Friday, September 24, 2010


It's surprising what you can fit into a little box when you put your mind to it . I spent most of the morning photographing my collections and for some reason it gave me enormous pleasure seeing these bits and pieces within the confines of a box.

Soap stone carvings and Indian textile stamps....

Wooden hearts I carved whilst sitting next to the fire one winters night,

As well as my tiny goddess figures.....

Finely crafted wooden salt spoons....

Vintage bottles.....

Beaded safety pins....

Found metal objects....

I love stubby pencils sharpened with a knife...

Grass twine made by a group of women sitting in the shade of thorn trees .... It smells of Africa.

Guinea Fowl feathers and a Plover's egg swept out to sea and back again in time for my husband to find it on the tide mark...

Nature's treasures .... a joy to find.


  1. What a delightful post Robyn! I love all the things you've collected but I especially LOVE the stubby pencils :)

    Perhaps the box acts as a kind of 'frame' for collections which is why things look nice within them.

  2. great collection :}
    I love boxes ;}
    I am droping Your blog with pleasure

  3. This post reminded me of this wonderful cubby-filled totem on my wall - complete with a soapstone carving and little bottles. Since I love that carving, is it any wonder I love how you've done the photos for this post? :)

  4. Collections are so very satisfying, aren't they? Yours are presented with love, and it shows.

  5. Priya, there's something about stubby pencils! They look as if they have a story to tell.

    Thanks Barbara.

    Heather, I'm getting readu to carve a large niche carving so that's why all my bits and pieces are out.

    Jeane, thanks xxo

  6. Your treasures look charming in those little boxes. I have little piles of such treasures. No carvings though. Darn the luck.

  7. How funny why do we all love stubby pencils! LOL

  8. I too love boxes, when I die my children will probably burn the lot but until then I keep filling them!

  9. The box itself is rather lovely too...deep and square..perfect for those treasures.

  10. The image of the boxed egg and feathers is delightful. I love to photograph and paint birds, they are an amazing gift of creation.

  11. How interesting to see what you collect. When I see your carved hearts, lovely rocks, stubby pencils I see a story. My story is probably different from your story but the groupings pull up lovely memories.

  12. I am totally inspired! what great collections, presented in such a lovely way...

  13. This is a gorgeous post! I love seeing all those treasures tucked into those beautiful square boxes. It's breathtaking.

  14. I love collections....these are wonderful Robyn (especially love the guinea fowl feathers and plovers egg). So many little treasures to behold.

    Jacky xox

  15. I feel as though I can almost touch these things Robyn ... I love the illusion created by the boxes and strong background colour that we can simply place our hand in there and reach the objects and feel them, turn them upside down and be even more enchanted than we already are!
    Enjoy your weekend Robyn!

  16. I missed the Rusty Stuff post altogether but glad to find these little boxes. Amazing carved hearts and the egg is so fragile. My two favorites (collections) are the beaded safety pins and the short stubby pencils!

  17. I love the 'apartments' you've made for all these collections.
    I adore the goddess and heart carvings,,,such special creations,,how tiny is tiny?
    I also loved seeing Benita Murray's rust creations in your previous post. Just beautiful!

  18. Robyn,
    Thank you for always inspiring and sharing..You always amaze me with so much beauty you find.

  19. i find the collecting of boxes
    let alone intriguing contents
    utterly irresistible

  20. your blog is just so beautiful and inspiring. Lovely collections!

  21. You make everything look aesthetically pleasing Robyn.
    I have lots of similar things, but mine are in a big old jumble. You have inspired me to tidy up!

  22. Any chance you can come over and do my tidying? These look so gorgeous, I just want to sit and hold each one and take all the pieces out to look at and then put them all back again, several times over.

    I saw a photo on another blog the other day that I'll find - fingers crossed - and send you the link for.

  23. I love your photos of treasures confined in their little boxes - especially the one divided into four. Reminds me a lot of an old Dutch printers' tray I had - tiny compartments just right for displaying special bits and pieces, but a devil to keep dustfree!

  24. Hi Robyn. Hope you like seeing this. Here's the link to a post from Marg.

  25. What a splendid post, I think Priya is right, the box creates a little frame and transports mundane objects into works of art. Wonderful!

