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.
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.
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.
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.
We now have an exhibit of our boxes in the the Austin ABIA Airport! Look for them just where you enter through the main security checkpoint in a pylon display case. These boxes will be in the exhibit until mid-May. We are available nearly every day for appointments at our woodshop in downtown Austin, so if you're visiting, give us a call (512-434-9171) to come see the boxes on these pages, or to discuss making a custom box.
Also below, new glass etchings. First, a girl with butterflies. The butterflies are goldleafed in the etch and then painted. Also, a new koi fish etching: raindrop splatters etched on the top of the glass, and the fish etched underneath, goldleafed in the etch, and then painted with orange and black.
And underneath, because they're both so gorgeous: Tom and Zazu. A man and a bird hanging out together. What could be nicer?
New boxes (and at great prices)- a woodburned and painted parakeet on maple, with pecan sides. The grain of the wood really cooperated here by giving a feathery effect to the green paint on the stomach. We are huge parakeet fans, although our two parakeets think we are disgusting, revolting beasts. We seem not to be able to convince them that we are good guys.
Below, a cockatoo box, also woodburned and painted maple with pecan sides.
Also below, two new etched and painted glass jellyfish; I was looking for a "watercolor" effect by putting paint on the etch and then rubbing most of it off. These have a lovely, delicate feel to them- they will make beautiful, mostly opaque box tops. They are finished with epoxy with paint swirled into it to give a watery effect.
Also, the beginnings of a new locking box with a steampunk feel: a cabinet box with a raised wooden raven on a woodbunred tree. The raven will hold an ornate brass key on a ribbon in his beak on the front. The key will unlock the walnut box, and the inside back will be a contrast to the starkness of the outside: a vivid rose with a hummingbird, butterfly, and beetle, all painted in iridescent paint. I do like contrasts.
Tentacled sea creatures abound- a pretty octopus: woodburned and painted maple top, ambrosia maple sides (the natural design on the wood looks tentacle-ish), and a blue lacquered inside base to match the color of the top.
And more experimenting with epoxy on glass below: etched mermaid and octopuses, stained dark in the etch and covered with colored epoxy, and goldfish, etched, goldleafed and stained in the etch.
Tom Beach and Amanda Walker