A Home with 100 years of Family History March 29, 2016 10:24 2 Comments

One of the most memorable custom pieces I've created this past year captures a truly heartwarming story. Kimberly Allison and her mother commissioned me to create a custom plate with an inlaid image her grandmother’s home.

Kim’s grandfather was born in the house in the 1920’s and her grandmother has lived there since they were married in the '40s. Her mother was born and raised there and her grandmother often cared for her there as a child, so this one home holds almost 100 years of family history. Unfortunately, her grandmother’s health began to fail and she was forced to move out of the home. Kim and her mother wanted her to have a way to remember the home.

Kim asked me to include some special details from around the house including the garage, the fence and the rock wall, because in her words, “they each have different memories that are just as important as the structure.

She explained, “The garage is where my grandpa always worked on his car and made grilled chicken for me when I was a kid. The fence is stockade now, but it used to be white picket that separated my grandma’s yard from my Aunt Phyl’s. My mom’s cousins grew up there, and they were almost like siblings. And I’ve always thought of the rock wall as the home’s pedestal, lifting it from the ground and making it feel that much more sturdy to me.”

“I was nervous that my grandma might not recognize it as her house simply because her health was failing rapidly and she really hadn’t seen in from the outside for quite a long time, but as soon as she opened it she said, “Oh, it’s my house!” and loved it! She immediately asked my mother to find somewhere to put it where she could see it from her bed, which is the highest compliment a piece can get from my grandmother.”

Since leaving the home, Kim’s grandmother has been living in hospice care in an assisted living facility. She keeps the plate in a stand on her bureau surrounded by photos of her family where she can see it and its many memories every day.

To Kim, “The finished piece is exactly what I was hoping for! It’s hard to put into words what it means to me, but it feels like a record of and tribute to the home’s impact on our lives. One of the things I love most about Nicole’s illustrations is that they transcend time. Her carving of my grandma’s home could be from a ‘20s photo when my grandpa was a baby, or it could be from when my mom was walking her dog on the lawn in the ‘50s, one of my birthday parties in the ‘90s, or the day I took the photo in 2015. She captured the right details to make the home come to life and call to mind memories from any point in our history with it.”

In addition she says, “You can see in the finished work how much Nicole enjoys being a part of the stories behind the custom pieces she creates and the care that she takes with each request. At some point I hope to commission pieces of my mom’s home and mine to create a set of three generations of family memories.”


Interested in creating a custom piece of your own? Visit my custom work page for more information!