Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Matchbook Project Cabinet of Curiosities


I am really pleased to be invited to take part in the The Matchbook Project, especially since the theme this year is Cabinet of Curiosities. This is a group travelling exhibit/artist exchange where all the participating artists make 10 tiny boxes (3" x 2" x 1") and their contents. You can see images of previous works in this project here or follow the #inventoryofmemorymatchbox hashtag on Instagram. Artists may decide to have similar matchbox covers and differing contents, but I decided to make similar contents and different covers.

I returned to the idea of the two-headed turtle, for something which is both an example of natural history and something extraordinary which might fit in your wonderkammer. I carved two matching lino blocks for the turtle from above with the top of its shell and the turtle from below with the bottom of its shell and printed these on Japanese cardstock. Then I printed the shell itself on many different washi papers so I cold collage each section of the shell seperately.

I made the matchboxes themselves from Japanese cardstock in assorted colours, textures and sometimes with inclusions like gold and silver foil or silk fibres. Then I made assorted tiny pillows on which the polycephaly (two-headed turtle) specimen could rest. These were made in red silk or patterned cotton with a Japanese motif or botanical drawings (which fit with the cabinet of curiosity theme).
I collaged each of the boxes with all the bits of prints and proofs I've been saving so long: turtles on assorted washi, insect wings on delicate tissue, crystals on irridescent paper, beetles on washi, bees, radiolarians, fossils, mushrooms, butterflies and tiny vintage tarot cards from a beautiful sheet of paper I bought in Amsterdam many years ago.

I had so much fun making these I think I'll make more. I'm planning to list a mystery box in my shop, so that you can purchase one and have the contents be a surprise!

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