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HANDING ON, the blog.


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Greta's Egg

As I explained in the last blog post, objects and how the story we tell about them creates resonance and value, helps us to connect and creates a look at sustainable, beautiful futures is one of the key elements of Handing On.

I shared my own story of my grandmother's cook book, but there are other stories that have added to this project, ones my mum artist and storyteller: Jean  Edmiston and I have been told or discovered over our years of working with people, creating storytelling projects. Some of these we've asked if we can retell on our travels, because they are so profoundly beautiful and important, to easily overlooked they need preserving and handing on.

This is one of those stories, the tale of Greta's Egg Jean will now tell you more:


This is the story of Greta’s egg and this is the letter received by 6 year old Greta in 1917 from a soldier in hospital in France. 

Greta was a child from a school who had been asked to bring in food to send to the soldiers at the front, rather surprisingly she took in an egg, carefully she wrote her name and address on the egg then parcelled it up with straw to send with the other donations...

The soldier received the egg in a food parcel with Greta's name and address written on the egg shell and wrote this letter back to her in return.

 She kept the letter all her life - and carried it with her in her handbag - a precious treasure, I was lucky enough to see it and be told the story when Greta was an elderly lady in a care home over 20 years ago, with whom I was delivering a successful pilot project with isolated older people that eventually became Arts Together, a project still running with groups across Wiltshire.


I’ve told this story and shown the letter to hundreds of adults and children over the years - I had Greta's permission to share her tale. Head teachers have used it in assemblies - children have used it in research into local history — and still the story goes on and on. Please share the story yourself if you wish!


Jean Edmiston 2021

The letter Greta received during WWI

Freedom

In 1953 my maternal grandfather, sculptor Richard Ross Robertson carved ‘Freedom (with her dove of peace)’ for the rose garden at Hazelhead park in Aberdeen. One of my earliest memories is of the fire-sparks arcing as he sharpened his chisels in his studio, carving stories from stone and landscape explaining the places we visited…stories that my mother Jean Edmiston continued. We went back to Aberdeen last summer as part of the process of writing 'Handing On' and went to visit Freedom and show her to my children as part of considering which stories to ring into the project.


Weaving stories we had been told by my mum's father, my grandfather, into the performance piece, stories he'd told as he carved in his studio...stories he'd told as we walked through the rose gardens his sculptures watched over.

If you watched the performance of Handing On...you may have picked up a little hint of the fragrance of those gardens...inhale the scent, remember the stories the aromas carry, your sense hold memories of stories, stories that hold value...

...and I will be sharing an easy way to make those fragrances for yourself in my next blog.

Amanda x