Novel gift idea for homesick offspring

2010-03-25 00:00

HOMESICKNESS is something many South Africans who have left the country are familiar with, but two local women have discovered a creative way to keep the homesickness pangs at bay.

Witness garden writer Jean Mitchell and local artist and holistic therapist Rose van Staden, dreamt up and created a painting for Mitchell’s son who now lives in Switzerland.

But it is not just any painting, this watercolour “tells the story of his birth home and everything he loves”, says Mitchell.

The painting is a personal portrayal of all the objects that Haydon (Mitchell’s son) grew up with: “Like the soup pot on the stove — we always have food in the house for anyone who needs it — and the cricket bat and hockey stick as my husband was a South African sportsman,” says Mitchell.

Mitchell did not tell Van Staden what to paint. She knows the family so well she was able to pick out “the things that have significance in their family. It’s a little journey about their lives,” she explained.

Van Staden ventured around their home and garden and took photographs of significant objects. She describes the painting, which took a few days, as “a labour of love”.

Mitchell thinks this aesthetic reminder of home is a great gift idea.

“There are so many people like me and my husband who sit in South Africa while their children are overseas. I thought maybe other people would be able to send something like this as a gift to their kids who are missing home.”

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