Monday, 4 April 2011

Victorian flat irons

There were quite a few interesting things in the museum, but the ones that I had the strongest reaction to were the Victorian flat irons stacked on their chimney from the laundry. I took a lot of photos, and after thinking about all the exhibits decided that my initial strong reaction was the right basis for my piece.

The irons in particular reminded me of my lovely Grandfather’s kitchen range, which I knew in the 1950s. My Grandmother had died before I was born, and she was a conservative housewife and had never got an electric iron. And my Grandfather left things as they were. The kitchen range had survived from their early married days around 1905, and had several flat irons like the museum ones stacked on it, for actual use.

The names of the irons in the museum are deeply evocative too, a litany of lost industrial confidence -
Ilvester’s Patent, Salter,

Crane 6,

Clark’s Stove Co Ltd (Fairy Prince! What a brand name - the amazing green gas iron)…

As it happens, my other Grandfather, less well-known to me, died in Slough, and now it is too late to find out why he was there. I have been thinking of both the grandparents I knew.

I am making ‘portraits’ of the irons, drawing on fabric, from my photographs, and how to do them has been quite a challenge.

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