Thursday, 8 January 2009

The Power of Transformation...


'You can't be at the pole and at the equator at the same time - you must choose your line, as I hope to do - and it will probably be colour.' Vincent Van Gogh

When I was a very little girl, I lived with my parents in a tiny, timber workers cottage in inner city Sydney - an industrial part of town mostly made up of factories and warehouses with a few little cottages dotted around the place filled with immigrant workers and their families who came to Australia with the hope of finding a better life. 

It was a very humble, kind of run down first abode - comprising two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom with the loo outside in the garden - but it was all that my parents could afford at the time and they were happy to have a roof over their head and a place to call their own. My mother, with little means but always the avid decorator, set about putting her own stamp on the interior. She chose a warm palette of caramels, rustic reds and oranges for the lounge room and kitchen and pinks for the bathroom. It was a blue and green striped, woolly bedspread that would set the palette for my bedroom. 

My room was simply furnished - with a single bed, chair and dresser - but that didn't stop my mother infusing a sense of excitement into the space with colour and texture. I remember well watching her transform the old, inexpensive pine dresser and chair from dull to electrifying with a tin of cobalt blue paint and a paintbrush. Glossy blue paint was all that she used to turn my simple room into an exciting space, full of colour and energy. A space that made me feel alive and filled me with a sense of pride and excitement about who I was, where I lived and my place in the world.

Watching my mother be creative in this way taught me a valuable lesson about the power of transformation. That with a little thought, time and love - you can turn a room (or your life) into something more than it was before. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live or how much money you have - we all have it in us to make things better. 

That's my hope for this year ahead - that we find it within ourselves to transform what was into something that better reflects who we are and how we want to live. All that it takes is time, thought and love - and maybe a tin of glossy blue paint - but the results will be electrifying. That much I'm sure of....

pic by Prue Ruscoe from sense of style: colour

20 comments:

HappySquirrel said...

Dear Shannon, You are such an inspiring person! I first bought your book on Colour, then I found you in Inside Out, and now I follow your blog avidly. It is wonderful for me to have access to you in so many ways. I very much admire your work, the way you write, your view of the world. Congratulations and Happy New Year!

Cathy Louise said...

That is so beautifully written Shannon. As you know I feel exactly the same about my space and my life ahead of me and hopefully like your mum we are passing on some of creative spirit to our children. Kirstie has sat by me all day designing and helping me with a small range of valentine's charms and she has constantly had the biggest smile on her face....I am very blessed to be a mum the biggest gift the world ever gave me..... Happy New Year to you....Love Cathy xxx

Barb Fisher said...

This is a lovely sentiment Shannon. It's very appropriate for me today, as I have just written a small list of new year's resolutions (I'm not normally one for doing this). Basically, I am hoping to bring some focus into my life with the goal being achieving some tangible results in 2009. I like the analogy of painting my life electric blue!

Happy New Year to you, I am looking forward to seeing a little bit of life through your eyes in the year ahead.

Room design studio said...

Amen to the power of change and commitment to change ourselves and our world into better people and safer environment!

Nicole said...

What a beautiful story.

Anna Spiro said...

Here, here!!

A very inspiring post Shannon!
x
Anna

Shannon Fricke said...

Happy New Year everyone...
I have a good feeling about this one - a year where we can regroup and remember that it's the little things that make us feel the most complete. Bring it on....
Sx

megan said...

Thats it, im officially inspired! im off to complete the spare room/study makeover i started 3 months ago...Thats way too long to be staring at mess and clutter.. Thankyou Shannon.

Anonymous said...

ohlala, you spoke to me this morning. This is just what I needed to start working with what I have, improve my surroundings and not wait anymore to win the lottery or some other miracle. Your post was profoundly inspiring for me. Merci, thank you!. Louise in Canada

Kimberlee said...

Shannon - a beautiful new year to you. Thank you for such an inspiring post. So many little things I want to do around my home, and a new kitchen is on the cards. I've always loved colour but when I look around my home, from linens to crockery it's all white - how can I be afraid to use something I love so much. That will be my resolution - first stop for further inspiration - your book (that has been on loan to friends who I helped style their home for sale, it sat beautifully on their coffee table - thanks!! ) x

Sylvie said...

Amen to that!
I can very much relate to your roots, and how they've coloured your sense of style and creativity.
Looking forward to cozying up with your new book; I just ordered it :)
Just for fun, a photo with my electric blue chest of drawers:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sosylvie/2085115235/in/set-72057594141716872/

Happy new year wishes!

Angela Henrie said...

That is so inspiring...I hope my kids get some of that from me.

kylie said...

lovely post....and that blue in the photo is just amazing

AlexB said...

Beautifully written. And so true.

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Michelle said...

Lovely story and that color blue makes me happy.

Primrose said...

Aah, you made me cry!!! I spent the whole day miserable about our cramped inner-city terrace and wishing we had more storage and a pool. You always inspire me and take me to a better place with your Blog!
Happy New Year, Shannon. I'll do my best to paint mine in electric blue (or pink) xx

Michelle Parks McCourt said...

Very inspiring. Love your blog.

Down Comforter said...

Love the blue photo! So true that you needn't have a lot of money to transform a space, just some imagination & (most importantly) time :)

Karen said...

Hi Shannon,
That's such an inspiring post - I too was feeling miserable about where I'm living right now - dreaming my house looked like a magazine layout. Your words remind me to live in the moment and to be grateful to be alive and healthy. Thank you so much. You made my day.