These things that connect us.


Last night I spent time looking through some old family photos and books. In particular, I cherish the portraits of my grandfather, a veteran of the First World War, young and handsome in his military uniform. And I love leafing through the many beautiful books once read and loved by my mother-in-law, a survivor of the Second World War. Both now gone, but speaking to me through words and images on a page.

Photos, letters, books. They are just things. But they are things that connect us.

Reminders not just of those we’ve loved and lost — but who we are, where we came from, and where we are going.

This beautiful film by Canadian artist/designer Stephen Kenn explores this emotional connection between things and people from the past: “The significant act of passing an object on from one generation to the next. It is in this exchange, accompanied by words of wisdom, that a boy is often called to a life of courage.”

Such a beautiful bit of film making and writing: “I am there, in the light through the branches and I am loving you where I see you. I must go now. All my love forever and ever, dad.”

Kenn repurposes old military objects/clothes to make furniture and leather bags. He is inspired by war veterans (his grandfather is a vet), and the desire to keep alive the “stories inherent in vintage WWII military fabrics”. 

His work is the embodiment of that generation’s can-do spirit. And I can’t think of a better way to honour them.

Find out more about about Stephen Kenn and his film here.


  1. We have Great-uncle Archie’s diary with photos from the Dardanelles and his posting in France. He was wounded at Fromelles and died at Boulogne: aged 24, leaving a sweetheart and all the family. His diary brings the Great War so vividly to life.

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