400 Wood Boxes
|by Veronika Alice Gunter
Lark Books: 2004
Paperback, 352 pp., $24.95
As Tony Lydgate says in his introduction to this book, "Every box will invite the viewer to form an impression of the boxmaker's attitude toward the work." Of the four hundred boxes photographed, some are straightforward utility items, others are sculptural works, and still others push the boundaries of human thought, as does Michael Brolly with his alien bird forms where the breasts pop open and drawers swing out for small items. Po Shun Leong creates boxes that are miniature city-scapes, and Emi Ozawa produces a box with a lid that swings open as a pendulum.
This is a pictorial catalog of stunning work. Picture a thirty-six inch wide trunk made of cocobolo, pommele sapele and wenge, with interior accents of cherry and maple. Picture a layered pyramid with stacked drawers swinging open on a segmented steel rod. There is a box made specifically to hold a pair of chopsticks, and a humidor twenty-five inches wide using added glass, silk, beads, suede and sterling silver. Boxes are carved, sculpted, bandsawn, hinged at a single corner, and turned on a lathe. There are fine examples of inlay and marquetry, whimsical examples to make a point, and ideas that stretch the imagination.
Many of the boxes take some serious study of the photographs to see the hidden details. The creativity of these artists has to be admired, and the woodworking skills needed to carry out the vision are in evidence on every page.
. . . Barb Siddiqui