Whether you've reached this blog willingly or by force I'm happy to have you here.
ersi marina's workroom is always open to the public, even when I am not in. Sometimes I need to sleep.
And to paint.
And to play with my four cats.
My name is Ersi Marina and I live in Spain though I was born and grew up in Athens, Greece. I kept it all very Mediterranean.
This blog is a means to share my work and snippets of my life, as well as to be in contact with you all. I hope you'll enjoy your visit.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

paper homes

Yesterday I bought 40 sheets of handmade paper online and they arrived by courier early this afternoon. That was quick!

Thirty sheets measuring 38 x 50 cms (15.2" x 20") and ten 28 x 36 cms (11.2" x 14.4"). They are 350 gs/m2 deckled-edge papers, 70% cotton fibre and 30% linen fibre. Fine-grained and beautifully textured. They are multi-technique papers, suitable for all wet and dry media techniques.

These are the papers I will use for my solo exhibition in May, titled 'paper homes'. It will be about the fragility of 'home', the precariousness of those walls that are supposed to protect us always, the instability that life can bring, the break-up of families, the ever-hovering void.

It has to do with my own experiences in life, the fact that I left my country and moved to Spain and the feeling, after all these years, that my home, the place where I belong, is still there, on the other side of the Mediterranean, where the sun is brighter, the vegetables are sweeter and the people are merrier.

Or not.

Is Greece still my home? Does the country I remember still exist or is it an entirely different reality, one that I cannot perceive from the distance? Do I still have a home? Where is it? Our home is inside us, I think, as much as we are inside it. A safe place, a place to go back to, come rain or come shine. In a way, our relationship with our home is a love story. As in the lyrics of the song:

I'm gonna love you,
Like nobody's loved you,
Come rain or come shine.
Happy together,
Unhappy together,
And won't it be fine?

Days may be cloudy or sunny.
We're in or we're out of money.
But I'm with you always.
I'm with you rain or shine.

Because no home can be home if we don't love it and if we don't feel loved back in there. It is the continent of our happiness and our sorrows, our dreams and nightmares, our hopes and frustrations. But it is. It has to be, to call it home.

And yet. So many times it's not. About 250 families are being evicted from their homes every day in Spain, because they can't pay their mortgages, given the economic crisis. Some housewives go to the market in the morning, only to come back and find the lock to their home has changed and they can't get in anymore. Others are being physically dragged out the door and thrown on the pavement when the police and the bank take over. I am not exaggerating, they are on the news every day.

They are also on my mind and they live in my paper homes.

Writing this entry is helping me clear my ideas. My feelings, really. The mystery of 'home'. The absence of 'home'. The frailty, the void.

However, the works in themselves will not be dramatic at all. On the contrary, they will be toned-down and humble. In a Wabi-Sabi way. At least that's my intention. Whispers can be so much more effective than shouts. I'll start posting photos of my work as soon as it has 'a face and eyes', as they say in Spain.


  1. Oh gosh Ersi, there is so much in this post of yours - mostly things that really tug at the heart and make you feel sad. Your story about the Spanish evictions are heartbreaking. There is such a difference between choosing to leave you home, your physical home, and being thrown out of your home. The other home one often loses is your birth home. I was born in South Africa and all my family - a very large one - stayed in South Africa. My mother divorced when I was young and she brought my brother and me out to Australia when I was six. We grew up with no family. I didn't get back to South Africa till I was 21 - and saw my father again and all my relations. The thing that struck me most was how AT HOME I felt on African soil. That never leaves. The other aspect of homes is the broken home and whether you are the cause of that or not, it too has a deep resonance within.
    What a huge subject you have chosen. I am glad you are going to speak of it in a whisper and not a shout. Can't wait to see what you do ....

    1. Dear Susan, I don't know if I should say that I'm pleased you understand my feelings or that I'm sad you do. Because this understanding comes from similar, painful experiences and I am certainly not happy you've had them. Growing up with no family, feeling at home in a place that belongs to the past, broken homes... My parents divorced when I was very little and my father died in a car accident when I was fourteen. All that happened so long ago and so far away that thinking about it is like being sucked into a huge vacuum pump.
      It is a huge subject indeed. I thought about it a lot before making up my mind and finally decided that the only work worth doing is the one that comes from the heart. That I should be honest with myself and with others, and try to put into my 'paper homes' all the love, pain, confusion and joy I have in me.


  2. Your thoughts are moving, provoking. I look forward to viewing the outcome of your heart onto that beautiful paper. And, yes, I agree, whispers speak more loudly into the heart.

    1. Thank you, Jo. I am so scared of the outcome I have trouble getting down to work every morning. That lovely white paper scares me, it makes me doubt. Will I meet its expectations? Will I meet mine?

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  4. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with this. The thought of losing the place that you should feel most secure in, not because of anything you've done( but because of politicians, bankers etc playing with things that affect ordinary peoples lives)is truly frightening

    1. It is frightening and an outrage. In Spain, if you loose your home to the bank, you have to keep on paying the remaining debt! And it hurts to see the tears amd desolation in those people's eyes.

      I'll do my best to honour my theme. Biting off more than I can chew is not new to me. Thanks so much for dropping in!

  5. It is amazing what a blank piece of paper can hold/convey, and I can see that your lovely, seemingly innocent pages are going to speak volumes. Such moving past experiences and current horrors you've shared in this post. It's a lot to think about, and much to mourn. I hope that the work you create for your solo exhibition is a positive (if challenging) experience for you...

    1. Thank you, Lisa! You say that 'it's a lot to think about and a lot to mourn. Very accurate! Work on my paper homes is not being easy but it is deeply gratifying. I have 3 or 4 unfinished pieces. Sometimes I do that, I work on more than one piece at a time, it helps me put them all in perspective. I don't really mind the sadness of the mourning, it's part of life. The joy is there too.


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