Family can mean so many things. So your family keepsake needs to reflect what it means to you.
Whether people are related to us by blood, or drawn to us by a serendipitous turn of fate we all have a bunch of humans (and some animals) we call family. This page is a selection of Keepsakes about family.
Celebration is based on an altered Turkish map fold, and uses letters my parents wrote to each other in the year or so before they got married, mixed with photos of the wedding, a map of North Wales (the area they were married in) and little bits from bank statements from their first year together. The letters when stretched out form a paper chain, which echoes the decorations we use to celebrate an event. It was hard to photograph properly as it’s full of little snippets of detail about their lives. It is also very significant for me, showing how far I have come in my healing from the grief of losing them both. It is small, fits in my hand and is fun to play with! The element of fun and joy was important, as it signifies a life beginning and the promise of a life ahead together.
‘It is precious to me as this is my history and the roots of who I am.’
I made the leather case from a piece of vintage leather dating from around the same period as the wedding, I am keen wherever I can to be authentic with my materials.
The dog who ate my homework
This book is about two furry members of my family Florence and Tink.
It came about really because Florence decided to chew a lovely little box I had bought on a trip to Berlin and was in the process of making a book about the trip to fit inside. Unfortunately, I had left the box in her reach and once upon a time the box had housed chocolates, therefore, rendering it irresistible to the lovely Florence! By the time I discovered her chewing away merrily, the box was in several pieces. At first I was distraught, as my perfect plans were ruined. I posted a picture of the pieces on my instagram page looking for commiserations and someone had the genius idea of using the box anyway and creating something different. This is when the idea hatched to make a book about Florence and the box. I started to draw Florence in all sorts of positions and created a little collection that was immediately recognisable as her. I used an old typewriter to record her age at the time, and called it ‘The Dog who ate my Homework’. When that was complete, I decided I needed to make a similar book about Tink too and call it ‘The Dog who didn’t eat my Homework’ and there was plenty of room in the box for the two. I mended the box as best as I could and used some gold paint to highlight the torn areas as a nod to the Japanese art of Kintsugi, remembering and celebrating the breaks with kindness.
The most beautiful thing about this whole process was that not long after I had made this book I had to face the most heart breaking decision to give up my girls.
That is a long story for another time, suffice as to say, I am convinced that someone up there prompted me to make this, as it is now one of my most precious possessions, and the most perfect of keepsakes to remember these two wonderful and loving creatures by.
Ynes Ferlas is the name of the place I spent numerous summer holidays as a child.
North Wales was a favourite place for all of us and a place my brother and I could be let free to roam the countryside, only coming home when we were hungry. I had so many adventures here. Every summer my mum would encourage us to write something each day and draw a picture about what we had seen or done. To be honest, at the time we kids got a bit bored of this and I distinctly remember a lot of moaning! But how precious these things are to me now, nearly forty years later. On a much more recent trip to north Wales I bought this old book in Welsh from a charity shop, with an inkling it would serve a purpose for something creative. It led me to spend hours going through all the files of holiday archives my mum had meticulously kept and carefully selecting all of my favourite bits. I then had the joy of assembling them into a concertina book form that would fit within the cover of the old book. I created pockets for little pieces of ephemera, photos and smaller books that I had made too. It was a joyful and tearful time of connecting with those memories.
Now I can easily flick through this precious book and it takes up so much less space than several big ring files used to.
This little book was made in response to the word ‘break’.
A number of years ago my dad died. He was relatively young at the time and he was my hero, and it broke my heart. For the next year or two I walked on the beach everyday to help process what had happened. I began to notice and collect broken shells, where the inner spiral had become visible because it had been through some traumatic situation and been cracked or worn open.
Over time I came to see that the beautiful inner framework and strength of the shells can only be seen and appreciated fully after they have been broken.
So for this book I revisited the inner workings of the humble snail shell. I had to physically break them to get to the spirals and I have drawn/painted every little piece of shell that remained, noting what an amazing structure they were part of. I then found some words from an old book about sculpture and broke up the sentences to create a new one of my own. It was important that the book structure also reflected the spiral form enabling the reading of the book to take you on a journey to the centre of the form it was about. It is also very playful which always pleases me!
The text reads:
The essential nature
Such an awareness
Form in its full
Whatever its size
Realises its volume
From all around itself
Winifred Mary is a homage to the lady of that name a beloved Grandma.
I made cyanotype prints (a kind of old fashioned photography) of textile items that once belonged to this lady. I then used some of the prints to fold and weave together making a beautiful intricate book structure as a memory of her echoed through her things.
Promise box was about the notion of a family portrait.
We are who we are because of the people who have interacted and invested in our lives, day by day as we journey through life. Our biological family is usually enhanced by all sorts of individuals in all sorts of ways, good and bad. The essence of all of that plethora of interactions makes us who we are. This piece was about remembering all those significant people who have nudged me one way or another along my path. The colours are coded and each scroll has the name of a person, and a sentence about how they affected me. The white scrolls are people I have still yet to meet, adding a dimension of hope and expectation for the future.
It was a very cathartic experience writing these scrolls and being thankful for what each of those people shared with me.
This book was commissioned for a 70th birthday.
It is full of this particular lady’s favourite things and images that represent what she is all about. A real celebration of life and love! This book is only about 6cm square when folded up, so can be kept safe and sound for many years to come tucked away in a safe place somewhere. It can be brought out to bring a smile whenever needed.
Let me help you to ‘remember well’. Collecting your memories and encapsulating them in a unique handmade book.