• Jessica Bartlett

Mrs Pegg's table.


Mrs Pegg was a peg doll that lived on the chest of drawers in the dining room of my childhood home. As the seasons shifted she became their keeper. Mrs Pegg's table became the place we displayed all our treasures as children. The fir cones, acorns and leaves of autumn; the twigs and bits of tinsel of winter; the catkins and blossoms of spring and the abundance of shells and petals in summer. Alongside this continuous flow of seasonal delights was the eclectic mix of stones, leaves and other discarded objects that to a child’s eye were truly beautiful and must be kept. The table where she belonged changed and grew with us, year in, year out, until we moved out and the thought of delighting Mrs Pegg had all but vanished.


Now grown and with children of my own I can appreciate how the creation of Mrs Pegg was/is a practical solution to the 'problem' of children collecting treasure (debris) that they are adamant needs to be kept! These items quickly accumulate and who knows which item will be recalled a week later, long after it was put in the recycling! Instead you offer it to Mrs Pegg until such time as it is forgotten and it can be relocated. I wanted to follow the tradition of the seasonal table not only for this practical parenting win but also for the nostalgia and my happy memories of the slightly witch-like peg doll. When we moved to our current house there was an old brick structure in a quiet corner of the garden which would be perfect for the seasonal table.



This was going to be Mrs Peggs retirement home. I cut some planks of wood to create a table and told my daughter about Mrs Pegg. We decided that Mrs Pegg would like to come and stay and we began collecting and decorating in earnest. Each trip out of the house has delivered something to Mrs Pegg's door. I haven't seen her yet, but I am sure she is very pleased. Some things stay and become a feature other more ephemeral items blow away in the changing winds.


We enjoy developing the area and of course looking for seasonal treasure for dear old Mrs Pegg, now with three pairs of hands to collect things for her. This summer we spent a long time finding small white pebbles whilst on holiday in France. I have glued them in a long line and every time I walk past I think of our holiday. The first few years of the idea I glued things on in quite a haphazard way but now I am trying to think of the overall look of the structure whilst trying hard not to ruin the spontaneity of it's spirit. The structure, referred to as Mrs Pegg's garden, has become a shrine to the seasons, holidays and happy memories but most of all to Mrs Pegg,

Have you got a place where you keep treasure like this? Maybe something more tasteful like a shelf or box. Does anyone else have the tradition of the peg doll? Or feel inspired to start one?

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#Memory #collection #Seasonal #Narrative

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Jessica Bartlett Artist

37 Phillip Street

Bedminster

Bristol BS3 4EA

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