Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Transition and metamorphosis

I have a love affair with doors and find myself collecting them in memory or photos wherever I go. Doors are symbols of many things depending on which source you consult. The most common ideas represented by doors are transitions and metamorphosis. The door is a passage from one place to another, between different states (e.g., this life to the next), or between lightness and darkness.

Open doors have positive connotations, signifying welcome and an invitation to discovery; they offer hope, opportunity, and liberation. Closed doors signify rejection, secrecy, exclusion, imprisonment or more positively protection.


The door to The Bothy cottage was a welcoming site after a long day driving on the narrow roads of Ireland. We found the ivy cozy while friends found it ominous and menacing.

Walking from the Millenium Garden to the Bothy. The open door was welcoming and we often left it open behind us after hours.

When closed, it created a very different feeling.


Gates share some of the symbolism of doors , particularly entry into a new life, communication between one world and the next, between the living and the dead. Gates, when closed, allow visual entry but prevent the physical act of movement thus creating a barrier excluding all but a limited view, often creating longing for the unattainable.


Private gates from Birr Castle Demesne into Birr town. In this case we are on the inside looking out, which is a very different feeling from being on the outside looking in.

Public entrance to Birr Castle propery

Gates into the Millennium Garden are closed after hours. I love the circular motifs.

Entrance to the greenhouse in the Millennium Garden, an open invitation to view the beauty inside- a transition into another world, of colour and perfection through the control of conditions. The person on the opposite side of the greenhouse won't feel quite so invited.

An invitation to another part of the garden during visiting hours

Closed to visitors. This is the most beautiful gate on the property. I was so caught up in the design I didn't even think about looking through to the other side. The gates are closed but not locked.

The door/gate to the shell well, a short walk from the Millennium Garden. The gate offers protection both to the viewer and to the intricate shell wall inside.

The interior wall of the Shell Well made with shells from the collection of Mariga Guinness. It was decorated by volunteers in her memory. Guinness has been a sponsor for work done in various parts of the gardens.

So now the difficult task.... How am I going to create an art work that focuses on some of these ideas? Not a clue comes to mind at this time, but I'm hoping the act of laying it out will help something gel in my mind.


2 comments:

A rambling rose said...

What a beautiful place and I can see why you are so inspired by it - I love doors myself! Thresholds!!

Margaret said...

Thanks for the response, Rosie. I sent you an email about a week ago stating when I would be in the south of England in June. I hope you received it.