Lips Cabinet - 10 Years in the Making
I finally finished this “lips cabinet”. This is the silver chest I started nearly a decade ago. I had a few distractions along the way. I moved, was without a studio for several years, decided to never use painted wood again and then had a heart transplant - which slowed me down a little.
I wanted the piece to have a formal architectural look crossed with a bit of whimsey. I also wanted the openings to be theatrical and generate a “wow” moment. It was fun to design and build. However, I plan on being more timely on the next go round.
The cabinet is six feet tall and in three parts. The top and bottom are very formal black wood with aluminum pin stripes. Both top and bottom have doors that open to reveal red stained birds eye maple interiors. The top has a liquor cabinet and the bottom has a row of drawers with lip carved openings as finger pulls. The center piece is two drawers carved in the shape of a mouth. You insert your hand in the mouth to open the drawer. The wood is steamed Swiss pear. The interior is red stained birdseye maple.
I started making purses out of wood several years ago. I thought the end product could be interesting and it offered me the opportunity to explore all kinds of wood and wood combinations. There were also a number of technical and design issues which I had to address such as how it was hinged, how it closed, how the shoulder strap functioned and so on. For the most part I wanted the purse to be totally wood so I resisted using the "easy" approach of having leather sides. I made around two dozen prototypes before I felt like I had one that was worthy of offering to the public. This was the first time I made repeated designs of an object, but the only constant was the body shape and that can be altered by how it is cut.
Each purse is made one at a time and as I make one it becomes an evolving series of design decisions about choices of wood, latches, closures, straps and so on until each one becomes unlike any before it. I was also tweaking the design constantly and trying new ways of addressing issues; some which worked, as well as a lot that didn't. As I have progressed in making them, the purses had become technically more complex and way more time consuming to make. This is not the prescription for a production item, but I kept wanting them to be the best I could make them. The latest ones have registration bars in the top handle in addition to rare earth magnet closures. I have even made a couple with "wood pocket doors" for the sides, and the hinging has improved. I think I have made as much progress on them as I want to, so for now on I will make a few along the way, and the pricing will reflect the degree of difficulty and time. For the time being I am still only offering them for sale in my gallery and on this website. I have been numbering each one, so you can track the changes and improvements.
Silver Chest Commission
I am finishing my one and only commission. A silver chest. When completed, I will have more detailed photos. It is a cabinet with a formal top and base and two drawers for the silverware in the middle carved in the shape of a mouth. You put your hand in the mouth and pull to open the drawer. I call this the "Lips Cabinet".