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When Millers Flat artist Sally Jory learned telecommunications company Chorus had given her the green light to paint two of its cabinets she put it to the public vote.

Taking to social media she eventually settled on a logical theme at the suggestion of local couple Kyle and Marion Mewburn.

Mrs Jory was originally asked to paint the smaller Millers Flat cabinet but modified her design when she realised there were two cabinets alongside each other, both sharing the same ID.

The theme harked back to a bygone era, featuring a man using a candlestick phone on one of the cabinets and a switchboard operator on the other.

“In the early days of telephony, companies used manual telephone switchboard and switchboard operators connected calls by inserting a pair of phone plugs into the appropriate jacks.

“Today most people have the world at their fingertips but it wasn’t long ago that we shared phone lines.

“Instead we had the operator and party line subscribers shared a phone line and had to ask the operator to connect their call.”

With that in mind, Mrs Jory said the two works were designed to complement each other telephone call and the operator is putting him through.

“Hello, operator” . . . A man makes a call in one of Sally Jory’s pieces. PHOTO: SUPPLIED BY SALLY JORY

With an advanced diploma in art and creativity to her name she had been interested in art since the age of 12 and acrylic painting and “dry media” pencil, coloured pencil and fine point pen drawing preferred mediums, she said.

She juggled her artistic endeavours with work as a part-time support worker.

Her latest works in Millers Flat Bridge Rd complemented existing murals in the township, at Millers Flat Holiday Park, Millers Flat School and the community library on the same site, she said.

“I’m sort of taking over the town.”

Her works are the first of this year’s Chorus Cabinet Art projects in Central Otago to be completed.

She estimated both works had taken about 40 hours to complete with plenty of welcome distractions.

“People kept stopping to talk to me and that was part of of the fun.”

Part of the conversation were people’s own recollections of switchboard operators and party lines adapting the works as she painted, she said.

There are four more cabinets Clyde and one in Naseby destined to be painted this summer as part of a joint project between the Central Otago District Council, Central Otago Arts and Chorus.