Thursday, 13 March 2008

Some turtles have nice shells

WHEELED HOMES stir something in me, something that is perhaps a mixture of delight in memory, in the imagery of wheels and in all things nomadic. My first birthday was spent in this lovely old Bedford removal van, changed by my parents into a travelling home which we took across Europe and to the snows of southern Bavaria where they worked as woodcarvers. And these memories, so fond and vivid have always stayed with me. (Yes that's a little Rima in the doorway)

Since then I have painted wheels on houses and wheels on people, wheels on creatures and wheels on teapots ... I think perhaps one day my legs might curl up into a circle and grow spokes.


There is something beautiful in the turning gypsy wheel and the colourful skeleton of a wooden home that can move itself to another place, all the while taking with it kettles and beds and fire and books and family and stories.

I have just found a most delightful book which houses a treasury of housetrucks - a sort of American cousin of the gypsy caravan, written by Roger Beck who himself built four of these strange and outrageously beautiful vehicles. There is a ridiculousness to these housetrucks which I love ~ intricate wooden shacks clutching like a tortoiseshell onto an old characterful truck, complete with shingles and little dormer windows, porches and hobbit doors. Somehow I think that this sort of thing would attract the wrong kind of attention nowadays in the UK; it seems that the wilder countries with more open space like New Zealand and America have been places where these kinds of vehicles could exist.
The book Some Turtles Have Nice Shells can be bought directly from Roger Beck's website, and I wholeheartedly recommend its 191 treasurechest-pages, full with pictures of housetrucks' and buses' rustic outsides and cosy ins.

And if you like this then also try ...
Rolling Homes: Handmade Houses on Wheels by Jane Lidz and
Freewheeling Homes (The House that Jack Built Series) by David Pearson.



We have lately been nipping out in between snow and rain to begin the transformation of our lovely Bedford TK. So far we've managed to rip out the innards to make a blank wooden canvas to build our ideas on. After a few months of hammering and sawing and sewing and dreaming, we hope to have made our very own horsebox home on wheels which will carry us and our chattels to nooks and crannies and festivals and forests far and near.

24 comments:

AnnieElf said...

I've never seen so many fun and creative homes on wheels. I especially like the picture you as a child in the little doorway. And now, lucky you, all grown up, still doing it.

Lady Em said...

How neat!! I think I want one!! It must be amazing to travel Europe like you do. I think it's an amazing way to live!!

Shelley Noble said...

Everything out of your mouth sounds like the very best of folktales!

Blog Princess said...

What wonderful pictures! What I love about your blog is that your posts are fresh, unpredictable, informative, charming, erudite - the works!

Marina said...

Rima, I found your blog last night. I love everything about it. You are very talented.
Good luck.
Marina

Jess said...

There's something very comforting about seeing a whole home within a vehicle. When my first two children were babies I lived in an old converted ambulance with other 'travellers' but like you said, in the UK that sort of life isn't particularly welcome and wasn't then. I think I was lucky to have experienced it though :)

PG said...

Sadly you are right about the UK and their aversion to anything vaguely not 'normal'. It's ok inbetween teh pages of Country Living, but not in real life.
What a fantastic collection of wheely homes, I've bookmarked the site for when my piggy bank is a bit fuller. You will make a lovely wheely home of your own, I can almost see it now...

willowmanor said...

I loved seeing your childhood picture, Rima! Art and traveling are in your blood! I am amazed by every one of your wonderful posts and look forward to each one with enthusiasm!! :)

Ulla said...

Rima my dear, you bring remembered wonder-lust back to my heart! Bring your 'housetruck' here to the states, and we will welcome you with open arms!!! Love your childhood photo, we have so much in common... Have you seen this post?
http://ullam.typepad.com/ullabenulla/2006/04/spring_fever.html

Hugs from California, where we adore altered states of living!

MCM said...

Rima - I love your blog and your art. I am really looking forward to exploring. - Morna :-)

Robyn said...

