The main purpose of the Domythic Bliss blog is to answer the question of how to create a mythically inspired abode. However, one question that I have yet to address is another basic query...why create a mythically inspired abode?
1. To honor the place where you live
There's a quote I found recently from Mark Twain that I especially love. "To us our house was not unsentient matter--it had a heart & a soul & eyes to see us with, & approvals & solicitudes & deep sympathies; it was of us, & we were in its confidence, & lived in its grace & in the peace of its benediction. We never came home from an absence that its face did not light up & speak out its eloquent welcome--& we could not enter it unmoved."
If you ever get a chance to see Mark Twain's house, you will agree it is definitely a Domythic abode, with Walter Crane wallpaper in the nursery, and wonder around every corner. But Twain wasn't just lucky enough to live in a rare home with a personality and a spirit...he acknowledged the presence of a soul in his home that can be present in any abode where people live, grow, share emotions, and tell their stories. He helped to create the environment around him that helped to tell the story of the house.
This is one reason to decorate Domythically...because the places where we live deserve it. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in a house with some history owe it to this place that has sheltered others before us to help reveal and share its story with others and celebrate it among ourselves. And those of us who live in new homes have a blank page ahead of us on which to write the beginning of the story of a new home that may shelter many after us. Domythic decorating is about storytelling, and those of us who love it do so in part because we love stories. But the primary story we have a duty to tell is the story of the home we live in. This is why I find it so jarring when people who own a Victorian home decorate the inside with modern minimalism, say, or someone who owns a cottage decorates in safari prints. I understand a home is a reflection of the people inside, but we should show respect to the home itself by decorating in a manner that flows with the style of the house.
2. To never, ever grow up.
Have you ever been over to a person's house, and you gawk and wonder at how pristine and well put-together it is, but you feel like you have to perch at the edges of the cushions? You look around at the decor of the room, and everything matches...you can tell they bought the drapes to match the pillows, the shower curtain to match the trash basket. It's very pretty...very styled. In fact, maybe they even hired a decorator to put it all together. The bathroom is so huge, you could hold a masked ball in the middle of the floor between the jacuzzi tub and the double sinks. But there's no life in it at all whatsoever. The person decorates that way because it's what society tells them they should want. Similarly, many people graduate college and enter the real world, and over a period of time...sometimes a few years, sometimes a few decades...they lose all sense of what it is to be childlike...not childish, but childlike in their sense of wonder and imagination. They cut their long braids into short business-like haircuts they maintain monthly. They throw away their gypsy skirts and velvet and put on business suits and pantyhose.
Now, mind you, I am aware that not all of us work at places where we can dress in Froud-print t-shirts and hand-painted Chuck Taylors. Not everyone who wears suits and heels is automatically the enemy. But there's a certain energy you can feel from someone who you know has a secret stash of faerie postcards in her cubicle drawer, and someone who you can tell has just given in to the disease we and Peter Pan know as "growing up." And for those of us who have to hide our dreaming souls during the work day, having a place to come to that is all about art and creativity and storytelling and wonder and imagination and myth and fairy tales (I get excited just writing all those words in a row) is essential to our well being. It's a way of balancing out the world of politics and bills and budgets and shopping lists we have to live in with a reminder that we are always, at heart, the little boys and girls who played imaginary games with our pet dragons and unicorns.
3. To be a part of the story movement
The amazing artist (and incredible writer) Rima Staines recently wrote a post on the first day of 2012. I could summarize it here, but then you might not go over there and read it, so instead I'll just link it here so you have to! But in the post, she discusses the idea of a subtle revolution against the bland, homogenous and commercial aspect of modern society. I was definitely roused and inspired by the idea of this revolution or movement. It got me thinking about how we all are participating in a subtle revolution by trying to carry on and revive the folklore and fairy tales from our mythic history. We are like the green eco-movement, only our goal is to save folklore instead of nature (although of course the two go hand in hand!) We want to save the stories of the past, and create new ones.
I work at my local library, and my boss, knowing my preferences, put me in charge of shelving and maintaining the fairy tale section of the children's department. I've discovered more and more over the years I've worked there that the fairy tale section is among the least utilized in the library. Of course, there are many books in other areas of the library that are liberally inspired by fairy tales, but it's sad to see fewer and fewer parents reading their children the original source material. Painting quotes from romantic poets and fairy tales on your walls may not seem revolutionary, but all of us together, through surrounding ourselves with fairy tales and myths and supporting the mythic arts, help keep modern storytellers and the arts alive.
