Filling Spaces – Boxing Things Up

This was the start of making those little roofed houses with clothes lines. I was using older stamps I had made for a limited edition book based on Thomas Wolfe’s quote about the “familiar” and a self portrait image with the dreaded blackbird bringing messages.

I used several small crow stamps that I carved as well. I was making houses to contain not only the images but the feelings as well. There was no need to have doors on the house. These feelings and the representative images are just always there, coming and going at will.

But I took all five houses, now called “Santuaries”, and put them behind glass in “landscaped” surroundings. Now the viewer and myself can be reflected in the glass and be part of the occupancy in the house. And I like the invisible barrier of a sheet of glass. It somehow “specimensizes” whatever is enclosed behind it. And I like specimens. They are meant to be examined, thought about, puzzled over.

Here are some of the finished ones.

These are all behind glass in deep wooden black frames now.

It seems I was putting things in boxes with special places for some time how. Like these four door treasure boxes based on a Chinese design.

Each section tells its own story, has a separate narrative that relates to the whole. And the center part that lifts out to unlock the other four sections has something that makes a sound. It communicates to the handler/viewer that something more is going to happen.

And this one. The Travelers Box. All about his collected memories and specimens collected in his pockets.

The Travelers Box was made to raise the question of whether we accumulate too many memories and then have to make a conscious decision of which ones to hang on to and which and therefore, who, to let go. I like the bits from his pockets next to his travel journey in the case. This piece sold at a book exhibition several years ago and I still like how it makes me feel when I see it. Do you see the image of the traveler coming home in his buggy behind his memorabilia? My travelers always seem to be men. I think they have more interesting things in their pockets. And pockets are so personal. More so than a purse or shopping bag.

Here is another one from the series of travel boxes I have in my office. This is Italy.

These boxes help me to only hang onto the bits that matter from a trip. Once the box is filled, all the things that didn’t make the cut can be tossed out. Sort of like distilling the journey to each place by making the appropriate size box after the culling has been done.

And one of my favorite series, The Curiosity Cabinets. I only have one left and it could be this one.

This next week my studio ceiling is getting repainted and I will probably get to that dragonfly.

Til then.