Enchanting! Entering your blog is like stepping into a fairytale.

c said...

hi, I have always wanted to do this! lazy I suppose plus the fact that irelands wet weather always daunted me.
check out these guys for inspiration. They did a beautidul job of converting the school bus. You can see photos of the interior and the construction. The end result is fantastic..
http://www.enchantedgypsy.blogspot.com/

Elizabeth said...

I love your mobile homes!
In the US they tend to call them trailers. Weird.
Your choices are most charming.

Gordon Fraser said...

How do our Rima! Sorry I haven't visited fer a wee while...been busy! Gad dammit! I love your blog...I shall returneth to peruse properly later! Love the first photo with Mini Rima....!

Don't forget to check out my Farmageddon bloggy...gotta a new mini animation up there !

Take care chuck!
goth

Joanna said...

I love all the wheely homes, I love the idea of the freedom of it,

tumbleweed said...

these are wonderful (or maybe wander-ful)...i've always detested contemprary caravans and sobbed with laughter at the Top Gear episode in which one was decimated...had a hankering for a true gypsy caravan but always held back by the thought of a poor horse having to drag it about...now i have the perfect solution

G3T Films said...

Your little carved wooden house is fantastic. I imagine it being pulled along a dusty back road by a loosely harnessed gaggle of geese while one of your music playing characters sitting storeys above the roads singing to the moon.

The trucks, of course, are just hiding their geese under the engine bay. :) Great machines, I can understand your love of them.

Isabel said...

I arrived via a comment you left on India Flint's blog...it was like clicking my heels and everything turned to magic...love the artwork, the spellbinding drawings, the trigger to that side of us who wants out to experience the magic of our youth, those stories we were told by our ancient aunts with voices who kept us on our tippy toes wanting more...and more.
Beautiful work! I have to bring my 12-year-old for a visit :)

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

What an amazing post - love the collection of photos. I've seen something like this on the camp site at Fort William, though the roof bedroom section opened out on a massive wagon. All the best with the
van - wish we had one!

The Razzler said...

Wow, I've just found your blog and your work is wonderful! Can't wait to delve in some more.

www.akiterises.blogspot.com said...

As always, so much to admire in your words and art, so much magic and poetry, and such a wonder-full imagination at work. I love the houses on wheels and reading of your past connections to them is riveting stuff ; ) Great post.

miss rika said...

Good gracious heavens. The woman with the long braid sitting atop the thatch is ME. I ought to due for copyright, or . . . something . . . or maybe just daydream over all your paintings for another two hours (the White Rabbit and I are good friends).

Would you mind terribly if I put the picture of the woman with the braid on my blog, with a link to this page? You have such a lovely imagination.

quaintcuriosity said...

I discovered the Rolling Homes book right after college, and spent many months fantasizing about saving up for an old school bus, and doing it up like an old fashioned gypsy caravan, to be a home and art studio on wheels. I ended up following different pursuits, but I am very much enjoying seeing your gypsy truck come together--living my old dream vicariously though you perhaps?

Diane said...

Hi, I am Roger Beck's step- daughter, Diane. I lived in his beautiful house truck for 3 years as an 8,9 and 10 year old. I appear in the book under "kids", and wrote the page describing my experience. It was a very magical time, and I was lucky to have had an opportunity to step outside the mainstream. I became extremely bonded with nature, which will last my whole lifetime, even though I am a city girl now.
I'm glad you like the book, he did a great job with it, and the experiences I had, from cozy nights in my loft with the potbellied stove red hot and the rain pelting down on my skylight, directly over my head, to gatherings at campgrounds with other housetruck and bus folk, sharing a potluck meal at the picnic tables, will always be a part of me.
Your art is amazing,by the way. Please feel free to check my website at dianerios.com or my blog at dianeriosblog.blogspot.com.
May I link to you site from mine?

Cheers,
Diane