parade of life

Paula Jardine


Tiny Little Homes

A project led by my daughter, Lucy Cairns, tiny little homes invites people to play in the forest. Using mostly found materials, participants create tiny homes, and stories about their inhabitants.

This activity is great for all ages, though people 8 and under should bring an older assistant.

Contact: Lucy Cairns

Artist Statement

Tiny Little Homes. March 21st.2010

“Tiny Little Homes” is an invitation to play. I gather materials like bark, leaves, moss and twigs - mostly from the site - and start making little structures with roofs. If anyone nearby is looking interested, or asks me what I’m doing, I invite them to play with me. They are welcome to use anything that I have brought, and gather their own materials from nearby.

I had made some ladders and signs, to give people an idea of the game I was playing, and also in case someone wanted to use them. (the ladders take longer to make). There was one little boy who was wishing he had a ladder for the fort he had made with his Dad, but they were having trouble figuring out how to make one. The little boy was wandering around looking for something that could work. I held out one of my ladders and I said “Would this work?” ; he gave me a big smile and ran off with it, shouting “Look Look Dad I found a ladder!”

There started to be a slide theme; two girls built a tipi like house with a bark slide coming down from the roof, the boy beside them then instructed his mom that he would like one too. They found a broken straw and leaned it up against their fort. A few other people used this idea as well. Makes sense; slides are fun!

While lots of people were influencing each other, there were also houses that were completely unique, like one that was just platforms on a twig, tied on with string I had brought, and another that was some twigs stuck in the ground with a pile of leaves on top of them. Nearby were some mole hills that I added doors and welcome mats to.

One of my favourite moments was when someone who was watching us do it almost stepped on one of the houses and said “Agh! I feel like anywhere I step I’m going to step on someone’s house! Hey, I guess that’s kind of true.”

This was the second time I have played Tiny Little Homes at a public event. It’s a really honest way to spend time with people. It doesn’t make garbage. Yeah, it’s a game that I came up with, but it’s not my game, it’s just a game I like to play with other people.

Lucy Cairns. March 23, 2010