Tuesday, September 27, 2011



Recently I was asked to make a commissioned box as a 50th birthday gift. This box was going to be a surprise for Kaci Cronkite...a local Port Townsend woman, an adventurer, a writer, a sailor/wooden boat owner and my friend. Right away I knew this box would be different from the others I have made.

Kaci was born and raised in Oklahoma on a ranch where the wind was a daily part of life. That same wind moved she and a friend, Nancy Erley, as they circumnavigated the globe in a sailboat (1995-2001) and moves her today when she is aboard PAX, her 28' Danish Spidsgatter built in 1936. Wind seems to be the common denominator of Kaci's life. As an artist, I was intrigued by this notion of making a box about the wind....a subject that can't be held in your hand or easily drawn or depicted. This was going to be a challenge.

Kaci is also very into books and writing and it was decided that this box, even though it is wall hung, would resemble a book....this was a first for me. The cover and spine are photo etched red brass. The cover depicts Kaci's boat, PAX, navigating the windblown waves of a wheatfield....melding her past and her roots with the present. A narrow piano hinge mimics the look of the hinge on a book cover. The over all dimensions are 8 x 10 x 1.5 inches.

On the backside of the cover I have etched the Beaufort scale, a scale developed by Francis Beaufort in the 1800's for determining wind force. The wording of this scale is beautiful and poetic. I especially love this description.... "Large wavelets. Crests begin to break. Perhaps scattered white horses." I added moon phases above and below the scale to show the passage of time and Kaci's connection to the natural world.

The back wall is photo etched nickel. The map is a symbol of Kaci's world travels and her circumnavigation. I have placed a small magnet on the map and eventually a tiny bronze sailboat will be attached there. Right now Kaci is wearing that boat (made by local artist, Cavin Ritchie) around her neck on a cord.

The bag, under the map, contains various life tools necessary for the navigation of Kaci's journey...a compass to find one's way....a sextant....a length of rope....etc.

A list is included in the box....things to remember to take. Kaci can lean that against the back wall as a reminder.

Even the edges of the box are etched parallel lines in nickel that resemble the edges of the pages of the book.

I like to use Japanese yen coins as the hangers on many of my boxes. As I was doing this I was pleasantly reminded that there is a stem of wheat on one side. This seemed so perfect for Kaci's box and a fitting end to my journey of etching the wind.

Saturday, September 17, 2011



Come join Shane Miller and Kim Kopp for an art talk at 2pm on Sunday September 18th at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend, WA. If you haven't seen the exhibit STORY/LINES yet, this would be a great opportunity to peruse the show. Kim and I will be talking about what inspires us....our processes and techniques...and much more. See you Sunday....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I was invited, along with Kim Kopp, to participate in a two person show at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend, WA. Saturday night was the opening. It was a beautiful evening and a large turnout. I am showing a selection of my narrative boxes....boats....and jewelry and Kim is showing a selection of her paintings. Many of Kim's pieces use metallic paints or gold or silver leaf which makes her work a perfect partner to my boxes which are photo etched brass, copper and nickel. These images don't do Kim's work justice....they need to be seen in person to understand the depth and layering in her paintings.

Even though I have shown my boxes at my annual GreyBird Barn sale for 3 years, this was the first time they have been shown in a Port Townsend gallery. The evening was filled with questions about the work and the techniques used. It was quite fun for me....a sort of coming out in my own home town.

The show will be up through September 26th and Kim and I will be giving an art talk on September 18th at 2pm. If you live nearby please come to the talk or stop by the gallery during open hours and spend some time with this show.

Here are a few images from the show. Remember to click on an image to see a larger version.

These look like some suspicious characters looking at art in another part of the gallery. Actually they are dear friends. Kate Snow is the center character....the curator for this show.