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In a small gully in central Auckland, we were commissioned to redesign a shady lawn area that had never succeeded in establishing. The garden was redesigned as a crushed limestone courtyard, set within Hinuera stone edging and walling. In designing this small space, a major conundrum was the necessity for a clothesline in a small space where it would be almost impossible to hide it, without cutting the courtyard down to an unusable size. The solution was to turn the clothesline into an ornamental feature.

The genesis of the design was the idea that the linear nature of clotheslines could provide an opportunity. I decided that the use of individual arching rods emerging from the courtyard (aligned with each ' rope' of the clothesline) would make a dynamic sculpture, whose appearance is (importantly) tied into the function of the clothesline. In this way, each pair of rods and section of line is an independent unit. The heads that are farthest from the house were forged from templates based on the cladodes (stems which look and act like leaves) of a native tree, Phyllocladus toatoa (or toatoa). A specimen of toatoa is planted in the garden, in a prominent position. The heads on the house end of the clothesline were forged to a simple design, as counterpoints to the toatoa heads.

Holmes ClotheslineHolmes Clothesline

The 'rope' on the clothesline is galvanised steel wire which is encased within a clear plastic sheath (so that eventual corrosion or dirt cannot stain clothing). This is fitted to marine-grade stainless steel ringlets (which are concreted into the ground) with stainless steel rigging screws. This setup enables the client to replace entire lines (whilst reusing fittings) if that ever becomes necessary.