This is the whole story
I think we should have one long piece that tells the story of you and me and the mountain and ashby from start to finish - mostly for my own purposes but also because its a beautiful and inspiring, loving and magical tale.
[Im going to dump all the various bits collated on the site about that here so that i dont loose them.]
The Early Years. I moved in to the house in 2010, it was April and the spring that year was long and warm with an abundance of red sweet cherries. There was no furniture for several weeks. A mattress on the floor and a kitchen table acquired from a neighbour carried through the kitchen window. It was a strange and unusual handover. There was an interview and selection process before this house could be passed down, woman to woman. Someone, who shall remain nameless, relieved themselves on the hill. A piece of vine wood taken from the hillside stayed in my car and on the kitchen windowsill from the moment I stood on that land until I had the keys in my hand.
This was my home. This land had called me. This land was dreaming me.
I have watched the world stage change dramatically in those last seven years - the calling to create this place and the need for it only becoming stronger and stronger. The formative years have presented great challenges and great joy. It has been a true initiation of fire.
On the difficult days I seek great comfort and encouragement in the words of Vanessa Bell. When her and Duncan Grant were establishing Charleston it was 1916, the times were turbulent and surrounded by a political context of war, pacifism and conscientious objection. It is testament to their committed devotion that amongst the grittiness of daily life and the domestic challenges of making Charleston a home, their presence in a place brought together some of the finest and most radical hands, hearts and minds of the twentieth century.
(NB. On the days were I think "I am just so done with this place" it helps to be reminded that they were from the 'Upper Classes' and happened to have a large inheritance, a cook, a cleaner and an occasional gardener and I give myself a pat on the back, make a cup of tea and take a deep breath.)
Here's to creating, and living, a genuine beautiful and true work of art.
“This household is absolutely frozen… the cold is simply appalling. The only consolation is that it is light. I sat and shivered, painting, as long as I could stand it all week, then had to warm at the fire, then another shiver. The only thing to do is paint the mantel pieces, so I have done the one in the studio.” Vanessa Bell to Roger Fry, 1916
Emma Wallace. Written in 2018