Friday, December 7, 2007

Art Crusade #15

This month's Art Crusade is about where you live. Since I'm not in love with where we live currently (it was affordable and convenient, our dream home is still in our future), I'd like to talk about where I'm from and where I feel most at home.

First, where I'm from. I'd like to illustrate where I'm from by using the ATCs I made for a swap on the Yahoo group Artist Trading Cards whose theme was"My Hometown". My first and only ATC swap. Read why here. (When necessary I also included the back of the card with the narrative on it.) I had only made 3 ATCs before this and I had very few supplies. I look back on that situation with fondness. There was a freedom in not knowing much and in having to be creative with what I had. Now I tend to 2nd guess myself and over think things and worry about my work being derivative - and I have way too many supplies to choose from! (it's a sickness)

I'm from a relatively small city, by today's standards. When I was born and growing up the city was, too. It was already many times larger than it had been when my grandmother and grandfather were born. It was still small enough, though, that the pharmacist called us by name and asked after the family because he actually knew them. But not so small that you knew everyone and they knew you and your business. It had grown way beyond that stage by then.

These ATCs represent a few of the memories and emotions I have about my hometown. While working on them what I realized is that it's not the place, it's the people. My family lived there, worked there, went to school and were born there. Many are also buried there. Still, now that my family only works there, it has become more a place of nostalgic memories of home, rather than a place that actually feels like home.

Previous to living in the burbs, where we now live, I lived in the city for almost 14 years. Seattle is the place I feel most geographically connected to. Sometimes after being gone for many hours (especially if those were stressful hours), I would actually feel my body instantly relax as soon as I caught sight of the city skyline. I loved being a city dweller and embraced every aspect of it. I loved seeing scores of people walking down the sidewalks every day. There were years when I could say that the only franchised business I went into was the grocery store - and then even that became a locally owned independent. (Nordstrom's doesn't count because that's their original store, and a couple of the Nordstrom's lived 2 blocks from my job) The McDonald's actually went out of business in our neighborhood! Of course at the time I and most of my friends were single and childless. We had plenty of time to sit around in cafes and bars and chat about politics and literature and attend artist receptions and restaurant openings.

Now we live in the suburbs. Before I had a baby and realized I had to think about things like school districts and yardage big enough to house a swing set, I swore I would never live in the suburbs again...famous last words. Here I am. There's a lot to like about where we live - and a lot of problems with it, too. But none of that really matters. My aunts' kitchen tables are home because they are there, too. My cousins' tease me in my aunts' living rooms and they are home, too. Where my sister is, is home.

My sweet, sweet husband and Rexy are next to me and so I am home.


michelle ward said...

Laurie - great post! Loved seeing your ATC work and hearing your location story. Sounds like you had some wonderful experieinces being in a close knit home base. I've been in your neck of the woods once, but not long enough to really look around. Someday I'll be back with my kids to see the Orcas. Thanks for joining in the Crusade - and I can't leave without mentioning it was fun to be entertained by your music while I was here. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Stunning ATCs. But this line "Where my sister is, is home" - that really really speaks from the heart. Good on you.

Jo Anne Owens said...

Your ATCs are lovely! What a bad experience you had with that swap! I would have been crushed after all that wonderful, personal work to receive copies back!

Thank you for sharing them...and your story. You have a really nice blog too!

Belinda said...

yeah, great artwork to share where you are from. i'm a city girl too, and enjoy now living in a small city of sorts. haven't been to your part yet. you have a happy home and environment now, even if it's not the dream home. the love it's filled with makes it perfect though.

Ariel Gill said...

WOW and WOW Laurie,

Your header and your blogsite is so decked out for the holidays. I love it! Do you change it alot?It's great inspiration for me to change my own site. And I love the way you used your ATCs to illustrate your story.

Happy Holidays. Ariel

SyAnne Bleu said...

Your ATCs are great. They says so much about you, where you lived, and your artwork. They're just wonderful. Wanna swap some ATCs with me?

Manastash said...

I love this post! What caught my attention is learning you're a city girl...I'm just the opposite! I love to visit cities but then they're so crowded I panic and run back to the quiet country roads, ha ha.

Nice to know that even your not-dream-house is still home. What more can you ask for?

Monique said...

Love your ATCs!
Happy hanukkah and thanks for the images,I love them!

Barone said...

This is a beautiful post. You share your art and your heart with creativity and humor. It is wonderful running into an "Artists and Poets" friend and getting to know you!
jodi barone

Any Smith said...

I feel bad about your ATC experience. I used to do swaps as well, but they got too tedious and, as you said, the quality and dedication didn't always feel like it was there.

I really liked the ATC of your grandfather.

I love the Seattle area - my family lived there for a summer eons ago and I have family there.

Love the music on your site, too.

Penny said...

Your post is awesome, love all the artwork! Too cool! I love that you incorporated so much art in your post! Fantastic!

Fiona said...

I think you have gotten to the heart of home -it's really where our families are.Fab post -thanks for sharing.

Becky New said...

Love the post! AND the *always our hero* piece. The feeling shows. :)

Xanthe said...

I love your ATCs what a great way to tell your story. Home and family is what it is all about.