Book Basket Box: Placement for Memory

I used to teach a workshop with that title. It was my most favorite class because everyone would bring the bits and pieces of things that needed to be kept safe. Things that needed a place to be kept hidden. Things that needed to be discovered again and again.

So today while I am on what I hope is the last of this miserable cold, I am going to start to show you some of my boxes. They are each a different country I traveled to and how I collected the bits that bring back memories and the sketches along the way.

I will start with France:

Each box must be built to accommodate the largest piece with room to extract it for closer examination.  I map everything out on plain paper first before cutting the box/book board.  I put this card in the center of the top of a pale pink cover.


The lift out tray holds an English to French translation book, lavender soaps from a lavender farm, sketchbook from the famous Sennelier art store in Paris and bags from purchases.

Under the tray are more maps and bags and a book for more memorabilia.

A bon voyage note from a frequent traveler to the Avignon area and a map.

And one of my most favorite places, the ochre mines of Bruoux. It was an exquisite experience to pass through those arches into pure earth pigment. I came home with so many collected colors from all these travels that I will show another time.

And Italy came right after France.

A gift wrap from Florence decorates the box.

Inside the box lid is a pouch to hold small prints I bought from street vendors and cards that capture the opulence.

And small books of tickets and other mementos. Wine corks and quick translation guide.

I will put two more boxes in today’s post.

Now Bali:

I thought this fabric looked like Bali so turned it into a book cloth to cover the box.

I collected the offerings outside my room in Ubud each morning….of course they dehydrated and became smaller.

I also saved and then purchased the brown paper sheets that food was served on to make a book when I returned home. Pages decorated with scraps collected along the way.

And now China:

A silk scrap I picked up in China became the cover material.

The box opened reveals a heavy stone in the back that a tracker who was poling our small boat upstream on a tributary of the Yangtze. He watched me reaching for a stone while we skimmed along. My sketchbook from the trip is in the tray above. Some of the sketches.

The space below the tray holds books of receipts and packaging and more mementos.

And under a false floor there is the soils of Xian, home to the famous warriors.

Not everything I bring home is in the boxes…only what fits and can bring back the memories of the time there. Likewise the French sketchbook is a heavy leather that I chose not to house in the box but add to sketchbooks on the shelves. We each choose what goes into the boxes and how to decorate its covers and walls.

My students have done such amazing containers…one about a mother who projected one persona to the public and below under a false floor was what the family endured. Others dealt with a loss of someone dear. And others favorite Nature walks with trails and bridges and small critters. I hope they all have kept their boxes to open and remember or to just know the unpleasant has a place to stay hidden.

Next blog we will go to Japan, New Zealand, and my favorite place…Australia!

Til later….