I enter another world when I go into my studio and begin to decide what to attach, which box to attach it in and where & how to attach it. Each box is absolutely one of a kind.
I begin an assemblage by matching the scale of the central elements to a box. The central element may be an item I have been altering for quite some time, or simply one or more ready made items.
I have a small room filled with shelves of empty old and new boxes. It’s the yes! box I look for. I hold the elements inside of however many boxes it takes to find the yes! This can take a long time. (There may be several boxes in a particular size range that are obviously not wonderful-the nos. Many times there could be maybes. When there is no yes! in my inventory, I put that element on a shelf and work on something else until the right box comes along.)
Yes! box in hand, the next step is to decide where in the box to attach the elements. And then, how to best attach each item invisibly and with enough strength to withstand shipping. (I don’t attach anything, however, until I decide what else will go into the box, having learned the hard way that it is much easier to invisibly attach something behind or beside the central element BEFORE the central element is attached.) The additional components in each box are chosen with consideration to scale, color, composition, function & symbolism.
I have learned to intuitively trust the various parts of the process such as when a box is finished or which images to use in collage (it’s that yes! feeling again). The process is exhilarating.
When I am not working on a specific box — or while waiting for the glue to dry, I may be knotting string that will become the hair on a doll head, repairing box parts, or building tiny nests. As potential elements are completed, they wait on a shelf until the right box comes along.