A Surprisingly Lovely Outcome

Australia BookBox closed

The last two days have been very exciting in the studio. A wonderful book and restoration artist, Gian Frontini, from Canada joined Holly Fouts from Asheville and myself here to guide us through making boxes that look like books made of leather with inlays and hand fashioned closures.

Gian Frontini in studio

I had a small scrap of kangaroo hide that I bought in Brisbane many years ago and decided it would be just enough leather to cover a small chunky box. The size is 6″ x 4.5″ x 2.25″. I took apart a broken compass to harvest interesting brass parts for the inlay and the closure. It worked perfectly!

Australia BookBox side view

And since the box was made of kangaroo hide and the theme was also travels, I decided to put all the collected bits of Nature that ended up in suitcases and the subject of not only sketchbook drawings but silver point drawings and egg tempera paintings as seen in the previous blog and again here.


two gum leaves


pineapple pod

gum pod stick



Most of these small pieces fit into the box that has been lined with a contact print that a student gave me on my last trip. The view finder of the navigation compass was a perfect size for the closure catching over a small brass cobblers nail. The inner part of the lid is another gift from a student that is a copy of an old Australian painting made for a calendar that was then rusted. It is a traveler along a road under Eucalyptus trees. Perfect! So here is the box opened to show the contents and the cap from my most favorite dark beer, Toohey’s Old.

Australia BookBox open

Isn’t this the most wonderful treasure box!? Thank you Gian for not only the guidance but encouragement to do more. He ended by helping me turn one of my favorite scrapers into a leather paring knife. Both he and Holly made beautiful book/boxes as well. It was a great two days in the studio.