I have been a photographer of architecture for many years. I am drawn to buildings, details and materials for their beauty, purpose, history and solid presence in the landscape. I also am passionate about the construction aspect of architecture. The problem solving, tools, machines and plans that go in to creating a structure intrigue me.
My Dad taught me a lot about tools and machinery. Although he was an English teacher by trade, my Dad was raised by a master jewelry maker. Tools were in his blood. My maternal Grandfather was a tailor so I guess I inherited a love of art, craft, design and building from both sides. My Dad was always tinkering around our house. Fixing the faucet or building a bookcase (to shelve his Shakespeare), Dad would decide he needed another gadget to complete the job. "Come, Ellen," he would say, "let's take a walk to the hardware store." These outings were memorable for being with my Dad and in the wonders I saw housed in the narrow, dimly lit store. Rows of every imaginable utensil, mechanism, gizmo shone from the floor to ceiling racks, impacting my imagination with marvelous notions.
Too, the old row house in which we lived had been built in the early 1900's. Metal grates, old fashioned spindles, elaborate brass and cut-glass doorknobs, and intricate tile work defined our rather modest home. In those days, craft and art were part of any building. In our basement, the big, black old fashioned furnace was an object of mystery and delight for me. It was detailed with swirls, gold letters and jutting pipes. I would visit it with awe.
Recently I had the pleasure of touring a wood shop where stunning moldings and other beautiful wood objects are created. As ever, I was drawn to the machinery and tools, as well as the wonderful works of wood. And, majestically in its own alcove stood a furnace that brought back so many memories. It's powerfully solid presence struck me as magnificent in its design and its purpose.
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