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Robinwood Robinwood Robinwood Robinwood

On 01, Aug 2016 | In | By jilliadmin

Robinwood

Robinwood was Mae and Jim. With blueprints lifted from the December 1946 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, Robinwood was the house that my maternal grandparents built together and made their own with sweat, luck, and modest means on northern Michigan cow pasture land. And it was the locus of their lives for sixty years.

Installation images, press release, and details from ROBINSONG @ Classic Cars West (Oakland, CA / 2016) >

Installation images from ROBINWOOD @ Hinterland Art Space (Denver, CO / 2014) >

 

Introduction
Mae and Jim with Gretchen
Robinwood Foundation
Robinwood Skeleton
Robinwood with Jim on Ladder
Robinwood with Mae and Carlson Women
Robinwood in Winter

 

Better Homes & Gardens Blueprints
Better Homes and Gardens (December 1946)
Better Homes and Gardens (December 1946)
Better Homes and Gardens (December 1946)
Better Homes and Gardens (December 1946)

 

Robinwood Exterior
Robinwood Front: King and Carlson Women
Robinwood Front: Maggie and Miriam Holding Hands
Robinwood Front: Jim and Axel Making Ice Cream
Robinwood Front: Mae Raking Grass
Robinwood Front: Girls with Snowman
Robinwood Front: Margy with Cousin Alan
Robinwood Front: Browne with Cars
Robinwood Front: Driveway
Robinwood Back: Marg Gardening
Robinwood Back: Margy with Nasturtiums
Robinwood Back: Jim and Margy Building Addition
Robinwood Back: Hup Harvesting Green Beans
Robinwood Back: Marg Scaling Fish
Robinwood Back: Margy with Bushel
Robinwood Back: Picnic Table
Robinwood Back: Maggie and Jill Blowing Bubbles

 

Robinwood Interior

 

Lilla Stuga
Lilla Stuga
Lilla Stuga: Jim Building
Lilla Stuga: Margy with Bed-full of Dolls
Lilla Stuga: Jill with a Wagon-full of Dolls

 

The End
Robinwood from the Road
The Road from Robinwood

 

Cyanotype and gum dichromate with watercolor on paper mounted to panel
Sizes vary from 16 x 20 inches to 6 x 6 inches
2014

 

Artist’s Statement

Robinwood was Mae and Jim. With blueprints lifted from the December 1946 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, Robinwood was the house that my maternal grandparents built together and made their own with sweat, luck, and modest means on northern Michigan cow pasture land. And it was the locus of their lives for sixty years.

Today, Robinwood is gone. To me. It still stands, but it is not ours. Another family, complete with three young boys, holds the title. How strange that seems, after Robinwood had only girls for all its years prior. Gampa would have liked that. This change happened last year.

The year before that, Gamma had still been the matriarch of Robinwood. Widowed, Mae and her cat Boo held down the homestead in the wake of Jim’s slow passing. But when Mae died, Robinwood ended, too.

For the years before that, Robinwood had been the destination of our annual summer pilgrimages. I was the only grandchild. Thus, it was an ecstatically anticipated visit to the handsome white house that epitomized my devoted grandparents — a site of copious attention, play, calm, quiet, and formal family meals.

Years before that, Robinwood had also been the site of attention, play, calm, quiet, and formal family meals for my mother and her little sister, along with the aches and pains of growing up shy and bookish in a small town. The King Girls moved away from Robinwood for good after high school to lives marked by higher education, travel, and liberal outlooks.

Throughout, Robinwood was also a home for the women in Mae’s family. Bedrooms for her mother and two elder sisters, in turn, when living elsewhere was no longer desirable or feasible. At Robinwood, they were loved and cared for. And the women gave back as they could until the end of their own days.

By virtue of Robinwood’s manner of creation and life, the bones of the house were themselves endowed with the aura of Mae and Jim. Releasing it was wrenching, giving rise to an aching longing for its creators and its comforts. What you see here is a re-creation of the story of Robinwood that seeks to both contain and extend its life. Through a merging of archaic photographic printing methods with painting that mines the family’s archives, I have attempted to echo Jim and Mae’s handiwork.

Welcome to Robinwood.

Jillian Maia (King) (Weiss) Piccirilli
Oakland, CA