ensued I have to say that I have enjoyed the suspension of many activities and revelled in cocooning and loving my home, not to mention the extra time to enjoy being in my studio. The garden is thriving and vegetables are flourishing unlike most years when we are not here enough to keep them alive when they fall prey to thirst and snails.
And I have learnt a new word! Interiority. First used in 1701 my Google search revealed that it means interior quality or character, inner life and psychological existence. When we are younger and raising families, developing careers and paying mortgages or rent we don’t have the luxury of the time to think much other than about survival and what tomorrow may bring. The combination of being retired and cocooned at home has provided some of us with the luxury of time to bring home, the past and the present together.
Our little community of artists both from Cornwall and Basingstoke have negotiated a new proximity where the screen has become an intimate membrane of zoom meetings and facebook groups. This intimacy is nothing to do with physical contact of course nor is it a place or a window but it is a way we can invite each other backwards and forwards into our new worlds.
“We are having to learn to be together from afar” Melanie Smith, CAST Penzance.
We have supported each other with trivial nonsense and deep and meaningful discussions. the exchange of links to galleries and podcasts and suggestions for tv programmes to watch, photos of ordinary daily activities and inspirational ideas. We have shared some of our creative endeavours and received useful and encouraging feedback.
Particular TV programmes I have enjoyed are Grayson Perry’s Art Club and Lockdown Culture with Mary Beard and subsequent zoom conversations have been enriched by the challenges thrown into the mix from these very different offerings.
An insight into the world of Anthony Gormley during lockdown was thought provoking and resulted in some experimenting in my studio. Whilst not entirely successful it was fun and may surface again sometime. Who knows!
An interesting podcast from Brian Rutenberg led me down the route of this notion of interiority. Looking back at the influences in my life and in particular where my fascination for stone walls has emerged from led me to memories of special family times spent in the Peak District near Buxton where my great aunty Berenice (known to me as Buz) was the head teacher of a tiny village school in Sheen and my great aunty Con (short for Constance) was a farmers wife in the Manifold valley with a passion for breeding Cocker spaniels. Now I wonder where my love of these faithful companions comes from!
Having spent glorious times protected by, enclosed by and guided by stone walls usually with a spaniel friend for company I fail to understand how I could have missed realising the huge impact they have been hiding within my interiority. My recent focus on these amazing structures is the evidence of this.
Cocooning at home has been a journey. A back to the future experience of self-realisation. The journey is not over! Once the lockdown is really over I think we might create our own every now and again but including lots of family hugging next time. Home is definitely where the heart is.
And I’m going to use my new found word as often as possible!
Great Aunt Berenice Known to me as Buz Ancient Cross outside Sheen School