Book Review: Home by Jeannie Baker (It is also titled Belonging)
Home is one of the many, many books created by collage construction artist, Jeannie Baker. This book is the companion to another book of Baker’s, Window. Where Window creatively documents the urban sprawl of a suburb through the changing view from the window, Home/Belonging documents the hopeful reverse, where the concrete jungle of the city becomes slowly transformed into a lush green community space for the residents and native creatures. You can read more about the ideas of this wonderful book on Jeannie Baker’s website.
If a picture paints a thousand words, then Jeannie Baker’s, often wordless books, speak volumes about community, culture, the environment and changing times. There is a reason they are on the NSW English suggested texts lists for Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. They speak to people of all ages through the different layers of meaning.
Jeannie Baker demonstrates extreme levels of patience with her artmaking method, building up collages, layer by layer after dreaming up the idea, creating the images to work from and sourcing all of the varied materials. We have been fortunate enough to visit an exhibition of her collage works from her books and they are truly inspiring.
To extend the learning from this book, there are so many things you could do.
- Collect materials and design and make your own collage construction.
- Look at old photos of your own city, town or environment and see how it has changed over time.
- Brainstorm ways to include more native plants in your community.
- Research what the environmental issues are in your local community and think about what you could do to help solve these problems.
- Write a description of a community from the perspective of two families. One perspective from today and one perspective from fifty years ago.
For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.