The year is 2003, and it has been tough. Work is a nightmare and I am in desperate need for a way of chilling out. So I started making boxes.
I had dabbled previously playing with simple designs and discovering patterns through packaging books but this became a bit of an obsession. Starting with that same simple cube shape, I found that creativity really focused my mind. The act of exact measuring, careful cutting and precise folding was deeply therapeutic. Quickly I made 2-3 a week, which started taking on the shapes found in my doodles. The boxes started to mutate, tunnels added, corners cut out, staircases adjoined, and inward and outward boxes took over the faces. Soon I had more than enough to turn the 2D doodle 3D. People looked on at this as either very weird or were very complimentary, even requesting a box themselves. So I started making them as cards/gifts. None of the boxes were the same and always seemed to reflect the person themselves, as I would try to incorporate specific elements and imagery specific to the recipient. In some ways the boxes took on their own personality depending on who I was making it for. Only once did I make a box specifically for myself.
Created in June 2003, the box was described as the Large Swirl Cube. It was the first time I had used A3 card so the dimensions ended up being 9cmx9cmx9cm, and I was a little worried the size of each side (plus the flimsiness of the card) would make the box unstable. I needn’t of worried. The mottled light brown colour base card had an unexpected rigidity, and the attachments added some stability. There are three attachments in total, a 3cmx3cmx9cm tunnel running through the whole cube, a 3cmx3cmx1cm outward square adorns one face whilst a 3cmx5cmx1cm inward oblong takes over the opposite face. These are in a slightly darker brown. This was a very simple almost calming design but it needed a little chaos. The addition of dark brown cut out swirls on each face gives the cube movement but importantly the colours don’t shout out, keeping the design tranquil. I really like it, and for many years this box would take pride of place finally becoming my twitter avatar. Like Frankenstein, the creator & monster would finally become indistinguishable.
More box adventures to follow