mixed media assemblage art box - vintage photo portraits, metal discs sewn with seafoam-colored antique silk thread, antique book text, tea-dyed paper, tissue paper, handmade lace paper, linen string, book cloth, board, glue
size open 15,9x14x1,7cm / 6.3"x5.5"x0.7"
size closed 15,9x7x3,5cm / 6.3"x2.8"x1.4"
I've always been fascinated by boxes and their ability to both hide and reveal. (This must come as a big surprise to everyone who has followed me during my journey of making 200+ art matchboxes...) The element of surprise is always present just like it is in a simple game of peek-a-boo, and if the box's contents are charming enough, the surprise never gets old, it's simply colored by memories and emotions.Opening a box makes you an active participant of the art experience itself instead of a simple onlooker of a piece of art hung on the wall, and this is something I feel is worth enjoying. It's definitely a different experience to rummage through a collection of gorgeous vintage buttons than to view them in some more formal way. I always enjoy getting to touch beautiful things, as if by touching makes them more real. Boxes are tactile, they need to be touched in order to fulfill their function, so I keep returning to them in one size or another. In this moment in time I'm enjoying this slightly larger than matchbox size.
This box is quite plain on the outside - I've covered it with tea-dyed paper and added a linen string you can use to either to close or to hang the box on a wall (in the second photo I've looped the string around the box before hanging). The inside, on the other hand, is a small feast of materials and textures: the focus on the bottom half is the trio of vintage photo portraits, two of which have been hand tinted, and the top half features a collage consisting of antique book text ("a prettier girl I never knew"), metal discs sewn with seafoam-colored antique silk thread, handmade lace paper and layers of tissue paper. The adjoining hinge area is covered with book cloth to ensure this box can be handled without the two halves coming apart.
I suppose I'm taking a small break from bookbinding to create these small mixed media pieces. I was getting a bit tangled up in my thoughts about what do I really want to make as a bookbinder, so this is a welcome breather from that stuff. I have all these ambitions about making great books, and I think I'm pretty good at what I do, but I feel I need to evolve more, to make more, to go further, and to make books that challenge my existing skill set. I've lain so long in my comfort zone it's hard to pick up a paring knife and start doing fine binding again, not that fine binding is necessarily the way I want to be going, but that's what I was beginning to be good at when I was finishing up my studies 7-8 years ago and I've since regressed at a sad rate. I've been reading a lot about fine binding, browsed Pinterest endlessly and pinned hundreds of designer bindings
to study, and I feel I'm regaining my confidence and strength. Superpowers are clearly not within my reach without serious dedication and hard work, so I've decided to really think this through before I finetune my focus on bookbinding so I won't leap in the wrong direction only to regret it in six months. Some sort of narrower focus is in need. Maybe it's not fine binding that I really want to study again/more, maybe I ought to learn new, more paper & structure oriented techniques. Maybe something else entirely. I just know I'm not content staying the same and making variations of the same books over and over again as I was beginning to feel stuck. Playing around with paper, board and vintage materials loosens up my nerves, thoughts and fingers, so I'm running with it and sharing my creations while it lasts.