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I’ve been giving another Art House Co-op Project a go. This time it was The Mystery Project and the brief was this:

Every participant will receive a mystery project kit, which includes a free Prismacolor Brush l Fine Art Marker in a surprise color and a secret theme to guide your work. Create a token of inspiration using the tools in your kit — it could be a drawing, a zine, a sculpture, or a collage — then install it in a public place for a stranger to discover. Just remember to document your mystery project and send us a photograph!

My secret theme was ‘Help! Robots have taken over the local elementary school.’ which made my heart sink, I have to tell you.

After a few false starts (I’m not a great user of markers and the theme wasn’t doing much for me), I ended up with these:

I remember there being a lot of chanting in primary school, if you weren’t reciting multiplication tables it was skipping rhymes or counting games.

That got me thinking about how much of our memories of what is fair and unfair comes from our childhood memories of wrongs done by and to us.

I was half satisfied, and then in the midst of a 365 Simplicity-inspired clearout, I found this:

It was the tin of childhood treasure that I’d brought with me from home. That’s bits of stuff that I felt were important enough for me to carry 3,500 miles.

…and then I opened it.

I’m trying not to judge my childhood self, but I have almost no memory of any of it. I do know that the unicorn tin was a gift from Missy the girl who lived across the street from me when I was about six, and I suspect that the pieces of amber are from my Dad’s trip to Poland but apart from that, I’m pretty clueless.

Even so, when I went to distribute my treasures between the bags, I had to really force myself to put all of them in without keeping too much back.

I quite like the fact that it’s mainly rubbish, because that’s what kids do. They put value on seemingly worthless bits of stuff. If it had been mint condition Star Wars figurines I think it wouldn’t have had the same poignancy. (Plus, my Star Wars figurines are kept in a different tin…)

So last night they were deposited in different places, and I’m hoping that the people who find them get in touch. In a slightly cruel twist, it’s been raining persistently all day, after being gorgeous for most of the week. I coated the tags with wax to keep them from running, but I don’t know how well the bags will hold up.

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