The past year has gone so quickly. I have been working away in the studio on the Cracker Packers statue, consisting of two women biscuit factory workers – one from the past and one from the present – engaged in happy chatter, atop a giant Carr’s Table Water Biscuit.
I hope the statue conveys the humour, warmth and camaraderie of these women at Carr’s (now McVitie’s). But this was only made possible by their generosity in sharing their vibrant stories with me at the start, at the McVitie’s factory in April 2017.
Drawing on Carr’s archive photos, the women helped to pin down the era the Cracker Packer from the olden days would come from – around 1910, when the uniform was markedly different from the hairnets, safety boots and white housecoats of today.
They shared their happiest and funniest moments of working at Carr’s/McVitie’s, while two Cracker Packers dressed-up and acted out the stories. I can confidently say that I haven’t laughed as much in years.
My artist sister, Sandra Reeves, sketched the delightful proceedings.
All the flipchart paper, post-it notes, photos, audio and video recordings I took away, informed the maquette (or sculptural model) I made next. And I also took away a nice warm feeling. I knew that this commission was going to be incredibly rewarding. I wasn’t disappointed.
Here is the final film that tracks the whole project from the workshop to the final unveiling, by the fabulous Huckleberry Films.
(Photos by Stuart Walker Photography, 2017.)