Archive for February 11th, 2010

When a writer knows home in his heart,

his heart must remain subtly apart from it.

He must always be a stranger

to the place he loves,

and its people.”

—William Morris

I came across this quote from William Morris, the English artist/designer/writer who basically set the Craftsman aesthetic movement into motion in Britain and here in the States.  I found this as a quote without any context and  was immediately intrigued by it.

It seems somewhat sad at first glance, that one should remain somewhat aloof in one’s home but I think I understand what he’s saying.  To understand what home means to you, you must be able to step away and view it with a slightly distant eye, to put yourself in the corner as a dispassionate observer.  From this vantage point one can see and understand the bonds of home.

I don’t know why I mention this today.  Maybe it’s that lately my work has dealt with the concept of home and what it means symbolically.  What does home really mean?  Is it a place or a state of being?  Is it formed by the sense of security one experienced and maintains from their childhood?  Does the search for home ever feel fulfilled?  Maybe it’s questions such as these  that draw me to these words.

Like anything, to truly understand something you must be able to step back from it and view it from a distance.  When you’re in a house you may have only an idea of what it looks like put together from going from room to room, getting a sense of size and shape.  But it’s only when you step outside the house and take it all in from a more  distant view, that you truly see how the house looks and sits in its environment.  I think this is what Morris is saying about one’s sentimental home as well.

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