They say the eyes are a window into the soul, then surely by this logic a window is a gateway into the character of a house.
I grew up in the South Welsh valleys, a place of what seemed like endless rows of Terraces housing, criss crossing the steep mountain sides. The terrace house is a pretty standard building, they are all the same size, the same shape and constructed of the same stone, their even generally all painted the same (Altho there is that old story of back in the Mining glory days when ever the village colliery was repainted, suddenly and in a completely unrelated separate event, all the other houses in the village would also be astonishing repainted in strangely but completely coincidentally the same colour as the colliery…..).
Anyway I digress, my main point is the houses are somewhat uniformed, the only thing that changes are the windows and their sills. Walking up a row of houses a quick glance can display a variety of objects and processions housed lovingly within the frame of a window.
There are objects and prized ornament, picked up and bought on treasures family holidays, or brought back as presents and gifts to the loved ones inside the house. In others cases large vases or amphoras are placed in the middle of the window, overflowing with flowers. These splendid bouquets of flora and fauna brightening up the street. Then at night the houses remain dark but the windows and their sills are lit up, pouring out a lighted glow from the heavily curtained windows. Flooding out light into the night mixing and dancing with the yellow glow of the street lamps. The effect is if you are above on top of the valley sides looking down into the valley, an endless line of light in a sea of darkness, like the veins on a body or the collection of rivers flowing down into that great white city sea of light.
And at Christmas, oh my days Christmas, it’s generally considered bad form when decorate your home, not to stick so many lights and sparkles in your window that you give Blackpool illuminations a run for their money. To be honest the goal isn’t so much to celebrate Christmas but to make sure the people on the other side of the valley (and possible Space) can see your Christmas lights and know your celebrating Christmas too (and on some occasions, the result has been to deprive the other side of the valley from sleep due to the amount of flicking and changing lights that are being inflicting onto them), it’s a bit like a dance off just with Christmas decorations and hole valley mountain sides participating. Anyway all these wonderful things are possible and happen via the frame or canvas of the Windowsill.
It’s a humble expression of ones personality outwards into the street, the original and universal display, a quiet statement of life.
The sentiment and ideal remains the same of the windowsill everywhere, they are a unique insight into the owners life.
It’s a concept Artist Claire Louise Prosser is considering as she investigates the correlations between Wales and Venice with her new project Windowsills, for Made in Roath 2015.
She is asking for photographs of our own windowsills for a comparison with our Venetians counterparts. It’s an interesting project, do check it out.
As ever, thanks for reading.