Alison Boyd Artist

a life creative

An Object of Meaning – Hetti’s Bon Bon Jar

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This lead crystal bon bon jar was my inheritance after my Nanna, Hedwig – ‘Hetti’ – died in June 2007. I had just landed in Northern Ireland at the time of her death and wouldn’t have made her funeral if I’d returned. I’d visited her the day before my flight and known that my goodbye was a farewell of the true kind.

My sister Emma and I aren’t ‘things’ girls and I didn’t want to inherit ‘things’ – Nanna had been generous to us while she was alive and we were happy that her belongings were divided and cherished and not sold off. But Emma selected and collected this for me, and that meant a lot. Of course it came with me to Italy; it means a lot to both us and holds a lot of memories of being naughty and stealing sweets and cherry liqueur chocolates [with Nanna’s blessing and to our parent’s rue!] without the telltale crystal ‘ting’ from the removal of the lid. Apparently I had this mastered.

It’s an understatement to say I’ve done a lot the past year. No tickets on myself, no pats on the back; it’s just a fact. And coupled with the fact of being creative, human, and having done a few things this year, there is my difficulty with untangling the past and future from my present, of letting stuff go.

So Hetti’s lead crystal bon bon jar has become my god box.

My friend Alice suggested it to me, and I’ve done something like this in the past. It usually ends up as lista or poetry, and poetry in itself is a method by which I work through the stuff in my head and make it into something that I can make sense of.

This morning, however, I let it all out in order for it not to become something else – because that would defeat the purpose of letting go. I wrote down the things and people I needed to leave behind, needed to embrace and be truthful about, the people I wanted to thank, farewell, needed to apologise to, wanted to send love and wish health to. From anxieties and sorrows, wants and needs, swirly ideas, all out there on their own piece of paper [they seemed so much more inside my head]. Then I dated them, folded each of them up and placed them in Hetti’s magical jar.


Like Dumbledore’s Pensieve, the god box is a receptacle to collect the overflow of ideas, perceived problems and the inner dialogue that accompanies them. It’s not about God with a capital G – I’m not religious by any stretch of the imagination [in fact, I was born on the Day of Irreverence], though it’s ingrained inside me to believe in something a whole lot larger than the shape me and my anxieties.

Stripped of its name, it’s a form of meditation. I write down my worries and I address them to god, ‘The’ gods, Hetti, or my cousin Kendra who also died in 2007 [incidentally, the day after the Day of Irreverence]. Then I simply ask them all to take it from me, hand out the love and health, and to help where I’m flailing.

In short, I ask.

In doing this – in the mindfulness and ritual of writing it down, in the folding it up and giving it over to a something outside of myself – all that stuff mulling about up top, my problems, niggles and worries, become objects that I can look at objectively. I’ve got to say, its noticeably freeing.

I’d love to hear if anyone of you creative lovelies do this, and if it has changed your focus and clarity?


4 comments on “An Object of Meaning – Hetti’s Bon Bon Jar

  1. Pecora Nera
    August 25, 2013

    That was a nice an insightful post. I love Hetti’s Jar


  2. Gaylene Parker
    August 26, 2013

    Thank you Ali, ( & Hetti), for your thoughts… made me think a little more deeply about my life over the last couple of years & the big changes it has brought……….good & bad…….. Thankyou again, my distant friend.


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