Happy 1st of December one and all, I excitedly awoke this morning and ran downstairs to open a tiny door with a number 1 written on it. A ritual I’ll perform everyday between now and the 24th of December.

I read that the tradition of advent calendars originated in mid-19th century Germany when Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count down the days to Christmas.
It’s at this time of year that I like to look back on the year and oh dear sleepless me, it has been quite a busy year for Made in Roath. Starting off with the night walk in January, Red Route in May and the festival in October. Not to mention a whole host of other events.

I thought it’d be fun to spend the next 24 days posting recap blogs on stuff we have been doing throughout the year (yes, I have a strange definition of “fun”). So lets begin with the festival itself, back in October when we had over 200 different happenings taking place all in one week.

One aspect that will always remain fondly in my memory will be this years Open Houses. There is something quite exciting about venturing into a strangers home, not quite sure what you’ll find. Part of you feels like you shouldn’t be there, that every inch of your British up bring of not making eye contact, always saying “bless you” when someone sneezes and never, ever, speaking to someone on public transport is urging you to turn and flee.

Once you make it through the door and into the home and once you have doubled, tripled and quadruple check the event brochure and house number to make absolute sure you are in the right place and haven’t accidentally wandered into the wrong house you are greeted by wonder.

In every Open House I visited this year I discovered Wonder. Wonder in different ways and in different formats but wonder nonetheless. It was the wonder in an old school victorian photography studio in one kitchen. Wonder in finding the Kickplate projects hanging snow covered landscape in a front room. Wonder in the student house with the watercolour paintings on the stairs, the corner shop with an artist painting portraits, the house with the biggest hallway I’ve ever seen displaying a fine collection of pottery, my list is endless. At every venue something amazing was there to see.

I also noticed a common thread amongst which ran through each Open House; the fantastic spirt of the community and the willingness and good nature of people to open up their homes this year (and for the last nine years) to show art. To turn their homes into an art gallery for the week.

I am reminded by the inscription adorning Christopher Wren’s epitaph “not for profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek monument – look around you.”