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Symbols of Joy

Late October 2020, Pam Howman, a Warrandyte friend and Warrandyte Church member, suggested that I meet her for coffee. It had to be take-away and out-of-doors.

I had been suffering for weeks with a distressing skin complaint and after finally getting an appointment with my dermatologist, Pam and I were amazed how quickly the treatment worked.

Pam wanted to introduce me to a walking trail Research. We met at the local Research Café and in the window was a quirky black chook painted on a piece of old pailing fence.

Pam went on to explain that there were many quirky animal paintings on pieces of fencing along the walking trail.

Off we went along Main Road where it was such a joy to discover random paintings sitting in the grass and leaning against trees and poles.

I took several photos which I passed onto Sandi Miller at Warrandyte Diary. Not knowing any of the story behind the works I suggested that Sandi take a drive and do some investigation.

Early this year the Warrandyte Diary ran a story on Joan Denison and her quirky paintings.

Joan’s Iso Chooks became such a success that she was calling out for more used fencing material.

James Poyner states; “These cheerful Iso chooks became an overnight success and what started as a distraction for her street soon saw Joan painting thousands of Iso Chooks which now adorn gardens and shop fronts all over Eltham.

They are scattered through the gardens of Austin Hospital and are being given to new Australian Citizens at Nillumbik Citizenship ceremonies.

My daughter, Melissa, working from home for the past 17 months, is quite isolated out near Wallan. On March 13, 2020.  Her office in Southbank advised all employees to collect their computers and go home. Like many people we did not see each other for several months and this year has been difficult, as we all know.

In May I decided to give her a surprise gift of Joan’s Iso Chooks. What I didn’t realise was that I had to go on the new waiting list. I finally received notice that my Chooks were ready for collection on 25 July. Waiting to be able to see my daughter, we missed the opportunity between Lockdowns 5 and 6.

I sent her parcel last Saturday and yesterday received the included image.

She claimed that they are adorable but not sure where they can be installed. Her husband, Troy, is concerned that they will be destroyed if placed outside in the weather. I guess he likes them too.

What I love about their story is that something of little monetary value that I gifted to brighten and create a smile on a temporary level, has become highly valued as a symbol of optimism, bringing great joy and pleasure.

If you happen to be wandering or driving the streets of Eltham, when possible, keep an eye out for an old piece of timber, with a few splashes of colour; that I am sure will make you smile.

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