The preamble to this project suggests having in mind an end product textile, whether it be a complete item or part of a larger piece of work. At the same time we are recommended not to focus too heavily on this too early on to allow for creativity to flow. This leads me to feel on the one hand that I should be seeking to plan for a particular end product, whilst on the other hand I should allow for changes in direction. The whole thing is a slightly daunting prospect but one I am willing to tackle full on and see where it gets me!
So far I have been inspired by images from my immediate environment of gates and doorways, and also by the more colourful entrances from the mediterranean and other locations where the strong sunlight is complemented by strong brightly coloured paintwork and decoration. I have compiled a Pinterest board full of vibrant images of doorways that have captured my imagination and would like to use them as inspiration for colour development.
I have been drawn to use the word “entrance” as a starting point for my theme project and so far I have compiled a small sketchbook with cuttings, photographs and some sketches inspired by this word directly. I have found that researching into the use of the word itself has produced some very useful avenues of further investigation but that it was very easy to get side-tracked and a little too focused on one particular idea so I have tried to keep things open and varied up to this point.
An initial idea for an end product that was formed early on came from looking at doorways and the concept that the opening was similar to the opening of the front of a coat. I could see that a person wearing a large overcoat, perhaps left unbuttoned, was like a head coming through a low doorway. The collar might be the pediment or lintel over the doorway, the open coat front like the door opening and the sleeves the door frame, etc. So this line of development is immediately obvious and could have a strong end product, even if I only made part of the coat as a final piece.
At the same time as developing this idea I was also thinking about the word “entrance” in the way that you might “make an entrance”, the more nebulous concept of entry such as debutantes entering into society, babies entering the world, and the feelings this might evoke. This led me to think about my own personal experience of entering the world, homes, society, work, other peoples lives. I thought about all the places I had entered then I began to compile a list of the places I had lived in since birth. I found I needed to specify that these should be proper homes and not just holiday visits. I decided that a stay of two weeks or more would be more home than holiday and came up with a list of 15 locations that fitted this criteria. Looking at the list in chronological order I realised that there was one location where I have lived more than once, entered into innumerable times that, although not officially my own home, I feel was most like home to me.
This is my maternal grandparent’s home, an old stone terraced house in a village in the Somerset Mendips. This was the place my parents brought me after we came home from the hospital in London where I was born. My mother and I stayed for a good few months whilst my father found work and a place of our own to live. This was the place I came to stay for Christmas and Easter holidays every year and many weekends in between to spend time with my English grandparents, my only other close family living in this country, other than my parents, having no brothers or sisters nor aunts, uncles or cousins as both my parents were also only children.
As a young woman this was the place I stayed to help my grandfather look after my dying grandmother to give my mum a break. Then, when I got married and we started our own family this was the place we came to visit my grandfather when he lived there on his own. Later, when my grandfather went to live in a care home in the village and my parents took on the cottage, we would come and visit Mum and Dad and look in on my grandfather. This was the place where I brought my own little family to stay for several months when we had just sold our own cottage and had to have somewhere to stay whilst waiting for completion on our next house and the arrival of our second child. For a few years more this was the place we came to visit “Granny and Grandpa” with the children until renovations were finished and the house was sold.
Although I have properly lived a lot longer in my own last house, my Grandparents’ cottage is the one place I would look back on and say it was a real home. Of course this has more to do with the people and the memories than the bricks and mortar but the memories are very strongly linked with this house and the comings and goings through the old front door.
So perhaps, rather than “entrance”, my theme should be re-named “home”. What do you think?
This progression of my theme seems a lot less strong at this stage but at the same time it means a lot more to me because of the personal interest. Also, I have only a vague idea of an end product – some kind of ceiling-hung panel or panels representing a doorway is how I visualise it at the moment. But when it comes to materials or techniques the only idea I have currently is that the fabric should be transparent in some way, giving the impression of memories of past times.