Where the Heart is
Posted on February 3, 2013
Last weekend we had dinner with some beautiful new Geelong friends, at their house in our street. That house is so filled with love and life, so eclectic and full of gorgeous colour and warmth and laughing children that it made me think, that I wanted Perry to grow in a house that is properly enamoured with visions of joy. It made me think of things that I have packed away, which needed to become a proper part of our lives. There are fabrics, embroideries from Thailand, kimonos from Japan, but most important of all, there was a rolled up cylinder of large plastic sleeves containing some artworks which I have carried with me from house to house for far too long.
Those pieces of art were completed by my older brother. Grant was a graphic designer, still in the days when there was nary a computer in sight, and pencil, pen, and texta were the main tools of that trade. My brother died twenty years ago, when he was twenty five. He had a professional folio, which is kept inside a very large wooden box in Rushworth now. When I turned twenty five I asked my mother if I could choose some of the pieces inside, so that I could have them framed. I chose three. That was fourteen years ago, and they have remained unframed, until this week, and what a shame that has been.
One of the pieces is hanging in our dining room now, in a big 100×70 frame. Unrolling it and taking it from it’s plastic folio sleeve was an emotional journey. The picture is watercolour and coloured pencil, and I see my brother in every stroke and shade of the pencil work. There are rough sketches on the back of the thick water colour paper, and on the back of each corner are Velcro tabs from where the illustration was adhered to his work table while he was completing it. I traced the rough tabs with my fingers and breathed in the close vision of him at his craft. There was a sense of something lost found again, just for a moment. But there, now, is something more concrete than that ephemeral feeling, there is the tangible legacy of my brother, rendered immortal within the confines of a frame. I am fairly certain that the two figures in the picture represent Grant and his former girl friend. The figures are locked into a tango on a patchwork that could be a dance floor, a chess board or a bed; wherever they are, it seems almost certain that they are ‘dancing to the end of love’, but I will always wonder.
Pablo Neruda’s wonderful houses in Chile were full of ships figure heads and curios. Our friends, the Lovelights various places over the years have been filled with green plants in aged terracotta pots, art works and industrial design finds, their walls crowded with life. We have our own style here, and objects filled with our thousand stories, but it is time to remember to infuse the rooms with colour, to crowd our own walls with life, not to hoard beauty, never to leave vestiges of presence rolled up and kept too safe.