Cleaning Out the Closet (Or Ticket Booth!)
There is something about cleaning that we automatically associate with new beginnings; a clean slate, clean sweep or clean break. Clean means fresh and new, whilst dirty means old and tired. However, there is something about dirt that gives things a character… the tarnished gleam of family silver or the frayed and discoloured edge of an heirloom rug are like the callouses on a workman’s hands or scars from our childhood, blemishes tell a story; they describe a history of use and abuse more eloquently than we realise.
In archaeology a place that’s been inhabited for generations is called a tell. The landscape swells to accommodate centuries of rubbish, rubble and refuse to such an extent that it creates an artificial hill, each layer ready to be peeled away to reveal a new chapter of history. In a sense cleaning, scraping away the dirt or washing away muck, removes the secret history of an object layer by layer. That’s what it felt like we were doing today when we cleaned out what will soon become the history archive. In scraping away the layers of paint that surround our front door we were revealing snap shots in time going all the way back to the 60′s, getting the room ready to accept a new identity as the VoQ archive, but all the while being reminded of its former use as a ticket booth.
Have you ever had a similar experience? By cleaning something have you revealed a hidden secret or a former use? Have you ever discovered anything unexpected when you’ve been cleaning or tidying?