Noren – Japanese door curtain

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“Door curtain” might conjure up the image of one of those colourful plastic strip curtains hanging in the doorway to keep the flies out of the house during the summer.   Practical and lots of fun for children.  I am sure I remember being chided for pulling on the strips at a friend’s house.  You can still get these curtains on eBay!

plastic door curtain for sale on ebayBeaded door curtains are a decorative item typical of the 1970s and still available, especially in the “new age” gift shops in the nearby town of Glastonbury.  This version made of wooden and bamboo beads is for sale at Argos:

beaded door curtain

I am intrigued by the way you have a tantalising view of the room beyond with these door curtains.  There is a sense of mystery.  The barrier is representative rather than actual as the materials are insubstantial and the curtain moves as soon as it is touched.  They also make a sound in a breeze.  The plastic strips swish and the beads rattle, a bit like the sound of the wind in a bamboo hedge.

The Japanese hang Noren, a split door curtain, in their doorways to welcome guests.  Traditionally shops would hang them in the doorway as a protection against sun, wind and dust and they are used as an additional advertising space.  They indicate the shop is open and are taken down at the end of the working day.

Noren_(curtain),_Japan,_Meiji_period,_Honolulu_Museum_of_Art

Noren usually have one or more slits all the way from the bottom to nearly the top to allow for passage through the curtain.

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I am thinking of using a form of this door curtain as a basis for my final piece but I would like to have more than one layer and use a more transparent fabric to allow forms to show through.  I am awaiting a consignment of voile fabric I ordered online yesterday to start experimenting with how colours and shapes might show through the layers.

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