Sunday, 17 February 2008
This is my completed piece for the February Take it Further challenge. Sharon challenged us to think about what we are old enough to remember and I thought of all those major world events like the Kennedy assassination, but what I also kept thinking about was sweets! I had 6d a week pocket money (and yes, we're talking old money here for those UK folks old enough to remember) and I particularly loved Black Jacks, little square chews that were 4 for a 1d. I remember I used to spend ages in the shop working out how to spend my 6d and what to buy, but often I didn't get round to eating them, and a few months later would have to throw the sticky mess away.
I asked around at work whether you could still buy Black Jacks and you can (and that got everyone reminiscing about the sort of sweets they remember), and I managed to find them in an old fashioned sweet shop in Lyme Regis. Some things haven't changed: as I was at the counter my daughter asked if I was actually going to eat them, to which I replied 'Oh no, I'm just going to unwrap them'. The shopkeeper's face was a picture and as we turned to leave he said to my daughter 'Who'd buy sweets to eat them?!' I bought Black Jacks and Starbursts and my daughter will eat the Starbursts but yesterday when I finished the piece sure enough, the Black Jacks were consigned to the bin.
I remembered the Black Jacks as having a stripy black and white wrapper with a picture of either a pirate or a skull and crossbones on it. The modern version has black and white swirls and no picture so I searched the Internet and found a wrapper on the site of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood site. It showed an original wrapper from the 1920's and the picture was of a golliwog, so unfortunately I didn't feel that was appropriate to use. So instead I used the Starbursts because I know I also bought bright citrus colour chews. I scanned in the wrappers, printed them onto cotton, backed them to a firm fusible and stitched them to my background. The Black Jacks are remembered in the striped ticking I used as the background (and ticking also reminds me of my Dad and childhood as he used it for his work), and the plain black squares. The black ribbon behind the squares represents liquorice - another favourite.