We love pets, and we realized recently that we have not been giving adequate attention in our work to the animals most of us live with. We live with dogs and birds, and we know many of you people who are owned by cats, so we've been focusing these animals recently. To left, a rosewood box with two cast glass preening parrots on a wood and copper perch. Each parrot is individually sculpted. Below, two dog-on-rug boxes (our dogs love to sleep on rugs). First, a white cast glass dog on a needlepointed rug (yes, I needlepointed that rug- without a pattern painted on it, thank you). And a small black glass dog sleeping on a handmade rag rug (and yes, I made the rag rug, too).
And for you cat people, two new cat and fish boxes: an orange glass cat reaching a paw down to fish in an etched mirror aquarium on a walnut box, and woodburned cats on a maple box reaching up to catch 22K gold goldfish etched on many pieces of plate glass glued together and polished to a shine. All cast glass pieces were cast by us in our own kiln using the lost wax method, and the 2 glass aquariums were etched by hand by us using our own sandblaster.
Our finished sea monster box: swirly cocobolo with green cast glass head, body, and tail. It's lined with green suede, and weighs about 10 pounds! The wood is just gorgeous. And another new finished cast glass box: a glass hand cast into the glass top, polished sides, and a delicate lacewood and walnut base. The glass changes color depending on the light: inside it's blue, outside it's purple. It's really pretty awesome, and it's one of our less expensive cast glass pieces!
And some pieces in the works: our first experiment in cast black glass, which turns out to be a booger to polish: a black glass box sandblasted with a swirly design. We're thinking white holly wood for a top and base. And next to it, our newest box in the works: an orange cast glass cat crouching by a vintage brass birdcage (we painted the little bird green) on a beautiful walnut top. It will get a walnut box under it. Once these are finished, they'll be for sale!
And below, a top with a glass hand rising from it. Zombiesque! Also, a new tentacles box in cast glass. Both hand and tentacles are in shift tint glass, so they appear different colors in natural vs indoor light. Behold! Ah, I do love tentacles. I feel a bug phase coming on, though. Beetles. Lots and lots of glass beetles
And we'll be at Septemberfest at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas next weekend. Come out and see us and all the other artists there!
Another finished cast glass box- the swan box of lovely soft blue-gray glass got this beautiful dark walnut base that echoes the art deco curves of the swan. Just the wooden base is a work of art on its own (Tom is a fricking wood genius). These cast glass boxes are blood, sweat, and tears to make.
Below, our latest effort right out of the kiln- a glass box decorated with a leafy vine design ( I wish I had a picture of it in wax, because it took A LONG TIME to make the wax model- tons of little wax leaves, each detailed with a toothpick. The glass is a shift tint, so there are two pictures of it, one in natural light (where it's a pink/orange tint) and one in indoor light (where it's an olive green tint). It sorts of shimmers between these colors depending on how the light hits it. Cool, huh?
And another mermaid box- an aqua cast glass top in a box of bird's eye jarrah with turquoise inlay and curvy sapele legs- it's treated with oil and then epoxy so the sides look like they're dripping with water. Now Tom is sick to death of girly shit like mermaids and swans, so also below is a new etched glass topped box: an homage to the great Julie Speed's painting War Bride. This is glass etched on two sides (jellyfish on one side, skull on the other), with peppermint wood (a weird Australian wood) sides with a watery, swirly natural coloring, and a swirly blue painted base.
We are proud of ourselves- this cast glass box is really beautiful! The blue glass box and top both have a watery, dripping effect, and the pink cast glass shell on top turned out perfect. Tom is making a walnut base with wavy, curvy legs for it, and it's gorgeous. We're almost ready to start casting in lead crystal.
Below, a Medusa box. Medusa and snakes are woodburned and painted. The sides are yellowheart. The inside is lined with red suede, and it will be hinged. Next to it, a new etched, goldleafed, and painted glass for a box top- two koi. They were etched into the glass, then goldleafed in spots, then painted with enamel paint in the etch. This will get a watery colored painted base.
To the left, a new glass-topped box made of wenge with bloodwood detail. The ravens were etched into the glass and then stained black. The base is leafed with 22K gold and copper in a sunset pattern, then epoxied to get a reflective effect from the ravens on top. Below, a new tall leggy box made of a gorgeous live-edged mesquite with sapele legs and a stone frog on top. And we're making another frog box- in glass- because we love frogs so much. Finally, below, a new Little Red Riding Hood Box, with Little Red in the winter woods woodburned and painted on top, and a wolf inside (both top and base are maple). The sides are padauk.
Here is one of our first kiln-cast glass boxes! It's solid cast glass using the lost wax method. The lid has a glass shell cast into it in different glass. It does need some grinding and polishing to make it smoother. This will get a wooden base and legs, probably something like the legs on the zigzag box shown below, only curvier. More are coming as we experiment with different methods in the kiln. These take forever and a day to make: making a wax box and lid, pouring plaster mold material around them, melting the wax out of the plaster mold, prefiring the molds, then loading them with glass and firing them for 3 full days! Then the glass needs cold working to remove the extra glass at the base and clean up any blips- the uneven look at the bottom is due to extra glass that needs to be ground off.
We started making this box as a prototype for a cast-glass box, but it looked so great in design that we used beautiful woods (bocote for the sides and yellowheart for the legs, base, and top), and it turned out gorgeous. It has brass detail on the legs, and a bronze bird skull lid lift. Below, a new story box: Rapunzel woodburned on maple, with 22K goldleafed hair, leaning out her window. On the inside is a woodburned and silverleafed pair of scissors. The sides are yellowheart. Below, a new etched and painted glass-topped hummingbird box: walnut with a woodburned and painted maple base. It's hinged.
And why can't our parrot say "Peekaboo"? ALL the YouTube birds say peekaboo. It ain't fair.
I've been thinking a great deal recently about the curious girls of mythology: Eve and Pandora. Here's a recent box effort: a Pandora's Box, with all the evils that plague humanity growing out of a hole in the top. Inside, of course, is what was left when Pandora shut the box: Hope, woodburned and goldleafed. The box is maple, woodburned (woodburning all those letters and leaves by hand took about 10 hours!) and painted, and the whole thing lacquered. It still needs some finish work, but it's fantastic.
Here is a new Eve woodburning for a box top- Eve holding the apple and spellbound by the snake. It's modified from a lovely painting by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer. Below, a new glass-topped box: an etched glass jellyfish painted and covered with colored epoxy. The sides are bubinga wood, and the base is silverleafed with sterling silver to reflect light behind the glass top. Also below, a pecan box with a woodburning on top modified from a Rossetti drawing- but I added a dog. These boxes will be for sale at Art City Austin this weekend, so come out to see them- and us!
Here is our newest box- probably my favorite in a long while, which is good, because it battled Tom the whole time he was trying to put it together. He is now my Yoshimi- he didn't let those evil monkeys win. The 4 sides and the top are glass etched with monkeys on branches. The sides are connected with dark wenge wood and legs, and the inside base is goldleafed in 22K gold, which makes it glow from the inside. It's hinged. I was inspired by the gorgeous cast glass and brass monkey boxes of Georgia and Joseph Pozycinski (I would DIE to own one of these, but I'll remind everybody that our boxes are much less expensive). These made me want to make an awesome monkey box, too, and so we did. And the Pozycinskis have also inspired me to travel to Oregon in May to take a week-long glass-casting class from the master: Linda Ethier. Hopefully, cast glass boxes will be coming soon!
Tom Beach and Amanda Walker