Once upon a time, in 2010, Downtown Denton, Maryland needed a sprucing up for their upcoming Spring Gala Event to be held there in May out on the street. My friend Danielle was asked by the Arts Council lady Marina, to do something with the mostly empty windows in the store fronts on our Main Street called Market Street. And somehow we ended up with this crazy beautiful design scheme which we had to follow through with.
It all started with an idea we had for the window of the exercise studio Energy in Progress up the street. I’d decorated this window a few other times but I wanted this one to be special. The theme was Re-imagine Yourself and thus, the theme of “Re” words was adapted and then a design plan began for all the window decorations downtown. Please excuse my blurry photo above. Was just getting ‘er done.
We used white paper, white adhesive shelf paper, about $50 worth of tissue paper in four colors, and some clear plastic plus assorted cardboard boxes to carry out the design. With the intention to make a cohesive visual theme of trees, birds, flowers, and poms, and the “Re” words, Danielle and I began to design each window.
Danielle was the lead designer and we had to stealthily assign our work time as we both have children and not a lot of free time. Plus those poms are labor intensive. Not to mention the swirly trees. After coming up with sketches for the windows, we’d assign the words cut outs, poms, and tree making as homework and then there was multiple nights of install. You could not pay me enough to do this again but it did look super cool when it was done. Equally hard was getting pictures without a glare on the glass (A truck with a black side parked next to it would have worked).
Sadly, the Recreate window was to befall a horrible fate as the guy who rented it for Karate classes for two seconds ripped everything out of the window and tossed it in the back of the building. He got an ear-full from the town manager but it was tragic.
The Rejoice window left me speechless when I saw it. Danielle had taken the clear plastic roll (gift basket wrap) and created a stained glass effect with the tissue paper. It was incredible at night-time. Felt like a garden in there.
We’ve been moving West on the South side of Market Street from Third Street to Second. These last blackened windows belong to a still vacant building right before the Market Street Pub. It was a three-part design that has such lovely movement and tells a story.
My memories of this project are the struggles and the moments of interaction with the Danielle and the people in town and these old buildings. Here we had to work around the pub patrons sitting at these tables. And for one window, we used a Food Lion coupon card to jimmy a door lock that someone forgot to give us a key for. One building had had a fire and the water damage was apparent. And both Danielle and I were experiencing physical pain problems that have since been addressed.
This was the only window done on the opposite side, North side, of the street. At the time it was unoccupied and there was no electricity. We were in there trying to beat the fading light with Danielle’s little daughter roaming around picking up various hardware piece off the floor.
This project was really stunning to see in person. And we were well appreciated by the Arts Council and Town’s people. It did seem to fill the hole of our sad depressed downtown for a little while. And proved that something in the windows is better than nothing because soon there were another crop of little businesses filling up the store fronts, taking advantage of the first 6 months rent free. They come and they go, much like my little shop Bally Eden did. And now I feel happy that these beautiful windows have been releases like butterflies into the internet. Our work is gone but not forgotten.
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