A few months ago, my friend and fellow artist Elanor of Shantock Bears, asked if I would consider collaborating on a special piece. I would create a box and she would create the mouse that would go inside. It was to be based on the children’s book, The Gruffalo. I had never read the story before, but Elanor gave me a copy of the book and after reading it, I immediately began forming ideas on which direction I wanted to go. The following photos show its evolution.
Here’s the cigar box that I started with. I had to strip it of liner papers inside and the spine decoration on the outside.
After exchanging several emails (Elanor and I have an ocean between us), I was able to determine just the right position of the window I wanted to install on the front.
Saw, saw, saw. Just part of the plan and finally the window hole is ready.
The outside of the box had to be prepared for the painting and decoration I wanted to apply.
The inside had to be prepared too. I also painted the edges with the first of many coats of paint.
It may be hard to tell from this photo, but I used a very, very pale gray paint here in preparation for some stenciling,
which I got so involved in and excited by, that I forgot to photograph in process. So we’ll just move onto a snippet of the arrangement I was beginning to work out. What is that white blob?
Here it is painted. Still can’t figure out what it is? It’s a rock.
The following photo shows glass tiles that I added Gruffalo images to as a feature of the box. Something Elanor doesn’t know is that I bought these when we were in Oregon together two years ago. I had no idea at the time when or where or how I would use them.
There are quite a few steps that I didn’t photograph. Most of them involved painting and painting and painting. Also applying transfers and some c0mputer work. In the end, the back of the box turned out like this:
And here is the front with the framed window with real glass:
A view of the box from an angle so the spine is visible:
The box opened showing the right side with two trees, a rock, and quotes on the edges:
and the left side with the glass tiles, title and excerpt from the book:
The entire piece without the mouse. It’s the first time I have shipped a piece not having seen it completed. My part was finished and the mouse was finished but it would only be complete when they were together.
These last two photos, courtesy of Elanor, show it all completed! The mouse sits contentedly on the rock. When the box is closed, he peers out the window.
Here’s a close-up view of the right side. Isn’t that mouse adorable? It was a blast working on this project and great to have a chance to create something unique with and for a friend and her lovely family.