A project which has been in mind but nowhere more productive than that for what feels like a (very) long time now is the hallway gallery of charity shop frames. I spoke of the plan a while ago in Fifty Frames of Grey where I ruminated on method, colour and content. Months later I’m still not much further on…..
Admittedly one significant step has been taken. The frames, mostly gathered during a three week residency with family in the North last year (see ‘renovation weeks 6,7,8 and 9 to refresh memories of that period), have been retrieved from the loft.
Then the panic set in.
What next? In what order do I do this?
I looked at the motley collection of brown and gilded frames with their faded mounting boards and yellowing pictures and wondered if the exercise could really be pulled off. Wouldn’t a trip to Ikea for a truckload of RIBBA’s, reasonably priced and needing no makeovers or jiggery-pokery of their hanging mechanisms, just be easier? (Or was I just trying to give myself an excuse to go to the Swedish superstore where I then might just accidentally purchase the clock of which I spoke last week?) But enough of that. I’ve about, yes, fifty frames and I must at least try to make this work.
The idea is to create a mix and match salon-style gallery wall of photos, cards, keepsakes, artwork (both pro and amateur….we’re accumulating a rather colourful pile of that), posters and canvasses but more than that I know not. What photos? Which cards? Back into the loft I went to see if I could find inspiration. Photos of S and his mates in make up (?) or on snowboards fell out of overstuffed envelopes of snaps from our single days. A picture of my sister and I, aged about 4 and 5 respectively, dressed as a punk rocker and an angel (though the two outfits do appear to be interchangeable….) on holiday also went into my ‘to include’ pile. Boxes full of those kinds of things you’ve never, ever, needed but still can’t bring yourself to throw away were opened and rifled through….birthday cards, old VHS tapes, piles of unidentified CD’s, mini sewing kits spewing their contents in a tangled mess, keepsake boxes containing a lone stud earring and a bag of, I’m fairly sure unused, hair rollers. A few choice pieces…..a congratulations on our engagement card from Sarah Beeny (S and I met on mysinglefriend) and an old Valentines card of the backsides of a naked couple on pogo sticks, chosen as I’d thought they looked a little like us though admittedly sans the sticks stick and sadly now a little saggier…..were extracted and stowed. The rest, in all honesty, probably should have been chucked. Instead, sighing nostalgically, I boxed it all back up before embarking on the unhelpful creation of an obstacle course leading from loft hatch through to office from where it stretched upwards into a precarious tower assuming ominous Pisa-like characteristics. But still I was no clearer about my wall.
My uncertainty isn’t helped by the knowledge that S isn’t mad about the idea.
“So where are these going?” He asked as he surveyed the collection of frames currently cluttering the upstairs landing.
“In the hallway” I replied. “This wall” I waved at it in the manner of a policeman directing traffic “and the one upstairs. Sort of like the spine of the house….” I added pretentiously. Clearly I’ve been watching too much TV.
“Right” he said hesitantly. “So ….here?” Standing in the narrowest part of our downstairs hallway, where tiles meet the wood of the kitchen, he opened his arms indicating its modest proportions.
“Yes exactly. Floor to ceiling.”
“This bit?’ He asked again incredulously, “this bit ….so when O pushes his bike through he will knock them?”
“He’ll have to do it carefully.” I concluded.
“Madness” S muttered with a disbelieving shake of the head.
But as you well know, S’s reticence rarely halts this beast when an idea is driving her. Templating, I therefore decided, would be a start. Gathering together the charity shop frames and other framed artwork currently being stored amidst nooks and crannies of the house I proceeded to template and number the lot. The next logical step, I thought to myself, must be to arrange them into some kind of composition, then hang them (extracting all unwanted old contents but retaining any salvageable mounting card) before then assessing the composition. It may be that the mix of wood, gilded and black frames looks good. More probably it will not. Meaning all …or maybe just some….will need to be unified with one colour. Meanwhile S and I can begin a more disciplined re-opening of those boxes, perhaps charity-shopping anything we feel the urge to box back up. In addition we might tackle the digital boxes of images which dot our computer desktop gathering a thick layer of virtual dust….officially called folders but let’s be honest, they serve the same purpose as the cardboard kind in obscuring treasures amongst the hundreds of unedited blurred or red-eyed specimens.
So methodology planned, last night, blu-tack in hand and templates at my elbow I decided I would begin.
But before I’d started, I stopped.
A quick Google later and my faith returned. Despite needing to be mindful not to offend those who might find their image on the lowest part of the wall….whoever knew that a gallery wall could be potentially so political……I’m still thinking it might work.
So with confidence thus bolstered, I’ll resume Project Hallway this weekend. I’ll keep you posted….
Inspiration courtesy of Abigail Ahern on Rated People