February 29, 2012

Container for a Letter

My relationship with my father is very complicated and I'm not fully ready to tackle it in writing just yet. He is an incredibly creative, talented, and charismatic man... but also a deeply flawed and ill man. Through much of my twenties he would send me letters; postcards with illustrations that he had painted, collages using large format film, boxes covered in hundreds of stamps, and often just simple hand written notes and ramblings. Sometimes I would get several letters in a single day and then they would trickle off and disappear for months... years... a physical embodiment of his manic ebb and flow.

I spent a lot of time considering these letters, all this paper covered with thoughts and emotions in a time when email was emerging and mail was fading. I remembered a letter a friend had held dear during a period of deep grief. She would fold it into her palm and over time the paper became stained and disintegrated at the creases. She put the letter in a box on her shelf so that she could keep it in her thoughts without destroying it.

I made this container for a letter, a vessel that encases and protects the paper. Its form was drawn from rocks on the beach which have been worn over time. It can be held in the hand or placed on its base for public display.

The container sits on my bookshelf. It's been a long time since I took it out of the base or looked at the letter. I just know that it's there.
 container for a letter / cherry, ash, and concrete


  1. "He is an incredibly creative, talented, and charismatic man... but also a deeply flawed and ill man." So many talented people are. There's definitely a relationship between being creative and being troubled.

    That letter container is fascinating. I've never seen anything like it!

  2. I agree. The mind of an artist is a complicated thing... but the one saving grace is that you have clearly inherited the good side of him. What an amazing container... I am impressed, but not surprised. Thank you for sharing this intimate part of your life. These words say a lot.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. The container is absolutely beautiful, maybe more so because what it holds is complicated and precious.

  4. My relationship with my father is also complicated. It seems mended then shatters again.

    I so enjoy getting to know you through blogland. You are awesome.

  5. Very beautiful. I am in awe of your talent!

  6. Whoa. That is absolutely beautiful, and I am freaking out a little over how cool you are, and trying not to gobble up all your past blog posts in one sitting because I love your writing so much.

  7. Your box and your sentiments are beautiful My ex husband is bipolar and has not had contact with our daughters for years. When he did, it was much like what you described. As a former counselor, I know that it is a difficult and heartbreaking illness.

  8. Thank you all for your sweet comments- they are so very much appreciated!

  9. You have found a truly inspired and beautiful way to cherish these keepsakes from your Dad - I really love it! If you ever started selling them I would definitely buy one.