Wonder boxes

I’ve talked about a number of altered arts before such as altered books, altered photography and today I’m introducing altered tins (or boxes).  I like to create examples of various techniques that I use as inspiration with the  young people I see. Examples can be helpful but also can inhibit a young person’s creativity who is so insecure that replication is the only option envisionned. Therefore it is important to be careful when and how these personal art objects are introduced.

Wonder box

Wonder box

I’m also one who likes to recycle or more appropriately ‘upcycle’various found objects into pieces of art. Altering boxes and tins is an artform that is not new. It is really just another aspect of what is called assemblage or the creation of art object from the combination of different assembled pieces, a kind of 3D collage.  See many examples here.

We are all collectors of sorts from the time we are quite young. Some of these evolve into organized collections, others only exist as scattered pieces at the bottom of a drawer. What is collected usually brings pleasure or has a purpose. Do you remember collecting all sorts of knic-knacs in a special box that was opened numerous times in order to look, handle and rearrange its contents? Do you remember the wonder embedded in that polished piece of glass, that odd shaped seed, that piece of tin with the nice logo, or that colorful card.  Each piece was a key to a door in our imagination, a evocative object that could transport us into potential space, awaken hope and possibilities.

When I made this box* I wasn’t sure what to put in it. My numerous collection of things tend to be much too large for such a small box. It beckoned something precious. So without really thinking  I filled it with small trinkets that had in common the fact that they attracted my attention and curiosity, held my gaze and that is how I discovered the concept of a wonder box. What I also realized when i completed the piece that it was a kind of message meant to remind me of the importance of wonderment in our lives, that simple pleasure that is too often disregarded as not so important.

Children in particular need wonder to grow into healthy and happy individuals. Thomas Moore who has degrees in theology, philosophy and music and is professor of psychology and religion, writes of the importance of tending the soul in everyday life. He writes:

Ultimately what satisfies the soul is that which is captivating, spellbinding, and full of charm. A pragmatic person or society may explicitly place these values low on the list of priorities, and yet as individuals we seek these experiences and talk about them all our lives. What is healty may not be as important in the long run as that which is enchanting, and so we could imagine a therapy of the person and the world that serves enchantment and aims at charm (The re-enchantment of everyday life, p.189).

Altered tins beckon to be adorned and filled and serve as transportation devices into the imaginary realm of dreams and hope, and all things possible. What a great therapeutic tool.

* For those of you who are curious about the materials and techniques used I will say this:

The jewelry box (3 » x 4 ») was donated, the tin used on the cover was embossed with a leaf pattern from the aluminum seal in a coffee can, 3 coke can clips are used to decorate the surface which also has a found image embedded in a packing tape transfer**. The cover was rubbed with wax patina (turquoise) and the rest of the box stained with alcohol inks that stick to non porous surfaces. I saved the green velvet at the bottom and painted (acrylic) the one in the background with stripes collaged with thin organza cut outs in the shape of leaves pasted on with gel medium. The ‘gate like’ section was cut from a transparent plastic dish soap bottle and acts as a separate section to hold tags in the cover. These were embellished with stamping and various sayings written on them. The knic-knacs were also donated and come from jewelry pieces that were deconstructed.

**For packing tape transfer tutorials see here and here.

Classé dans , , , , , .

Catégorisé dans Création, Thérapie.

Publié le 03 juin 2009

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *


Vous pouvez utiliser ces balises et attributs HTML : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


2 commentaires à Wonder boxes

  1. Creusa Brigatti
    Le 9 oct 2009 à 20:16

    Dear Francine!!! What a pleasure to navigate through your wonderous blog! Everything you touch become gold! It is inspiring and so so so pleasant to read all the words and admire all the images you have posted here so far! CONGRATS!! With love from the South…

  2. Francine
    Le 9 oct 2009 à 20:45

    Hello Miss Creusa, are you wowing the Brazilian art therapy scene? …It was Brazil wasn’t it?