So, today is my birthday.
One of those milestone ones. Others in my family are having them, too: my daughter turned 21 this month, and my son will turn 18 this spring. (Last year, my hubby got a head start on the milestone I’m hitting today.)
This past year has been particularly full of struggles and joys, losses and new adventures. Maybe that’s the reason for my current obsession: doors. The poet in me is all about the metaphor, for myself and for each person in my family. Doors closing (some slamming painfully shut; others slowly creaking closed until you realize you’re in a different place) and others opening (new experiences and things to learn, new art to make, new poems to write, new endeavors to launch, new friends to meet…).
The artist in me is all about a visual description of that metaphor – books as doors! What better than a book to transport us to new worlds, open up new ways of thinking and dreaming and wondering?
Hence, my newest artistic adventures. Vintage books-as-doors collages! (With poetry inside, too.)
For this piece, I hollowed out a vintage book, embellished it, and tucked in this Emily Dickinson poem from another vintage book:
He ate and drank the precious words
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What liberty
A loosened spirit brings!
The door is adorned with a round filigree find from an antique shop, and a vintage jewelry part I bought from a European dealer on Etsy. The door knocker (also purchased on Etsy) is a vintage brass doll house door knocker. I’m stashing all kinds of fun vintage bits of hardware for these.
Surrounding the door, with sidelights and a fanlight, is relief print I carved. It’s a simplified version of a doorway in Dublin, the kind I got to see in person when my father-in-law took our whole family to Ireland when our kids were little bitty.
This collage is 9 X 12, in a cradled wood panel painted glossy black. I’m excited about making these collages in different sizes and with different details. When I took this to show my art critique group this month, seeking their feedback, one of the members bought it! That was pretty encouraging feedback.
(More coming soon for sale in my Etsy shop! I’m making them now. Really – working on them right now!)
Do you remember any particular doors from your past? I remember the wrought iron gates to the small courtyard in the house I grew up in in Florida. I remember walking through the gi-normous jaws of an alligator to enter Gatorland there, too. And the imposing entrance to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World! How about you? How about now?
Perhaps you’re facing big transitions soon – as we’ll be adjusting to our youngest leaving the nest over here. Or perhaps your journey will be less jarring. Whatever doors you walk through this year, I wish you blessings as you come and go, and joy and adventure on the other side.