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A door with a story

Simon BirtwistleIt’s almost summer. New websites, new beginnings, and all that. What better way to mark the launch of our new website than to share a story about, literally, opening doors.

This year we finally completed one of the final finishing touches to our home. A new front door.

In the way that makers often do, I decided this door would be a thing of beauty. Something that would be as much of a joy to make as it would later to be to step through.

One of the best things about working with wood is that feeling of moulding history. When you’re sculpting across the grains, you can tell the type of life the tree it came from had. The hot summers, the dry; the long, wet winters, the snow. The width of each ring has a story to tell.

And so, our door has a story to tell. It combines Ash, Sapelle, which is one of my favourite woods to work with as it is so durable, and hand cast resin.

Swirls of colour have been created with liquid dyes in the three primary colours. The handles and letterbox are original Art Nouveau – reflecting the inspiration for the whole look and feel.

Within the resin I’ve placed artefacts from my and my family’s lifetime – locks of hair, mementos from around the globe including shells and seed pods, flowers from our garden, baby teeth, a dragonfly found on a beach and even a broken piano hammer.

Simon BirtwistleThe door is admittedly on the large side at nine feet high and four feet wide. I wanted to make people passing by pause a moment, pull a contemplative frown perhaps, and wonder: “Does a giant live there?”

What better way to welcome people into our home than with happy tales to tell and the promise of adventures to come.

Doors are highly underrated and when I see a door of note I am enthralled by them. There is a particularly impressive set of doors in M Shed in Bristol. Two huge oak things, with intricately crafted carvings. Now housed in a museum, each time I see them I wonder what stories they have to tell of who made them and who has passed through them.

As you’ll see in the projects I’ll be sharing here, things do not have to follow the norm. Our quiet terraced row has been made just a little more vibrant, if only to the eyes of those who stop to notice.