My daughters 13th birthday. Somehow I felt I need to create a portal for her, a kind of metaphor for her transition from childhood to adulthood. This was all happening at the time of my divorce and so, in any event, there was a real sense of instability in all of our lives.
After searching high and low, I found myself in an old warehouse in Hampshire – purchasing two giant and battered old barn doors. Barn doors are a big part of my daughter’s legacy on her mother’s side of the family. Being of French Huguenot origin – her family lived on the same plot of land in Wiltshire for hundreds of years. Their property was characterised by a series of giant barns which held the clutter of several generations spanning their full history.
At the same time, I had become quite fascinated with Banksy and the technique of templating and spray-painting. So in my all-too-familiar quest for complexity (your strengths are your weaknesses in life), I developed a new technique using laser-cutting, to create insanely detailed spray paint templates.
The result….The Door My Daughter Didn’t Open. What I hadn’t accounted for was that my daughter had become a teenager. Whilst I was focusing on creating a giant portal in her likeness, she was discovering her independence. The portal was unveiled and instead of exciting her, it left her a little embarrassed by the statement it made in front of her friends. My timing was all wrong. For every subsequent party she’s had, I’ve had to cover the door (its embarrassing). It’s also a two-strong-man-job to move the doors even a few meters.
I now worry about the burden I’ve left her with. Two heavy doors painted by your father on your 13th birthday….what do you do with an object like that over the course of your life?