To quote Margaret Olley "I've never liked housework. I get by doing little chores when I feel like them in between paintings. Who wants to chase dust all their life? You can spend your whole lifetime cleaning the house. I like watching the patina grow. If the house looks dirty, buy another bunch of flowers is my advice"
I adore the sentiment.
However, in real life, I'm not the biggest fan of dust ( Hello asthma) ... so for a few years now, until yesterday, our house was a carpet free zone. I let the patina develop on our floorboards instead.But then, the house down the road was sold, a beautiful old brick, tile and fibro job with solid hips and dowdy knickers, and of course her new owners set about making her serviceable.
I knew she had lovely carpet so I asked if they were going to remove it. As luck would have it they were ripping it out and it was heading to the tip (gasp)
They were kind enough to get their tradesmen to rip it up and roll it up for me. I am so grateful. Isn't she lovely.
Now, I know that some parts of her are worn down and faded, but she whispers secrets of a by-gone era and for me that is precious.
So now, I have Axminster runners and rugs... I shall vacuum more often (maybe not) but I will know that I am sharing my house with a gorgeous part of the old house down the road ... a little piece of history, nearly lost forever. And, because I think she fits in just fine, I'm off to find another bunch of flowers :) For the memory of Margaret Olley and for a celebration of the parts of her light and shade that I find in myself.
Above is a photograph by Ben Rushton of the celebrated Australian Artist Margaret Olley at her home in Paddington 2010.