There were occasions when we couldn’t find a traditional storytelling artefact that would give us a handling object to kinaesthetically demonstrate the structure of certain sorts of stories. This was the case when we were working with ‘three bothers / three sisters tales; I’m sure you know the sort, three siblings each get set the same task, the older two fail miserably, whereas the younger one succeeds.
So we set out on a quest to create just such an artefact for the museum and its outreach work with young storytellers. For this particular story archetype we decided to work with nested boxes; we made a prototype with three card boxes with opening lids, one large, one medium sized and one small so they could be placed one inside the other and an item could be placed at their heart inside the smallest box. We then storyboarded “The Three Little Pigs” (a simple ‘three bothers / three sisters tale) to fit on the six sides of the cubed boxes and we put a little pile of ashes inside the smallest box for the denouement of the story (“and all that was left of the wolf was ashes.”)
For instructions, teachers’ notes, sample story (“Kotura, Lord of the Winds”) and box templates to make your own nested boxes go to:-
This prototype would show the idea but it wouldn’t make the grade as a museum exhibit. So with the support of Lottery funding from Arts Council England we commissioned an artist/craftsman, John Grayson to make an enamel nested box for the museum telling the story of “Kotura Lord of the Winds”. And like all our commissions we wanted to involve our users in the design and creation of the new exhibit, so we asked John to work with “The Mythstories Home-Ed Group” who met regularly at University Centre Shrewsbury.
This is how the process evolved…
John took away the artwork as design sketches and began work on making in his studio before returning to present the finished box to the Home-Ed Group’s meeting in October 2019.
The Kotura Enamel Nested-Box is now part of the Grosvenor Park Academy mini storytelling museum in Chester.