This past week I have been making very special boxes for gifts as well as finishing the last of my two travel boxes for other countries. The one pictured above is not of my own travels but of an imaginary wanderer.
This is a box that opens in the middle on one side only. It sold several years ago out of an exhibition. The top left window holds this writing I did that inspired the work.
“Once he returned from his travels there was so much to sort through. Where to put it all – especially the memories. Which ones would they replace. What and who did he have to let go – what forgotten and what not.”
I think I was fascinated with the idea of whether there was a maximum of space to hold memories and did we make somewhat conscious choices to let some go just to hang onto others. How did we say goodbye and close the door on some and open it to others.
Anyway here is the inside of the Traveler’s Box. It is filled with the things placed in his pockets along the way and his journal full of already fading memories.
This is one of those ideas that as an artist is just so rich, so full of potential for expression. It seems to recur over and over in my work.
I am glad that someone bought The Traveler’s Box. It makes an artist pleased that it mattered enough to someone to do that. But I would like go through his journal again and hope that somewhere in my files I have images of everyday he was recording, remembering and then forgetting all that he saw. I’ll have to look.
So back to this week. Since 2010 the mementos of France and Italy have been waiting for their boxes to be made. And here they are.
Some of the shopping bags are folded in the bottom. A book of tied together pages of itinerary, tickets, wrappings and small papers is placed on top. Then a tray made that holds a small translation dictionary, lavender soaps and tea bags, buttons from a potter in Rustrel, a notebook from Sennelier and a baguette bag. The inside lid has another bags paper covering the insert.
All of my sketches from France and Italy are in a separate leather journal I made for the trip so no drawings are in these boxes.
Italy is a much smaller box covered with the shopping bag a book binder used to hold purchases. Another journal of tied pages for tickets, etc. Wine corks and a small bundle of cards the book binder made still in their leather wrapping. In the inside lid is a pocket to hold prints purchased from street vendors and postcards.
These two boxes joined the other five on a shelf of contained memories of places not here.
Below are pictures of those other boxes that hold Australia, Bali, China, Japan and New Zealand.
Australia is my first and fairly large box of mementos. I like the sketches hidden inside.
Bali. I added the lotus from my water garden at home. There were so many of these everywhere in the gardens of Alam Jiwa near Ubud.
It occurred to me that I have been to an eighth country – Canada – and only did sketches while there. Such a close neighbor; I never really saw it as a foreign place. Maybe some other time.
Next year back to Australia and maybe someplace new.