Once while out walking, I came to a field that was boarded on two sides by an ancient woodland. My path lead me across this field and into the woods.
It was a bright day, and the Sun was behind the trees, pushing their shadow out into the field, and creating a strong line of darkness.
As I drew nearer to this line, I could make out a gate set into the hedge of twisted moss covered branches and beyond it, the dark shadows of the trees. I had that feeling of eyes being upon me, watching silently from the deeper shadows.
I reached the line of darkness and stepped across it, feeling the cold of the shade as it fell over me. I crossed the hinterland between the field and woodland, childhood stories of Arthur and his questing knight, of a green church made of rock and moss, of a hag wearing a crimson dress, waiting in the deep woods, passing through my mind.
As I twisted the latch and stepped through, I thought to myself, I’d love to make a gate for this place, something that attempts to do justice to that feeling. That when a child walks that same footpath into those woods, they get a feeling of the wonder and possibility that could lay beyond.
The Gate design illustrated, here is my first attempt at conveying that feeling.
I wanted to design a set of double gates. I felt that this would give them a sense of importance, an echo of those grand estate gates that stand at the entrance to a manor house.
I also wanted there to be an arch that is being covered over and wrapped in branches. I think this gives it that dark fairy tale feel. Like brambles growing around a tower to form an impenetrable wall. I decided that rather than an arch that the gates sit between that the arch should actually form part of the gates themselves. Imagine the arch splitting and opening as the gates pivots their hinges.
The lower section is based on an abstracted pendulous sage. It’s a plant that grows voraciously in the local Woodlands I visit, and I felt that by stylising it a little bit it could conjure that field of nature rising back up and reclaiming the things we forget about. It also has that long sinuous stalk and leaves.
Finally, I decided to make both gates symmetrical. For some reason it always felt right that they should mirror each other. Maybe it’s that slightly off Alice in Wonderland feeling or maybe, as someone who saw this design stated, it’s that it gives them a weirdly ceremonial feel.
Anyway, this is my first attempt at the design and I like it. Now I just have to find a hedge with the right sized hole. And a customer…