We love fairy tales, and love using boxes to tell fairy tales in two iconic images on the outside and inside. We've been on a fairy tale jag recently, so here is our newest effort: a "Snow White" box with the wicked Queen's magic mirror on top (surrounded by a woodburned and 22K goldleafed frame), etched with the beginning of those famous words (mirror, mirror on the wall...)... and the rest on the inside, with a woodburning of the witch's hands holding out the poisoned apple. It's walnut on the sides and maple for the top and base, with a touch of red enamel paint on the edge of the lid for that "white as snow, red as blood, black as ebony" look. It's hinged.
Below, an older box of "Rapunzel": Rapunzel with her long golden hair leaning from her balcony on the top, and a silverleafed pair of scissors inside. And next to it, the pieces for a "Red Shoes" box: a woodburned dancing girl with the ribbons of the red shoes twining around her, making her into a marionette. On the inside, the same girl, a skeleton, still dancing in the red shoes.
Fairy Tale Boxes
And below, our newest "Little Red Riding Hood" box, with the wolf inside, and next to it, the pieces for a "Cinderella" box, with the woodburned ragged girl being presented with the golden dress, and a pumpkin nearby. Inside, the glass slipper on a red cushion. Below that, the woodburned pieces for a "Sleeping Beauty" box: on top, the sleeping girl's face surrounded by thorny branches, and inside, the spinning wheel with a hand reaching out to touch the spindle.
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.
Below are new boxes to debut at Artscape art fair in Dallas April 25-27. First, a new Little Red Riding Hood box- walnut sides, woodburned and painted maple top and base. The top shows Little Red walking into the dark forest; the inside shows a snarling red-eyed wolf. Also, a new handcarved, slightly heart-shaped walnut box with turquoise inlay and a snaky design in relief.
And coming soon- new carved tops waiting for Tom to get off his butt and make boxes for them. He seems to think that a major bleeding finger injury is an excuse not to use that hand. First, a spalted maple wavy top: it looks like stone.Next to it, a curly myrtle top carved in one big curling wave, with natural purplish stripes in the wood. Gorgeous, if I do say so myself.
And we proudly announce that we are the proud landlords of a new family: 4 baby cardinals in a sturdy nest in the bamboo outside our studio. Behold our babies! They're ugly, but we love them.
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!
Our newest box- another in our "story box" series- with artwork modified from Laura Barrett's illustrations. This is "Snow White" with Snow White and the wicked queen woodburned on the front. The queen, of course, is looking into her magic mirror, which is real mirror inlaid into the maple, surrounded by wenge and purpleheart framing and woodburned detail. The queen has a 22K goldleafed crown on. The top is framed in wenge. Inside is a woodburning of the wicked queen in disguise as the old woman, holding out the poisoned apple, which is painted in red epoxy paint. The box is walnut with wenge trim.
And below are two new glass etchings- a woman and dog at sunset (we love dogs but have no dog love boxes- we had to rectify this!), and a murder of crows. Both are painted black in the etch, and the dog glass is covered with colored epoxy for the sunset effect.
Our newest box: walnut with woodburned and painted top and base. It's a "Contrast" box with (hopefully) a good deal of contrast between the top and the inside (shown below). It's now for sale.
Below, some of my first efforts at a new technique- epoxy painting on glass. These look great with light behind them: yet more birds at sunset, etched and then stained dark, with a goldleafed sun and covered with colored epoxy. Also, a sihouette of birds and branches, etched, stained dark, then covered with colored epoxy. When I feel comfortable with this technique, we'll make some boxes using it.
New boxes are coming- here is a Medusa top, and ain't she scary? This is woodburned and painted maple. The inside base will be a white Pegasus on a black background, since Pegasus sprung from the blood of Medusa after Perseus cut off her head. The snakes on this, on the black background, turned out very well.
And below- a new Little Red Riding Hood Box (woodburned and painted maple top and base, ipe sides), with a wolf inside, and a new glass-topped box: koi etched swimming under lily pads and a water lily. The box is swirly mahogany, and the inside base is lacquered blue and green in watery swirls. It will be lovely. The pic is of the top being clamped together.
Holiday cheer to all who love Greek mythology, fairy tales which seriously threaten girls' lives in weird psychosexual ways, and tranquil pools of swimming fish.
I just love e e cummings. Here is a new poem box: woodburned and painted top and base, padauk sides. Yes- I stole that face from a Man Ray photo, although I think my version is decidedly more interesting. I love how the red wood echoes the red of the heart and blood vessels. Tom made some beautiful dovetail joinery for this one. The wood is just beautiful. If you don't know his poems, get a little tipsy and sit down with them. They'll melt your heart.
I have a few more cummings box tops and bases in the works, but below is a picture of the inside and the text of the poem for all you romantics out there.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Also new: A woodburned and goldleafed maple top and bottom for the sweet lovely Yeats poem:
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Ah. Yeats. Y'know, Maud Gonne never loved him back. Maybe he was creepy in real life. I like this girl because, like Maud, she is not treading softly on his dreams. She is striding over them.
Tom Beach and Amanda Walker