House Home Place is a collection of wall and bed quilts that speak to the concept of home as a place between our roots and our future and the hold it has on our bones.
While bed quilts are deeply rooted in the myth of the cosy cottage and a fictional simple past, the quilt of today is more than a traditional three-layered blanket. Since quilts made a jump from bed to wall, it has become a cloth with many meanings that can either warm or unsettle the soul.
Norma uses this nostalgic connection between quilts and home to express the mood and muddle of our time. She uses her wall quilts to develop ideas on home as a shifting notion.
With a world in flux, our vision of home is turned on its head and home often remains an elusive dream between belonging and exclusion. We like to think of home as a safe shield for family, memories, and rituals; but it can be a bad domestic dream and a lifelong search for shelter. There is the house that never becomes a home – even if you are home. And when people are under attack, home means temporary structures of displacement.
The quilts on show focus on the idea of home in our time and place. Since the disease and the office moved in, home is no longer a private shelter. It has become a makeshift workplace, a school, playground, social hub, media centre, and everything in between. With lines blurring between work and personal life, home has become a place of isolated confinement, interruption, chaos, loss, and longing.
Visually, Norma’s quilts draw on the quilt language of two traditional quilt patterns – the Log Cabin, and the chequered Nine Patch block – for their compelling connection to home. The chequered quilt pattern is a recurring motif in Norma’s work. For her, it has always been a symbol of home or what is underfoot.
The Log Cabin quilt pattern has roots in antiquity and was probably first used in wrapped Egyptian mummies. The pattern acquired its familiar name when it reached North America with its tradition of building log houses. The name of the quilt Log Cabin pattern evokes the idea of building a log house. Individual quilt blocks are built up with fabric strips around a centre square. This centre square is usually a warm colour that evokes fire glowing in the hearth, while the surrounding fabric logs, in varying hues and values, create a design that is half-dark and half-light – alluding to the light and dark sides of a house.
Quilts are historical documents. Whether we use quilts as cosy wraps, or as objects to ornament a room, it always tells the story of a time, place, and life – with needle and thread.
Home – holding our objects, rituals, and stories
Seeded at home
Home – more than a floor and four walls
When house is home
Home – a slow process of making
Everybody comes from someplace
Fantasy of home #4
Home – where lives intersect
Our minds are always going home
Bed quilt – trace of domesticity #2
Home – holding our heirlooms
Home – during lockdown
Home – a carefully curated image
Home – when threads between ideal and reality unravel
When home was a place where we worked the soil and planted seeds
She who knows home isolation
Home – where we unravel and stitch ourselves back together