23 March 2010

Mr. H and his odd objects and curiosities


(feels like home)


Unpacking the contents of a house is an arduous task  
but I can finally say after four weeks that the light is at the end of the tunnel. 
The artwork is up and the last of the stray boxes is finding it's way into the garage. 
As I look around me, I smile because I know anyone who enters 
this humble abode will have any number of thoughts. 
It can range from 'cool' (usually generated from teenagers), 
'Oh my goodness' 
and 
'Wow, what an interesting collection of artwork you have'. 
(the adults)
I never know quite how to interpret that one.

For the past 20 years I have called our decorating style 'eclectic' 
but after living in England for a few months 
I feel more akin with 'odd objects and other curiosities'
It is something you might expect here.


(Aboriginal and Maori art)


Our collection started with Mr. H and his time spent in Africa 
as a young man working with the Peace Corps. 
He arrived back to his family home in Connecticut with a 
treasure trove of goodies, saying 
'Mom, look what I bought'.




What is a mother to do? She displays it. 
I have to say at first glance when I met her all those years ago, 
I thought 'better her than me'. I wanted nothing to do with it. 
We were getting married and my tastes were 
definitely going in another direction...
I was thinking 'english country' not 'tribal warfare'.
I was so naive.


(via Elle Decor)


Ten years later... 
and with our second move to Australia, 
I conceded and agreed to a few bark paintings and didgeridoos 
as long as they stayed in the family room 
where I felt they were safe from a discerning eye.  




And then it happened, they added the South Pacific islands
to his business responsibilities and I knew I was in trouble. 
He was as giddy as a school boy at the prospect of traveling 
to places he always dreamed about. 
Tarzan was emerging from the dusty covers 
of his school boy comic books and Jane was getting worried.




He came home one day with a full itinerary. 
He wanted to meet and greet everyone. 
No stone was to be left unturned. 
Of course, many were delighted at the prospect of his arrival 
as they did not have frequent visitors from Headquarters. 
I reminded him of this new technological age 
and he said there was nothing
 like the 'personal connection' with people.
 Americans!

Papua New Guinea was the first port of call and they loved him. 
Actually, it was a gallery owner that loved him as he cleared out the gallery, twice! 
When the first few boxes cleared customs in Australia I was ready to slap
a 'RETURN TO SENDER' sticker on them. 
Mr H mentioned that they had to be fumigated to be rid of pests. 
I was soon to be educated on the trials and tribulation of 'bores', 
an insect that you do not want picnicking in your furniture. 



The day came..."Dad's" treasures had arrived. We had a family unveiling ceremony in our garage. 
Mr H was so so excited. He opened the first box and well, I was speechless, 
the girls started crying and my son thought it was 'cool'. 
It was scary and I could foresee many sleepless nights with children sneaking 
into our bed talking in their sleep about the bogeyman. 
I stated right then and there that we needed a few rules. 
Firstly, their was going to be a new category 
for his artwork and it was ' the office'.

Those days seem so long ago. 
That mask and a 6 foot totem and a few other objets d'art 
are sitting snugly wrapped in various crates in our garage. 
It looks like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie. 




As to the others, well I eventually came around 
after traveling to Papua New Guinea 
and a few other of his 'hot spots' with him.
I could see why he enjoyed them so much.




I went in search of the more friendly looking pieces 
and we came to a peace agreement. 
Jane insisted on a decorator to make it work
 to which Tarzan banged on his chest 
and then happily acceded as he embarked on yet another trip. 
The possibilities were endless now that Jane finally came to her senses...
or so he thought.





I smile with glee as I write this as we are far, far away
 from any land of indigenous art. 
Our trips in the foreseeable future are all based around Europe. 
Although.... 
I am starting to get that niggly feeling 
because he is really excited 
about our trip to Scotland in August 
to see the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 
and he loves bagpipes...
should I be worried?


Images 2-5 taken by me
Images 7-11 taken by me
Images 13-16 taken by me

10 comments:

  1. It all looks wonderful, and the more tribal pieces are just the thing for the gala guestroom. Look at those super armchairs! It must create a house full of individuality. Mind you, I'd go for some St. Andrews crystal rather than the bagpipes...

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  2. Oh, my son would be so jealous. He wants a didgeridoo so terribly bad. He asked for one for Christmas but he was too late in the asking, as Christmas was only a couple days away. My husband ended up making one from a long tube from the hardware store. I hear that thing in my sleep!

    I so understand all the weird items you are talking about. My husband recently went to Africa and we are awaiting 9 creatures for the walls. I did some quick thinking and switched my sons bedroom so we could have a den upstairs with the high ceilings used for the creatures. He has also gone to Jamaica and has many masks and statues. None of it goes with my decor, so having his own room works!

    I think my daughter would have been scared too!

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  3. Hi Jeanne
    What a great posting, you made me laugh out loud. It all rings too true! My husband does not appreciate it when I lay down the rules about what is and is not acceptable in the house as opposed to elsewhere - here the elsewhere is also called the office!

    But we must stick to our guns, we do know what we're talking about.. even if tribal masks do have a certain je ne sais quoi.

    And yes, you should definitely be worried about bagpipes.

    Sharon

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  4. Jeanne - I'm so happy to hear you are tackling the last few boxes - it's always a good feeling to have more in the garage than the house! I loved reading this - it reminds me of a friend in Sydney who, when I used to take her househunting with me & express disappointment about the colour/state of the walls in a given house, would tell me 'The walls aren't important, it's what you hang on them that matters'! I love the things collected over a long period of time and which become your family history....great story x

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  5. Dear Jeanne,
    When I saw the title of your post I thought you were talking about my husband !!!! haha.
    Fist of all, all of your 'curiosities' make your home unique to you and there will be fond memories, mostly your husband's !! in each of them. I love the look of your eclectic home . It's unique and interesting and I mean that in the nicest possible way. My friend is a potter and her home is full of many diverse pieces of art and, we all love it.
    My brother-in-law went to Africa somewhere and came back with one of those wooden statues, but his was very rude !!!! It comes out every Christmas and we all have a good laugh at it.
    We are going to Edinburgh in mid-April so, ask Mr. H if he would like us to bring home a set of bagpipes or maybe a sporren to display !!
    I really enjoyed hearing about Mr.H's travels and his aquisitions !! XXXX

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  6. Oh dear Jeanne - That Other Husband had a penchant for collecting Pacific Island 'objet d'art', that is the reason he & I consulted a divorce lawyer in 1989!!
    Millie ^_^

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  7. I am loving your blog...your art pieces are wondeful. I love entering homes with interesting decor...you know the home owner is someone you would like to sit with for awhile and chat. Each piece usually has a wonderful story.
    I will be back to visit again. xox

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  8. Oh too funny. I love a bit of tribal but what is it about men that they think it needs to be in all places at all times. Still, memories are great things, and physical reminders even better I reckon. Well done on the unpacking and good luck with the bagpipes...put it with the didgeridoo and you could have an interesting band. Just warn the neighbours first!

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  9. Sigh....Jeanne. Why do I keep clicking on the "you-might-like"??? I really do need to read this 10th pic. thing. Give me a few minutes...I'll manage :-(

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  10. Finally, I beginning to get a real glimpse into your life and many travels and tons of memories! So glad you posted this! Thanks for letting us take a peek into your travels!

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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