Friday, February 16, 2007

Collecting Boxes and Treasures

Does collecting boxes go along with our love of stitching? Or is it just in our nature as human beings to secret special things away so we can revisit them and enjoy again the bittersweet memories that come with a glance or a touch? Boxes are to care for things.
First, I'm thinking of all the mysterious and delicate boxes cherished by women over the centuries ...some plain, some beautiful. For instance: Ivory and wooden carved treasure boxes, boxes made of bone, wire and cloth, feathers and sticks, and hand-made papers. Can you imagine the boxes of queens and ladies? Boxes rich with silks and beading, stumpwork, blackwork and other embroideries, silver and gold, enamels and painstaking paintings of madonnas and knights.
Then, we may know of boxes that hold tiny, precious things like robin's eggs, locks of lover's hair, little gold hearts and tarnished trinkets, a silver needle with scarlet thread, an antique picture of a child, a smooth rock or sparkling gemstone, a shell with sand and salt still tucked deep inside smelling of the ocean, a blackbird's irridescent feather, an acorn or a bit of faded ribbon, rose petals from a long-ago corsage, a rhinestone from a special gift only we remember.

Lots of stitching tool boxes fill my house. I keep my scissors, thimbles, silver laying tools, scraps of silky threads I can't bear to throw away, and scraps of hand-dyed ribbons, too. I keep pins from stitchaways and seminars, tiny buttons and silver needle holders, and a tiny handmade paper notebook with a pink/mulberry/navy marblized cover. There are stitching "toys" and little small things to decorate my area when I stitch. Fobs and follies, laces and tattings are in my boxes. I have a box just for beautiful fountain pens. Boxes and boxes of beads! I've decoupaged big boxes for charts and patterns and fabrics. I have boxes just for each type of thread....
There are boxes where things are kept like a shiny penny to remind me of a funny stitching friend in MA who said she always found pennies to reminded her of her husband who had passed away... and where I keep a dollar bill torn in half to affirm the link to my own first husband, who always kept the other half in his wallet before he died. And, a funny tin box is in my collection with a small picture in a tiny frame that's too private to share. Hidden in a box of things, there's a small picture of my own face as a baby, so I won't forget who I am inside and where I came from. Boxes are artful things created by the hands and hearts of others. I appreciate the art, and I appreciate the artists' offerings. If you don't have lots of boxes, I hope after this, you will. If you do have already know just what I mean.

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