Saturday, August 17, 2013


I mentioned in a previous post that I was thinking about boxes, but as small artworks, of an intimate scale. While we're at it, they can have function, which I suppose to some means they are craft. Well, OK, call 'em what you like, but they are assemblage.

From my little chests of old paper, and scraps of cloth, cigar boxes and book covers, and made with an intuitive process. I can't seem to find a way to cut an accurate mitered score to bend them up from one flat piece (the old cigar box cardboard and bookboard is too thick and often rather brittle).  So I began collaging over corners and making cloth hinges to fortify them.  They have been kept in my jar of potpourri, so they are fragrant, too.  My original idea was to use them for packaging my jewelry sales, but I think they may stand alone as ah-sem-blahjj (a la Michael DeMeng's favorite way of saying it).

Old wallpaper, dress pattern instructions in French,
an illustration from a Canadian mail order catalog advertising
men's pajamas, postcard birds, sealing wax, millinery trim,
the spine of an old book cover, salvaged cloth, button,
and that's just the outsides.

Insides have more text from 19th and 20th c. magazines
(I do love those little ads with the funky illustrations;
artists made a living at line drawings in that marketplace)
die cut paper butterflies that came to me in packaging from
an Etsy seller; a hand cut stamp of my own; and that
wonderful dress pattern tissue in French, so shabby chic.

This is the one I think is closest to a stand alone art work.
I call it "Smoking With The Stars, a Midcentury Bromance."
The two gentlemen, advertising men's pjs, are sharing a smoke,
on a bookboard salvaged from a retired library book about
the constellations, with corners reinforced with scraps of text
from the dressmaking pattern, the star book, and other cute oldies.
I drilled the bookboard and affixed a Bakelite button and the rolled
sari silk scrap for a closure.  It is close to the size of a hard
pack of cigarettes.  The two gentlemen look alot like
certain prominent Hollywood stars of the day; can you guess who?

I'm listing the Bromance one, just to test the waters. It's substantial, and I varnished it so it could take some wear. I prefer the nice, frosty matte look of paper surfaces, but I also wanted this one to have some beef to it. It's so much fun; every face has a little accidental detail that comes together with others to hint at some sort of story. You figure:  "Fred", "Frederick," "Paris," "Answer to Augusta's Question," "Big Dog," "feel every beat of your heart" -- some hidden on the edge of legibility. It would be just right as a bit of heart (art) on a desktop, no?  A little provoking, at once topical and mysterious.


  1. I love these!!!!!
    don't know the dudes...
    put some of your yum yum smells in there...

  2. oh your new blog layout!!
    clean fresh readable...good one!

  3. Dear readersbetweenlines, you are all entirely too young. I guess I have to give it away. The one on the left is a ringer for Rock Hudson, the other reminds me of Alan Ladd. Of course I was just a sprout when I saw them on the silver screen . . . You should watch more old movies!

  4. these are awesome!!! they are well worth listing. and yeah, those dudes do look like old fashioned movie stars. dont even know who alan ladd was. my whole family went through a faze where we watched all the charlie chaplain movies. i do love those boxes. i love collage and old beautiful papers, and the box is a great medium for that. perfect on a coffee table or something, where you can touch and enjoy the inside as well. not in a house with kids, though. like the varnish idea especially since they didnt come out shiny.

  5. Alan Ladd in Shane -- considered an adult western in its day, and spawned a whole buncha little boys born in the late 40s-50s named Shane. The closing scene is right up there with all the classics, like Marlon Brando's torn shirt. Brandon deWilde yelling Shane, come bake Shane, as he rides into a moody sunset. And EVERYBODY (except Fanci, but that's ok, she gets a waiver) remembers Rock starring madcap romances with Doris Day. Don't they?