I’ve been thinking a lot about stories and storytelling lately. Since completing my latest shadowbox pieces, which had a bit of a narrative, I began to think about stories and how they can add so much to a piece of artwork. While I’ve never been known to be heavy-handed with narratives, each of these new pieces have their own open-ended story.
Each box is a snapshot from a lyrical tale with the action stopped mid-story. I allow the rest to be determined by the viewer who adds his or her own interpretation as to how the story continues, and what the piece ultimately means. I always enjoy hearing other peoples’ viewpoints when it comes to my work. This adds another interesting level of interaction between the viewers and myself.
The inside of each box is decoupaged with vintage paper and select found objects are incorporated to help direct the story.
Pieces can either hang on the wall or sit on a table or bookshelf.
8 x 10 1/2 x 4 1/2
Maybe because I was starting with a box, but the idea of how things reveal themselves, was the original concept for this piece. I soon began to think about how hopes and dreams are revealed and the notion of not knowing the future until it arrives. I think the title, “Sometime, Somewhere”, captures that feeling perfectly.
The title was found in an old songbook from the turn of the century. This beautiful handmade box was found by my brother at a flea market. It’s an old cobblers box and each compartment was filled with hundreds of small nails and tacks. The lid, which has become detached, was once held on by 2 leather straps and will probably show up in a future piece. I’ve also collected all the old nails, tacks and accoutrements to be used throughout my subsequent work.
“The Recovered Key”
9 1/2 x 10 3/4 x 4 3/4
Whenever I’m walking in my neighborhood I’m always looking for (and picking up) discarded odds and ends. Sometimes it’s no more exciting than an old rusty washer shed by a passing truck, but sometimes you get lucky. I once found a great vintage key in the street; I polished it up and put it on my keychain. To this day I wonder what lock that key may open and who may have lost it. This piece is about that feeling you get when you have found some long lost item.
A great old box with finger-jointed corners houses this piece. The figure’s dress is actually a portion of an old doll’s dress I found at an antique store. Usually I make all the clothes from scratch, but this one was just what I was looking for and guided the color scheme perfectly.
“In the Woods, but not Alone”
7 1/4 x 12 3/4 x 2 1/4
Even though I currently live in the city, I cherish any time I can get out into nature. I grew up across the street from a large expanse of woods and feel I spend most of my childhood there among the many birds and towering trees. I find the woods refreshing, centering and calming. I never then, and still to this day, felt totally alone in the woods.
This piece is decoupaged with paper from a publication of John Milton’s work in Latin. Collected on the banks of the Ohio River, the branches help provide the setting. The woodpeckers are from a humble collection of wooden birds I bought a couple of years ago at a flea market.