April 29, 2010
Telling Stories Through Barn Windows
New England’s barns inspire me. Despite having similar basic designs, each one tells a story about what happens inside of it, the animals and people it houses and the seasons it endures. Some are the pride of yuppie families from big cities, others are functional parts of a farm passed down through generations of rugged farmers. Regardless of their condition or creed, old barns capture the story of their surroundings.
Like a young boy unable to take the entire beach with him, settling only on a lone sand dollar, I collect barn windows. Better than a picture, these windows act as a tangible homage to the buildings they once belonged to. Rummaging at flea markets, hunting at dusty antique malls and asking retired farmers if I could pick apart their collapsed barns, I am on the lookout for unique windows that remind me of New England.
A barn tells a story about the land it rests on. A photo depicts a similar narrative about a unique setting.
Feeling like Samuel W. Francis, the genius that combined the spoon and the fork into the spork, I sat on my bed taping pictures to an old window. Organizing the photos as I would a blog post, the window framed a story, more coherent and insightful than a standard print.
Scrapers and sandpaper remove flakes and loose paint from the windows.
Coats of water-based lacquer protect the old paint and keep it in place, ensuring that the window will keep its story intact.
Tucker working on a window.
The glass is scraped to remove years of paint, lacquer and dirt.
Epoxy anchors the glass panes to the frame.
No two windows are alike and each narrative of photos is printed once. The windows add context to the collection of photos, conveying a coherent story. I envision a window filled with images of food overlooking the kitchen and another window hung in the den acting as a portal to the Maine coast. I will share these windows on my blog and they will be available for purchase.
Telling Stories with Barn Windows (Picasa),