‘Where are you from?’ has always been a tricky question for me to answer. I have been moving between different countries ever since I was tiny; as a child I lived in West Africa, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Greece. The one constant home, however, was our family cottage in Wensleydale in the North of England, where I was born and where we spent every summer. It’s my touchdown point, a space that, built into the rock of the Dales and surrounded by moorland and wide open sky, feels far away from the busy world. At the same time it holds within memories of all the places where I grew up: the Greek blue ceiling-stripe, ikat textiles, protective bird-sculptures flying out of their frames, Dutch scenery and embroidery by my Danish grandmother, paintings of tropical trees and Greek temples and islands made by visiting artist friends. It can be hard moving away from places you come to love, but the gathering of these different objects makes the cottage a hub of various home-places.
Some time ago I submitted an illustration to a contest with the theme Home. I didn’t win anything, but I was happy just to have done it and sent something off, and happy to finally do an illustration of this beloved room! I left it true to form (even messier than my submission), chaotically strewn with maps and half-dry walking boots, mugs and books and graced by the beloved Athens-born mongrel. I kept my watercolour painting loose, quick and comfortable so as to reflect the mismatched, slightly disproportional but relaxed and quirky charm of the Cottage.
(Anyhow that is my excuse for the wonkiness so I’m going to stick to it.)
All best of summer wishes to you!