4. Because it just feels right
In October of 2008, my husband and I were married. We had a simple elopement to a local park. Only the minister (also a photographer), my husband and I were present. My mom and I made my wedding dress together, a purple dupioni silk medieval-inspired gown with autumn leaves embroidered on the bodice and the full skirt. When I showed people our wedding pictures after, I frequently was told how great it was that I wore purple, etc. But let me tell you...I went to David's Bridal long before the wedding and tried on dresses there. And standing on the platform in a strapless gown and veil, I felt more like I was in costume than I have at any sci fi con or ren faire I've attended. Wedding gowns are gorgeous. Wedding gowns are perfect if they feel just right to you. But wearing that purple gown on my wedding day wasn't done to make a statement or be different...it was done because it was a reflection of who I am inside, and felt natural.
Okay, I hope you see where I'm going with this. Our houses are like that purple gown. We don't fill our houses with quirky and fantastical and magical objects in order to impress others or do what people expect of us. We simply do it because it is what comes naturally to us. It is, simply put, an expression of what we love.
In closing, I wanted to include a few quotes from Domythic readers from the Facebook group. I recently asked the same question..."WHY Domythic?" to the group, and got some really great responses."For me it is the dissatisfaction with the mundane 'real' world, the feeling of not really belonging in this time and place. It is magic and myth that calls to me and gives me that elusive sense of belonging, and that is reflected in what I chose to surround myself with. My home is literally a refuge from the outside world so it really couldn't be anything but an interpretation of the magic and myth that I love! It is also very beautiful, and generally upholds a craftsman ethic - I can't understand why so many manufactured goods are just downright ugly. I totally understand 'form follows function' and simplicity has a beauty in itself, but there is no excuse for poor design whether you're talking about a doorknob or a kettle or a house or car." -Bryony Whistlecraft
" I have always needed for there to be more to the world than meets the eye, and for me to feel truly at home in a place, the decorating has to echo that to a certain degree... I grew up peering down rabbit holes and digging around in the backs of wardrobes in the search of magic, and nothing has changed as I've got older - if anything, I am worse now!" -Ali English
" I don't make a conscious attempt to express it in my home decor. Yet the things that charm and delight me are much the same as they've always been: organic, nature-inspired forms - animals, mushrooms, Art Nouveau; natural objects like shells and feathers; pretty things - lace, embroidery, coloured and reflective glass. I'm often drawn to objects with nostalgic appeal - framed children's book illustrations, a glass sweet jar full of marbles, my Peter Rabbit egg cup. So what is the common theme? Bryony spoke of feeling out of place in the mundane "real" world. Many of us share that dissatisfaction with the world. Can there be anyone who doesn't sense that there's something wrong with the world, or with us? I believe that deep down we all yearn to return to a simpler, innocent time, to be more in touch with nature, especially with our own true nature and innocence. So, sensing that what we've lost is buried somewhere in our past, we turn to ancient myths, and things that recall happy memories of childhood." - Helen Virginia Bye
"When I was little, my parents didn't have a lot of money, but they made sure we always had books. I grew up on fairytales and mythologies of every country imaginable. Those early childhood fantasies of "I wish I was there..." left me with the desire to re-create some of those dreams within my own home, so I do! The collection of beautiful brass pieces on top of my dresser remind me of Ali Baba's cave, the glass balls hanging over the kitchen table are tangible soap bubbles blown by fairies, and all the artist's dolls, Pre-Raphealite pictures, the art glass, instruments, wreaths and loops of leaves and greenery ...well, you need no excuse for beauty." - PattyLynn Winters
"Well, the need to create a safe place, a cocoon of my own. And the stronger-than-me way of making sense of everything that is in my head. I dress/decorate the way I listen to music and see art. It's a whole. I need my inside to be coherent and reflected on the outside." - Alexandrion Drallipo
"I just need to be living a magical and creative life. The more we tend to make things cold and sterile in the world, destroying nature and ignoring beauty as we build and make things, the more it hurts my heart to see, and I need to counter that in my own existence. Stories and imagination and enchantment are great for that. So domythic bliss all the way!" - Shveta Thakrar