Our daughter Acacia (5) called The Owl House in Nieu Bethesda “The God place”. True art is spiritual, a link between mankind and infinity. It is a bridge between flesh and blood and that part of us which reaches for more, even when ‘more’ cannot be named and pinned down.
Helen Martins was a troubled soul, there is a tangible sadness in her home The Owl House. Despite this sadness or possibly enhanced by it, I felt quiet joy at The Owl House for beauty cannot help but inspire joy.
Helen and Koos Malgas worked together in creating the fascinating concrete sculptures in the garden. Many figures express yearning, arms reaching heavenward, in gestures which speak of a longing to cast off feet of clay.
Disney would have us see mermaids through coral tinted glasses while most mythology casts them as harbingers of peril. I saw the many statues of beckoning mermaids as symbols that Helen wanted to see mortal forms crushed against the rocks of reality, enabling the spirit to be free.
What captivated me most was the focus on light and colour. From the coloured glass window panes to the the interior walls and ceilings decorated with crushed glass. The glass speaks of brokenness but it speaks in the language of light. Reflections and light summarise the spirit of Helen Martins. Like the glass shards which she surrounded herself with, she was a fragmented soul. Perhaps on the awful day when she ended her life drinking caustic soda (drain cleaner) she wanted to leave the world of broken light and find wholeness in another life.