Home is what tells us who we are

Funnily enough, one of the things that convinced me of the importance of how you put your home together has nothing to do with homes at all.

You may not know this, but before I made the switch to making ceramics I used to work in museums, and while I was doing that I also did a part time phd. My research looked at how curators were working with community members to make new, more diverse and inclusive, history galleries. In the end I realised that what they were doing was jointly putting together a narrative that expressed the collective identity of the city.

As my research took me down this path I had to read up on a lot of stuff about visual culture and and cultural theory and identity formation and all sorts of other tangents. (If you want to see more about the research it's available via the UCL website).

The point here is that doing the research convinced me that what was on display mattered. It told that story of the city and the people who belogied there, what they were like, who they were, what they did - and who they were not.

I believe that our homes do much the same for us on a personal level. By choosing items to furnish and decorate our personal spaces, however modest they are, we are saying something. We could be making a statement to visitors about who we are - or who we want them to think we are. But ultimately our homes remind us of what we love and value most, and help us to be who we truly are.


At home, step 1

When we first took posession of our new home we had absolutely no spare money to do anything to it. If you saw my last post about the house you'll know I wasn't keen to live with the previous owners' style.

In our last flat we learned the hard way that it's a good idea to tackle boring practical & technical problems before you start decorating. But hey, I decided to start by decorating again! This time I know it's only to make the place more habitable for a while until we can sort out our finances and get some of that practical stuff scheduled so that's a step forward right?

So we started by stripping out all that colourful textured wallpaper. This had the added benefit of reducing the stink of smoke infuing the place.

Then we started painting everything white using an organic paint that has no VOCs and so doesnt trigger my asthma or give us the pounding headaches associated with vinyl paints - and it's a lot better for the environment too (I read once that conventional paints produce 5l of toxic waste for every litre of paint, which is a hard statistic to stomach being part of).

This neutralises all those old colours, freshens the place up, brings the light in. As an added benefit I can now start to really see what the spaces are like and begin to think about any colours to bring in at a later date.

The painting is by no means finished, you may have noticed the multi-colour scheme on the inside of the front door and the rest of the woodwork is still waiting to be done, but I think you'll agree that it's a big improvement!