Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open the Door

When my brother Jim bought this old hardware store, it was full of junk. It had been vacant for over 5 years, and it was overrun with rodents and sawdust and dirt. You see, it was originally an old lumber yard storage barn. It was made into a hardware store in stages. The old post and beam structure still shows in places. There was lots of structural damage over the years. Everyone who worked here must have tried their hand at hanging a ceiling or adding a wall or a window, because everything is mismatched, and most of it is crooked, unfinished, sagging or stained. The brothers who had run the store had retired and sold it to a farmer, who sold it to my brother.

Jim and his partner emptied it out to build our apartments, and all the wood stuff went into a huge pile out back. Every time I visited, and after I moved in, I gleaned treasures from that pile. Even the nail in my foot didn't deter me from climbing up that pile and digging out old drawers, a picnic table, an old wooden rake, old signs, shelf boards and a piece of an old door. He eventually got permission to burn it all, and my digging days were done.

I hung that old door piece on a beam and welcomed it home. But it was bare, and didn't have anything to say to me. After a couple of years, I dusted it off and made this piece. All the quotes and poetry on it relate to opening the door. I gave it color, personality and a reason to come back to life. That is why I love working with old wood, texiles and photos, to bring the life back into them. When the younger generations look at pictures and recognize no one, why keep them? Things that people discard can mean much more to someone else.

I've always been sensitive to old things. I have a tiny silk baby quilt that my great-great aunt Orril made. She was married in 1902, so it was probably from that decade--I took piano lessons from her in the 1950's. She lived to be 99-what a treasure her memories were! I have a picture of her when she was 17-sweet, innocent and very Victorian. She is my bridge to the past!

I am the oldest in my generation on both sides of the family. I guess it's fitting that I hold the history. I only wish I had more. So I make the connections in my art, slowly, piece by piece.

Keep on Dreaming!


  1. I'm 'the baby' in my family, but the one who treasures the past most. :)

    I'll be back for the photos!

  2. I must have had a power outage in the old brain, I forgot how to add pictures! So here is one. I'll practice over the weekend! Love, S

  3. What a lucky lady you are. First of all to live in such a picturesque place. To be close to family and have an old hardware store be your home. What a dream to go through all of the contents of the store, that is a treasure hunt for sure. Love your door collage. Lisa

  4. Ah, there's the photo. Great 'frame' for your work, and it comes complete with a story and interesting details. Can't buy that anywhere.

  5. Hi Sherry! It's so nice to meet you! I've been to Ct. once many, many years ago and it was truly beautiful. I'm sure you just loved digging through that pile. I know I would. I love it when we can take something old and give it a new life again where it will be loved even more the second time around. Thank you for your sweet comment and for becoming a follower. I look forward to getting to know you better!

    My Desert Cottage

  6. I too have an affinity for the old...and there's nothing better than wood that has been aged by time and the elements.

  7. Beautiful old rusty handle and worn wood...I love that you rescued it...and now have made an ideal use of it!
    Thanks for stopping by...I will look forward to your post on trees!...always so interesting and matter what the season.
    Have a great weekend!

  8. What a wonderful creation! I love old things but its more of a recent love and I'm glad I've gained that fondness. Thanks for stopping by my blog and becoming a follower.


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