By Athena McKenzie
Blacksmith Jake James gives the garden gate a sculptural upgrade.
For blacksmith Jake James, a gate represents much more than its function. While it can serve to keep children or pets in, James views a gate as a sculptural and architectural element for a house. For this gate in a Japanese-inspired garden in Oak Bay, James worked directly with the homeowners to conceive the design.
“The garden has a pagoda roof on the gatehouse, and bamboo is a heavy feature, so the homeowners came to me with those elements,” James says. “I played around with the idea of Zen circles, which is just off centre on the gate. The ripples are drawing from the idea of raked gardens and ripples from water features that are a major part of Japanese garden design.”
Beyond the sculptural appeal — that both the homeowners and people on the street can enjoy — James views a gate as a special portal.
“You open and close that gate, and you’re shutting the world out behind you,” he says. “Or whatever that psychological transition is you go through when you get home. I enjoy that kind of slightly philosophical, conceptual idea of what a gate means to someone when they’re coming home.”