What is Home? One

I have some news: my husband and I are moving – after twenty years in our current house, thirty+ in our current town, and for my husband, his whole life in this immediate area – to a new home about fifty miles away and located in another state. We will be leaving our house in about ten days. We are really looking forward to the change and the new experiences we will have in our new home while reflecting on all the memories we have made here.

So, as you might imagine, my time for art activities has been cut to nothing right now. I figured I might fill in the gap a little bit with some home-themed art from my past. I’ll be doing a short series of posts on this topic.

As I looked over the images, some from quite some time ago, I am struck by how home means something different to each person – we all have different physical locations, memories, structures for our homes – and yet I think it is one of the most important concepts there is in our society. I know that my home, not just my house, but my home, means everything to me.

In my earliest years of doing art, I made a lot of house portraits in fabric. I wrote a general post on this topic about three years ago in which I focused on a couple of pieces I did for a book, including my role in the production process. Now I will give you more detail on individual portraits, as I remember them.

Almost all of them were done as commissions, either through a local shop or through my own booth at art fairs.

I worked from a photo supplied by the buyer or taken by me, and in the beginning I followed the construction methods you see in these: I would seam together “grass” and “sky”, and then, following the pattern I drew on gridded paper from the photo, I constructed the house with hand applique. I then added a border, quilted it, and applied a binding and a hanging sleeve.

Later on, I did a few using machine applique techniques – I’ll mention those as they come up.

Size-wise, I can’t tell you exactly, but the pieces are all around 18″ to 2 feet wide by say 15″ to 2 feet high. It depended on the house size and shape.

I apologize for the photo quality in so many cases – these pictures were done in the 1990’s before I had a digital camera. I wish I had taken photos of details, but – film photography was expensive and I felt lucky to get even these shots.

Let’s begin.

I did this portrait as a commission from my son’s kindergarten teacher – it was of her parents’ house and meant for an anniversary gift, I think. (As a note, my son is now 35 years old, so this was a long time ago!). I was quite proud of the porch awning and the small tree on the right, where I applied netting over cut-up fabrics to make the foliage.

This house was a large stone home in Lansdale, PA, commissioned by a couple. The husband liked it but I don’t think the wife was as pleased. I also think no matter what, she was always going to be disappointed. In the end they paid me. I took that as good enough.

I have recorded the address of this house as being on Claudia Way, Lower Gwynedd. I looked it up and yes, that is correct. I remember at the time enjoying the coincidence of Claudia depicting another Claudia.

This house was in Wyndmoor, PA. I remember that in real life, it had a mass of rhododendrons in front that almost obscured the facade. I knew I would need to do some yard work or the picture would be of a big green blob. I took the photos of this house myself, as it was a commission from the shop, and I remember working hard to get some idea of what was behind that mega-vegetation (in fact I think I might have gone right up to the house and squeezed behind the bushes).

I did this portrait as a commission from a friend who wanted to commemorate her friend’s wedding. I think she may have been a bridesmaid. Anyway, this house is in Georgia. Those pine trees in the back almost drove me crazy but in the end they sufficed. The border fabric was a home furnishing fabric; I could not find cotton fabrics with a pattern and colors that met the color and design specifications.

OK, that’s it for now. More later!

27 thoughts on “What is Home? One

  1. Pingback: What is Home? Three | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

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