Alison's Bag

Repaired by Elbowrkshp

Alison was given the Gladstone bag in early 2016 by her father. When selected for Object Therapy she asked her sister about the history of the bag. Her sister commented “it’s just a bag; it doesn’t have a story”. Alison then asked her parents about the bag’s origins. Through the bag’s story, Alison gained a better understanding of her father’s early life. He left home when he was 13 and bought a train ticket with the money he had in his back pocket. His money took him as far as Bathurst where he worked on a family farm growing cauliflowers until he was 17. He moved on to a station after this. There was nothing to do there, so he wrote to his uncle asking him to send some boxing gloves. On receipt of the gloves he travelled into the nearest town on horseback and bought a bag to carry the gloves in. Her father spent the next eight years travelling solo from station to station. He speaks about the bag, “We travelled together throughout Australia, many thousands of miles. We’ve now been together for 72 years". For Alison, the bag now represents her father’s loneliness as a young man. Alison is one of three sisters.

Repairers Elbowrkshp deconstructed the bag and reconstructed it into three separate pieces one for each of the father’s daughters. The bags, like their human counterparts, are a mixture of genetic heritage with some familiar aspects, and also some entirely new parts. The bags pay homage to the marks of history and the evidence of adventure. They continue to tell the story of the family through material and form. Elbowrkshp have titled the work the ‘Three Daughters’.

Design Repairers: Elbowrkshp

Elbowrkshp came about as the physical manifestation of James B. Young and Elliat Rich – think 19th C. shoemaker meets 21st Century designer. They are based in Alice Springs, that town right in the middle of the vast continent of Australia. They think Alice is pretty unique, it’s wilderness, languages, people, cultures and seasons and their collaborative musings are inspired by this place and it’s stories; parochial, built to last and informed by our designer / maker family fusion. Elbowrkshp revolves around our 650kg hand made concrete and steel table from which they and a variety of guests work. Directly out the front windows sits Paint and Panel (think 90’s airbrush art) in front of a registered sacred site; a perfect dichotomy of the industrial, cultural and natural landscapes of Mbantua.

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Alison's Bag. Repaired by Elbowrkshp. Photos by Lee Grant. Image copyright Hotel Hotel.