Stories From the Kitchen Table

Astrid Reischwitz

Atelier Griffin Museum of Photography

I have created Stories From the Kitchen Table to preserve and honor a fading way of life in my childhood home.
For me, going home means traveling to my family’s old farmhouse in a small village in Germany. It is the last remaining untouched house in the town. Going home evokes many different emotions. Most powerful is my need to document my childhood home, the people who passed through, and what, one day soon, will be left behind.

As a child, I spent hours alongside my family in the yard and family fields. There were flowers everywhere: beautifying the grounds and tables, etched into pottery, stitched into fabric and clothes. My grandmother taught me games and stories with flowers and how to create flower-like sculptures from cut dandelion stems.

When I visit, I absorb the ingredients of home: the flavors of dishes that are so familiar, and the same furnishings, photographs, knick-knacks, and worn kitchen tools, there since well before I was born. Most of all, the very essence of home for me is gathering around the kitchen table to sit down to a meal with family and friends and share stories old and new.

In Stories From the Kitchen Table, some of my composites include old family photos combined with what I see today when I return home. I add flowers and fragmented images of fabric: these dish towels, tablecloths, napkins, and decorative wall hangings, dating back to 1799, were passed down from generation to generation.

I create my images not only to keep these tales alive in my memory but also to honor my family, especially the women who lived and worked under the roof of this farmhouse. ------------------------------- In the picture is Gisela in Reischwitz, Germany.