I’ve shared snippets before, but I’m thrilled to now be able to share the final edit of the film I had made to document the creative process behind my memory boxes. The film shows what inspired me to make my first box, and also explains my love for creating something so unique and special. Huge thanks to Jonny Campbell who used his talents and creativity to document my work in so much detail.
Click the image below to watch the short film, and read on for the transcript. A subtitled version can be found by clicking here.
We went travelling for five months through Central America and Mexico and that’s really when I knew that I wanted to do something with these boxes. I collected something small from every place that we visited and then when I came back, I assembled it all into a big old printer’s tray and that’s really where it started.
I feel very humbled when I’m asked to create these beautiful, special pieces that will be with people for the rest of their lives. They can be about everything - I’ve done lots for weddings; I’ve done quite a few for bereavement, in memory of somebody that they’ve lost; I’ve done ones from holidays, trips abroad, boxes that celebrate childhood, all sorts.
It’s always a really interesting process at the start because there’s always lots of back and forth with people sending me photos and saying, “Oh do you think this will work, do you think this will work?” It’s always a process of dialogue, and they want to tell me the stories.
Once we’ve agreed in principle which objects are going in, I ask everybody to send me the objects or drop them off to me. Sometimes people will package everything up in a tiny little box; other clients have dropped off two suitcases full of stuff. It’s those everyday things, all those little objects that don’t necessarily have monetary value; they’re not hugely special or significant to anybody else, but to you they’ve got so much sentimental value, they’ve got so many memories.
Every single object has its own space. When you curate all of them into a holistic piece they become so reminiscent of a person, a place or an event. The objects bring a whole sensory experience - you get the tactile elements because you can reach out and touch the objects. That’s why I purposely don’t cover the boxes with glass. You can also smell the objects which is amazing, because smell is so evocative.
I think quite a lot of people have a sense of guilt that they keep them but also, they would have guilt if they threw them away. The process of doing something purposeful with these really ordinary objects is really cathartic and quite therapeutic.
There’s always an act of celebration, celebrating the moment that your child is about turn 11; celebrating the life of somebody that you’ve lost; celebrating an amazing holiday; or, celebrating a wedding. There’s a whole story around celebrating with the boxes and it’s a privilege to be trusted to be a part of that celebration.
Read about when a specially commissioned box was featured in Cardiff Life Magazine, here.
I’m an artist who creates beautiful memory boxes and intricate ink drawings to help you connect with the people and places you love.