Shadow Boxing: Caffeine-driven schemes that (sometimes) actually worked
"No project is worth doing, unless it's worth abandoning." —Alvamac Woodfield  

Fig. I. – Bullfight in Spain

Fig. II. – Forced perspective is essential.



Imagine all the universe inside the space of a shoebox. That is the illusion shadow box architects dream of actualizing.

I caught the bug while thumbing through a book on miniatures at the local Borders Books. I'm not talking about playing with dolls here. This is a real art form. Anyway, I had had just enough espresso to fuel an all night creative binge, so after rummaging though drawers, closets and boxes, I was ready.

I created this scene for no other reason than the plastic bulls I found suggested it (see Fig. I).

Too pumped to wait for better materials, I made the rest of the props out of paper and colored pencils. (Fig. II) The whole thing went into a shoebox fitted with an old magnifying lens.

About four o'clock in the morning the espresso gave out, and I've never made another shadow box to this day.


The New,
or, How I Built My First Piece of Furniture 
without the Aid of Anybody Named "Norm"
New Yankee Workshop

Fig. I. – The 1964 card-catalog end table.
(Pottery Barn, eat your heart out!)


Fig. II. – Absurd Musical Chair.



My brother, Benjamin, found this really cool 1964 card-catalog file at an antique shop and gave it to me as a gift.

As cool as it was, I didn't have a clue what to do with the thing, so it sat in the middle of my bedroom floor for several weeks. Until, a friend came over for a drink and we used it as a make-shift table. It worked great, but was too low.


The next day I went to Home Depot and bought some stylistically-compatible legs. After two more days of measuring once and cutting twice, drilling, nailing, gluing and painting with oils, it was done.

The amazing thing is, I didn't ruin it. It turned out perfect. Now everybody wants one.

The removable drawers hold everything from coasters to the remote control.


Sometimes you can take two functional objects and make one totally useless object! Combine a nice guitar with a chair, and you can neither sit on it, nor play it. NICE!


Coming soon: How I built a 2-ton bronze cannon for my front lawn out of paper-mache. [Home]