Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Promise Boxes: Blessed Be The Ties That Bind

Alchemy 2 Exhibition, Slackspace,Colchester 2012
Here is a body of work I recently exhibited locally; it was a deviation from my ususal textile based work into paper...all vintage paper, and a very personal project. I really enjoyed working on something that was so different, but there were similarities of theme as this was all about family and the links between an Aunt, Mother, Father, Brother, Sister and me. I am going to try to copy and paste the written piece that went with it...to save myself going over it all again...but first some more images.
The Story of the Promise Boxes In 1973 I was given an old “Promise Box” by my mother, which had originally belonged to her sister Lottie in the 1920s, who died at quite a young age. It travelled to South Africa and back with me, and has been a small constant in an ever changing life by giving words of hope, inspiration or encouragement …always seemingly at the right time. “Promise Boxes” were very popular in the early part of the 20th century, when revival meetings saw many people coming to the Christian faith….Auntie Lottie and my mother were two such people, and I was to follow in their path, later on in my life. They were “chapel” rather than “church”, so I grew up hearing the old gospel hymns and the choruses so popular in the 40s and 50s, most of which were contained in the well-known Hymn Book of the time: “Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos”. The copy of our book was written in Tonic sol-fa, perfect for playing on the little old organ we had at home, although unlike my sister, I never learned to play. The hymn book had become redundant....but was a link to the past which could not be easily be disposed of, with such a history. Alchemy2 has provided me with the opportunity to recycle the Hymn Book by making it into a “Promise Box” by use of its pages which contain treasured memories of old songs, whilst it still remains the container of these…but now in a different way. Recycled boxes have been used to contain more of these pages, which all now have a hand written promise from scripture on a little scroll, whilst an old photograph album acts as a visual reminder of the original box, the history of its owners, and some of the old promises which have been shared and loved by us down through the ages.


MadBirdDesignsUK said...

Lovely Ellen I really enjoyed looking at this piece in the exhibition. xx J

Ellen said...

Thank you Joan....I hope your mannequins did well on ebay, I saw on your Blog that you were selling them.
Ellen x

jean fulton collingwood said...

Hi Ellen love this work and the story behind it as in a strange parallel I used to make promise box's as a child for pickering and inglis as did my family before me. I have faced some extreme challenges and some how a promise box has saved me so this was great to see. Loved the art context too your obviously a great talent and spirit. thanks

Ellen said...

Hello Jean, thank you so much for your kind comment, and how interesting to know that both you and your family made promise boxes.
I have also faced very difficult times and challenges in my life, but the promise box was always there and I think the first thing I always did was to go to it...and then pray.
I loved working on this project and would like to take it further somehow in the future. Ellen.