Reflecting on Honey, I’m Home

In the final episode of Honey, I’m Home, Chris Edser, Renate Henschke and Jonathon Oxlade look to their communities to discuss the importance of friendship. In a time of widespread isolation, Honey, I’m Home has seen artists collaborating via Zoom, phone calls and, yes, sometimes even in real life to create something new.

Here, the team reflects on the process of creating the series, the things they’ve learned and how it’s helped them develop a new understanding of the concept of home.

What was your biggest take away from Honey, I’m Home? What did you value most about the experience?

Chris Edser: For me Honey, I’m Home was an amazing opportunity to experiment and try some things I hadn’t done for a while, or at all. After years of working, I’d fallen into patterns that for me were effective and easy, but this project led us to all try new processes. I really valued being given the freedom and trust to make pieces with Renate and Jonathon that we may have talked about, but never had the opportunity to try. We’re good friends and have worked together before, but this project made me appreciate their skills and qualities as collaborators even more.

Renate Henschke: I think the biggest takeaway were the practical skills that I learnt throughout the process. Chris taught Jox and I learned how to use Dragonframe, which is a stop-motion animation software. We also learned how to rotoscope and I really enjoyed doing the illustration. I taught myself how to use Garageband, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while and I even got to make music for some of the episodes.

I also really value the opportunity we had to make this in the first place and being given total freedom from Windmill to follow our dreams and make these mini artworks. It was such a joy to work with two of my dear friends who I admire.

Jonathon Oxlade: Chris, Renate and I have been really good friends for a long time. The opportunity to work with them creatively and to upskill during this time has been a lot of fun. At the beginning of the process I wanted each of these artworks to provide a breath of fresh air from whatever was going on in people’s lives. To create the series has been such a joy. To have had the opportunity to release something into the world that we’ve  collaborated on with so many incredible artists has been a real privilege.

How did the series change as you made it? Did your initial vision for the episodes shift as everything began to develop?

CE: It started with us literally trying to use what was around our homes, but as the state opened up we tried to use the talented people in the Windmill Theatre family more and collaborate in different ways.

RH: I think when we first came up with the series, we had a really clear vision of what we wanted. But, part of the project was collaborating with artists that were on Windmill’s books for 2020. So, it was really fun setting them tasks and then responding to them. As much as we knew what we were doing and what we wanted, some of our ideas shifted once we saw their awesome ideas and contributions. It was a really lovely way to work.

What is the most useful household object when creating an animated series? What was your most used object/ utensil/ thing?

CE: I’m currently housesitting Jonathon’s place and came across Elizabeth Hay’s blue can-opener. Her performance in Honey, I’m Home was outstanding, but she also allowed me to get at some chickpeas.

How has the concept of ‘home’, or ‘staying at home’ changed for you since making the series?

CE: I learned to appreciate the value of having different spaces for different purposes, even if they are quite small and only used sometimes. Parts of my garden, my shed, my studio workroom and other parts of my house were utilised and appreciated during this project.

RH: I think I found the structure of the project and having to output an episode every two weeks really useful in getting through the initial hard time of when COVID first hit. It helped having to look inward and finding materials within the home and finding solutions that were there in front of you. I’ve always liked being at home, but it felt really nice being productive at home.

JO: Each of us travels a lot for work or, at least, is split between lots of different projects at any one time. While the year has been tough for a lot of reasons, the opportunity to have a singular focus and to get back to our craft and to develop… it was really special. Home has meant staying still and learning to enjoy the process of slowing down a bit, I think.

Honey, I’m Home is now streaming via Windmill at Home. Click here to watch.
Honey, I’m Home has been supported by the Government of South Australia through Arts South Australia’s COVID-19 Grants Program.

By Anthony Nocera

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