Home is Where the Happy Is

 

Some say home is where the heart is, for some it’s where the art is, or maybe it’s where you find peace or joy or soul. Or all of the above. Or maybe not.

Maybe it’s only a place to drop in before heading off on the next great adventure. Maybe your home feels too small or too blah or too cold or too old, or not old enough, or just not-quite-right. But, regardless, I do hope it gives you some sanctuary and respite. I hope it’s a safe haven for you and yours. I hope you’ve eaten wonderful meals in it, laughed intensely with friends in it, danced on its floors or its tables until the sun came up in it. I hope it sparks your imagination and soothes your spirit. I hope, more than anything, it makes you happy.

For me, our home is a sacred space, a port in a storm, a place to snuggle with the husband and son and dogs. It is also the backdrop for the witty banter of friends, the screeching of kids, the bouncing of balls, the barking of dogs, the singing of songs.

The first thing you will notice when you step foot into our home is color. Lots and lots of color. Bright, bold and wild. After we moved into our home last year, we had a number of workmen and contractors in to bid on or fix various things. Almost every one of them commented on the house; burly, tattooed, cigarette smelling dudes saying things like “this is a happy home” or “you could never be depressed in a house like this.” In this, our flower mural covered, magenta/turquoise/orange/green/cobalt saturated, overly patterned and pillowed home.

Someone once remarked to my husband, after walking wide eyed and open mouthed around our house for a bit, “wow, you can just do this?”. It was as though the ability to use bright colors, put art wherever he wanted, paint his walls, and not follow “the design rules” had never been considered.

I’m certainly not suggesting anyone decorate their home the way I do, but it does seem like so many people feel they need to be given permission to create the kind of home they want. It’s your home! As one of my yoga teachers always says, “you do you!”, or, in this case, make your home your home. You are unique, your home should be as well.

I strive for our home to reflect who we are as a family and who I am as an artist. I actually think of my home itself as a piece of art. And not in some grand way. I mean, I approach creating it the same way I approach creating art.

Just like any creation or composition, all of the components of a home; the furniture, the rugs, the plants, the artwork, all of the decorative items, contribute to the work as a whole.

They are like instruments in an orchestra. When they work together, they create harmony and balance and beauty. I am continually culling and curating our space. I switch around pillows and artwork and throws. I’ll keep certain things together for ages and others I shift constantly. Our home feels alive. It is malleable. It grows and changes, but it always feels like ours.

I choose things for our home the same way I choose them for my wardrobe.

Do they connect me to my essence?
Do they tell the message I want to share with the world?

Are they “me”, or “us”? Do they bring us joy? Are they: Colorful. Quirky. Spirited. Magical. Soulful? All of these words resonate profoundly with me. They embody what I want from life and who I want to be. I would love for my home to be described using them as well, so I design and decorate accordingly. We often hear things do not buy happiness. I agree. However, I would argue that beautifully constructed, mindfully made, well chosen items, can actually bring you moments of joy, continually. The pieces that made my heart sing when when I spotted them at a market in Mexico or at an art fair or at an antique store or in the sale room at Anthropologie, fill me with a similar happiness years later.

Of course the commercialism, consumerism, and over-consumption-ism plaguing our world today is the cause of some of our greatest suffering, both from a societal perspective as well as a personal one. One of my greatest hopes for our world is a reassessment of our relationship to things. We must become more conscious. It has been an off and on struggle for me, so I’m not claiming to be immune. Whether it’s clothing, books, or home accessories, I’ve succumbed to the allure of stuff. Often. But I am much more discerning than I once was, where and from whom I buy my goods is extremely important to me. Handmade, organic, or second hand are often essential. I want the energy of what I believe to match what I own.

As an artist and maker of things, I will probably never be a minimalist, but I do honor the importance of choosing quality over quantity. I’m also a great advocate for tidiness and for only buying or keeping in your home that which, to paraphrase William Morris “you know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

What we surround ourselves with ultimately informs what we do, how we act, and who we are. If surrounding ourselves with beauty uplifts us, if it makes us happier, more inspired, more generous, more at peace, then beauty itself is useful. I actually believe it can be transcendental. It lifts us up and out of our reality, connecting us with a greater, deeper, and truer source. So if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to release any idea of what a home “should” look like and create a home that is beautiful to you, that captures your unique spirit and, most importantly, brings you joy.

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Heidi Damata is a multifaceted artist and designer; bringing fresh, colorful, eclectic inspiration to whatever project she undertakes. For a number of years, Heidi designed events for the hospitality industry in Denver and managed non-profit fundraisers while living in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. While in the Bay Area, she found a position managing Wisdom House, a women-centered art gallery owned by her dear teacher and great friend, Shiloh Sophia McCloud. Heidi later moved back to Denver to open Soulrise Gallery, which showcased sacred art created by women and offered workshops and events promoting art as a spiritual practice.

After departing from gallery life to bring her son into the world, she started to explore new depths of personal creativity. She soon began creating custom jewelry, handcrafted pillows, home accessories and artwork, and did a few decorating and home styling jobs. Heidi also got bitten by the writing bug and started a Middle Grade Novel (still in the works). A few years ago, Heidi and her family moved back to the West Coast, this time to Los Angeles, where she is working on her current creative endeavors: custom wall murals and Colorful Soul Imprints; portraits which aim to capture the subject’s unique color, beauty, energy and essence. She’s also preparing for an immersive mixed media show of her work set for spring of 2018.

If Heidi’s not in her studio, or the yoga studio, you’ll find her obsessively reading, taking long walks, working on her house and yard, going to the beach or hanging out with her husband, son, two precious dogs, and the wonderful friends they are blessed to have close by!

 

Author: Cosmic Cowgirls Tribe

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