In the early 2000s I had a conversation with a friend who was faced with a very difficult (can't make payroll for over 60 people) work challenge; I went home thinking "what do you do when the world is crumbling all around you?" And then this thought popped into my head - you stand in a doorway 'cause that's the safest place to be when the ground suddenly starts shaking all around you and you don't have time to go anywhere else..."
Not that this helped my friend at all - who did end up getting some angel investors to see her through the work crisis - but it was a significant thought for me.
A short time after that I became aware of another friend who was going through a personal crisis, and I again thought of a doorway as a safe place to stand. So I made her a sculpture of a "doorway" out of various discarded brass items - it even had a brass star on the top of the door cause to me my friend was a star - and I put a paper "door" in this sculpture that had a "keyhole" made with a hole punch and some scissors. I gave this to my friend as a symbol of a safe place for her to stand in her crisis and told her to either punch through the paper "door" or burn it if she wanted to. I'm not sure if she did either.
This started a whole thing for me about doors and got me thinking about the various thresholds a person goes through in life - the threshold of youth, the doorway to adulthood, one door closes...
Here's another doorway picture:
One day in July of 2014 I was preparing to make a sculpture and I looked at the many items I'd collected for this purpose and suddenly saw how they could be keys.
So I made a dozen:
and after that the whole key fascination thing really began to take hold.