I am back to show the rest of the travel boxes. Beginning with Japan. It was the first of the travel boxes made shortly after a trip there in 1998 with a focus on bamboo basket makers and and their places of learning and working.
After mapping out what is to go into the box, I select an appropriate fabric to turn into book cloth for the covering and papers to line the interior and sides. Since we participated in a demonstration of indigo dying I thought this fabric had the right look. It pays to just get a yard or so of fabrics that call out to follow you home.
I used a piece of bamboo for the traditional closing.
A piece of Japanese fabric lines the inside lid. Walls are placed in to mark the places where things are to be placed. I wrote about my trip on a piece of paper from Japan. Then cut it so it was one continuous length to spin into a thread to be woven into the small basket holding a special stone. It rests on a stone from our sauna at the hostel. To the right is a lid to small mementos inside that compartment. The two larger spaces hold my sketchbook works and papers from the journey in a pop out format.
Among the mementos are stones, a fish shaped soy sauce bottle and all the tie off resist threads from the indigo class. Closures use small bits of bamboo.
Those same threads are used to tie sketches into a book made in a traditional Japanese book binding technique. I really love how this project of Japanese memories came together. I went on to teaching many workshops and making more of these containers that sold at exhibitions or ended up in the archives of craft institutions and museums.
Now it is on to New Zealand.
This is covered with an Egyptian cotton from a remnants shop. I made myself some pajamas and had enough left for a box needing a New Zealand feel to it. We could see it as thousands of lined up sheep in very green fields. It is a single layer box which says it all.
Aren’t those sleeve-lidded baskets wonderful. The bark package contains a stone given to me by a student in my class there.
The tiny lid raises to reveal another shell. So many wonderful things to touch…so many memories.
And now Australia!
I’m fairly sure it was made shortly after my second trip in 1999. Again a fabric that said “Australia” to me was chosen and the overall size had to house my sketches done on large paper.
The Eucalyptus blooms were made by a lady I met at a conference. The small bloom and leaf came from a basket making friend. There is a book in the upper left and each of the other spaces have pull up lids to reveal the things below.
The book is the pages that students do and assemble in hiding and then present at the end of the class. The eggshell page was from a student dealing with the fragility of being influenced by her home country and adopted Australia. On the left are basket materials and a small twined basket made by a young Korean working in Australia. A student from the previous year showed her how to make a “secrets” basket and she made this one to pass on to me.
Teaching Secrets baskets was a fun way to get students to learn the technique of twining to hold their secrets written on a piece of paper tightly enclosed within. I loved the idea that many years later, they will wear open and secrets will find their way out into the world. My first sample to teach this class had a piece of paper that I used fragmented words to indicate a lost love affair. I told my students that many years from now there might be just enough information in those words to inspire someone to write a story.
Our secrets can have a future. One of my favorites was a student who was ninety years old and marrying for the first time the following week. All we could do was smile at each other as she closed over the opening. I thanked her for the opportunity to let my imagination run loose with ideas of what her secret might have been.
Sorry, got side tracked…these boxes do that.
The other cubby hole holds shells and small gifts from students at a basket conference. Then the larger lid on the right opens….
First thing visible is a portfolio that unfolds to reveal separated packets of sketches done on my trip.
I had these cards that had a cutout of a kangaroo. So I put more of the Aboriginal-designed gift paper that I bought at the Opera house behind. I was sketching everything Australian that I could find.
Even the construction of the quintessential Australian chair where the man, bushed from being in the bush, can prop his feet with his behind dropped into a canvas sling. The arms of the chair accommodate his beverage of choice. I actually thought it would be fun to have Lee make one of these, but soon realized that they are not that easy to get out of. Good thing I didn’t do that because I would not have been able to part with it and it would be taking up a whole lot of space here in my new house.
Under that portfolio of sketches a tab is pulled up to release the section of larger drawings.
They slide out from under the floor of the collections to the left.
After this all my sketchbooks from Australia were made in advance of the trip, filled while traveling, and are piled up in a basket where I can easily get to them and relive each trip. I have a couple of other boxes devoted to Australia, one large one with all the student end of class gifts over many years and another where I tried to capture my experiences there in a special place. I am sure I talked about them when they were completed so we will leave it there.
I did start cutting out patterns using my hide covered stones that are so lovely to handle.
But then a week of a chest cold put me in a tired stay-at-home-do nothing happened. I did slip out to see a full moon.
In the last two days I finished sewing two pairs of pants…two shirts to go and I can put the sewing machine away again. I need to do some baking too. It is time for savoury scones and banana pancakes to put in the freezer.
I might get a walk to the river in today…maybe not. I will check to see how warm it is and how wet with all the rain recently. I might just join the cats in a comfy chair by the fire.