A while back, I had the chance to interview the artist Laura Davidson as a part of my Book Artist of the Month series. Since then, Laura and I have stayed in contact with each other, which has given me the opportunity to view some of her works in their various stages. Most recently Laura completed a set of prints illustrating various bridges across the country. These six bridges were chosen due to their close proximity to the many spaces Laura views as home. The act of crossing these bridges, Laura is filled with the anticipation of almost being home, therefore, the set of prints are aptly titled Almost Home.
Laura presented me with the opportunity to build an edition of boxes to house the prints from her Almost Home series. I was quite elated. I’ve really enjoyed Laura’s work and was excited to be working with her. Laura knew she wanted a clamshell box, something sleek and clean. I’m came by her studio and we discussed material options and how the prints would fit in the box.
After everything was settled and the materials were ordered, I began working on the small edition of 8 clamshell boxes. Clamshell boxes are pretty straight forward, but with Laura’s boxes I would be adding a few custom elements. First, the base of the interior tray would include some padding. The prints themselves had no discernible thickness, but Laura wanted the box to be at least ½” thick. So the outward appearance of the box was the right height for Laura and the interior height of the tray was right for the prints.
Once the binders board was cut and the trays were assembled, it was time to cover them. Laura chose silver Canapetta cloth for its durability and textural qualities. The color also complimented the prints and the industrial feel of bridges. To streamline the process I used a small paint roller and paint tray filled with PVA.
The second custom element came as the material used on the lining of the trays. Laura provided me with 8 sheets of hand-drawn decorative paper. Using a combination of ink and markers, Laura’s custom lining paper pulled imagery from the prints and grabbed colors from the boxes and brown wrapper. Below is an image of one of the finished boxes showcasing the lining.
Finally, it was time to make the cases, which were also covered in silver Canapetta cloth. Before covering, however, I had to create a label well on the front cover board and the spine piece. Each of these wells would be filled with a printed label that Laura had provided me. I also used a paint roller to streamline the process of making the cases.
The hand-printed label on the front cover is an ‘A’ both acting as the support beams of the bridge and the first letter to the title of the series. The label on the spine came from extra prints from the series. Laura artistically cut down the print to isolate some compelling and inciting imagery.
It was quite a joy to create these boxes and to work for an artist as talented as Laura!