I have been fascinated with wood for many years. The range of color, texture and pattern found in woods from around the world provides an almost unlimited creative pallet. Add to this wood’s malleability, and it becomes an ideal medium for creating objects of both beauty and functionality.
Like many, I started working with wood in order to afford what I otherwise could not. Projects included furniture, kitchen cabinets, and even home additions. No longer needing those, for the past several years, I have concentrated on designing and building wooden boxes. A box is the ideal vehicle for combining functionality with the elegance and beauty of wood. Jewelry, treasured mementos, and keepsakes are all enhanced with a wooden box in which to store and display them. When building a box, I start with the wood itself. I look for unique or interesting color, texture or grain pattern. I often prefer compatible but contrasting woods that in combination create a striking or sometimes subtle visual affect. Once I have selected the wood, then I begin to think of the box that will best utilize and highlight it. Size and shape are adjusted to fit the wood. As a result, even the same or similar design becomes a unique, one-of-a-kind work when completed. One of my original designs, my Pagoda Box, has been featured nationally, as shown in the photo to the right. It’s great to hear from woodworkers across North America who have used the article and associated plans to create their own work of functional art!
I hand make my boxes using woods from the U.S, Central and South America, and Africa. With a few exceptions for special effects, I avoid stains or dyes, preferring to let the wood color speak for itself. When hardware is used, it is solid brass for both beauty and durability. The boxes are finished with lacquer or penetrating oils and wax, as these bring out and enhance both the natural figure and the color of the underlying woods.
I am a current member of the Wisconsin Designer Craft Council (WDCC), www.wdcc.org.