Imagine the myth of Pandora's box turned on its head. Open that box and only GOOD things come out of it - beautiful things, magical things! Good memories, good ideas, good times and more. Certainly not pestilence and war and world-wearying troubles …
That's my dream, and it fuels my infatuation with making handmade clay boxes.
What I love about boxes:
They hold treasures and precious things. Your grandmother's wedding ring, a lock of your child's hair from their first baby cut? How about the tiny sculpture your father gave you when you were 11, or a stash of money?
They keep secrets safe. Yes, boxes conceal secrets - especially when you can lock them! Christmas lists, secret notes, an engagement ring you're not ready to give yet, the key to your lover's house?
Boxes contain disorder and organize our messes. Those trinkets we can't lose, our sewing supplies, even spare batteries - boxes holding our extra 'stuff' are everywhere; in the bathroom, under the bed, in the hall closet, in your office. They make all appear neat and tidy - and give your brain the space and energy it needs to be at ease.
The potential of boxes to hold surprises is unlimited! When you hold that box in your hand, you just don't know what's inside. A gift? A prize? That long-awaited engagement ring, or a wrapped box with a colorful bow that contains the gift of your dreams? Even your weekly organic food basket could be full of unexpected surprises like garlic scapes, hakurei turnips or yet another bunch of kale….
Empty space itself is magical - it's something that has yet to be filled - but maybe it will REMAIN empty. Empty space in a box will always be waiting for something precious or important; a treasure, a surprise, or a secret.
Wishes and hopes go into boxes - they just do. For instance when you give a wedding gift or a baby gift. When you bake a cake FOR someone and carry it to them in your cake box. When you open a box and whisper the wish into it that can't be spoken aloud, and then you put the lid on it.
Boxes can also manipulate time with memories - you put something into a box and forget about it. When you open the box and find your memento, present time melts away and you are reliving another moment; when your kids were tiny, when you married, when your father gave you that special and unexpected gift.
Some of the treasures I store in boxes:
I use all kinds of boxes: metal, wooden, silver, ceramic, old jewelry boxes, orange crates, cigar boxes and match boxes. My boxes hold:
The ceramic boxes I make….
….are sculptural, and always have a guardian atop them. The guardian dictates who owns the box, but not what's inside it. When I make boxes for people, the sculptures (what they are and how they're situated on the box) always say something about the person who has the box - but nothing about what's IN the box of course - that's the joy and mystery of boxes.
What an opportunity it is for an artist to have the FOUR sides of a box to decorate! It's like having a four-sided canvas to carve and paint on. And some of my ceramic boxes are double-tiered, giving me even more surfaces to carve on. Recently I've begun to have fun writing messages on my boxes - it adds a whole new level of meaning for me.
The Sea Turtle boxes, the Lionfish box, the Pelican box, the Dolphin box and others like them are expressions of my love of Florida nature and the beautiful environment I live in. For the people who own them, not only are they gorgeous and unique pieces to have in their homes, but they're environmental statements too. Beloved and protected sea turtles, the beautiful but invasive lion fish and our dear Florida pellies embody our love of the natural world and our hopes and wishes for it too.