  26. I've just acquired a couple of boxes for display too!....Things look so different (as you say)...when confined...

    All I need now is internet back on my lappy :-(

    ..then I'll be up and running again :-)))

  27. Absolutely yummy, every one! I love boxes (and drawers) too - something about them makes whatever they contain even more special for having been chosen and stored somehow. I love the collection at the bottom especially - feels like the four elements to me - cowries for water, feathers for air, wood for fire, and pebbles for earth.

    etcetera etc. arrived! Cannot wait to sit and pore over it tomorrow... more yumminess :)

  28. robyn, what a great post. love all your goodies! especially the little people in the first photo. where are they from? framing within the box was a good idea. what you need is a long low table with a removeable glass top to put the boxes in so you can sit and enjoy your collections. Does dear husband have a "honey do" list?

  29. Each of your little boxes contains such love and joy and reminds me of the importance of the simple things in life which we often miss as we go about our daily journey......your collections are beautiful and I could see them in a book!

  30. The way you've placed your collections into the wooden boxes adds a curator's touch to all of the objects. I could see a grid-like print of these photos selling like hotcakes on your website. (for those of use too poor to buy an actual piece of your work)

    Who would think to collect stubby pencils? Thanks to you, I'll never throw another one away. I think it takes a special talent and eye to find the beauty in such a mundane thing. Thanks for showing me how much I'm missing.

  31. I love the pictures of your collections. Looking at the pencil stubs, they must be little. You have such great stuff. Can I come over to play? :)

  32. I have some of those textile stamps!!! Love your collections. I box mine too, sometimes- never thought to take photos tho - hmmmm, maybe today!!!
    Lovely post, as always...........

  33. Hello, Robyn! I like your collections, especially the hearts and the Indian stamples. I think the wooden boxes suit them very well. I'm so curious about boxes, I've always been! I love them especially when closed.:) Then they keep a secret and the promise to show you some "treasures" - even if they turn out to be old and useless but precious and dear for somebody's heart objects. Well, I must check out my collections and maybe put them in more suitable boxes, although I love the old ones, because they are a sign of the past.

  34. Better than a box of the finest chocolates!

  35. Chuffed. Right? Your entire post has me chuffed ;-)it's so magical to peer into intimate little spaces.

    The hearts that you've carved are like the 'AHA!'that I've been open to discovering.

    I now have a sense of what I will do with my carving knife sitting fireside when I camp under the stars in two weeks.

    Your artist eye keeps my artist eye chuffed!!

  36. I will add my voice in with the multitude...the boxes make your beautiful textile stamps, goddess figures,and stubby pencils significant and memorable. The box is lovely in itself and I agree that it is the perfect frame for your collections.

  37. Great things come in small packages! I love your collections and the wooden box you've photographed them in. I especially love the birds egg (ofcourse) your godess's and your stubby pencils.
    Thankyou for your visit to my blog:)

  38. Ahhh . . . .
    the simple beauty of
    repetition & containment -


  39. I think a box of Goddesses might come in very handy, and these look ready to travel out of that box! Stubby pencils and beaded safety pins remind me of the little cubby hole boxes we got in Kindergarten.
    Lovely post!
    Lovely Photos!

  40. Robyn - you and your blog are one of my "goto" places for calm, curiosity and creativity. THANKS my dear! Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

  41. Little boxes, stuffed full of goodness!

  42. Everything looks so beautiful!

    Have you ever posted here about how you carve things like these hearts?

  43. I love the act of containing and containment, the act of naming sorting and categorizing. A form of creation in its own right. Your "boxed" photographs are beautiful.

  44. these are so soft & gentle. I love my little printers tray with such a personal collection of little things, one of very few places I am neatly contained!

    I was drooling over your rusty post!

  45. Every object looks better in a group and every group of objects look better in a box. Great post!

  46. Wonderful idea!
    I like the safety pins.

  47. i'm a lover of boxes and collector of amazing little things too, but i honestly have to say that i thought i was the only person in the world with a stubby little knife-sharpened pencil fetish. love everything here, especially those pencils, the bottles and all of the gorgeous nature bits!

  48. heck you could have a gallery show of just this stuff! love the heats...the stamp stuff...all of it is very satisfying to see. what a wonderful little world you've created :)

  49. I'll just email my address over and if you could just pop all of them into one big box and send them to me that would be just lovely...COVET!!

  50. Oh I do like little boxes full of found treasures. Strange that only a month ago I decided to start collecting well used pencils. I keep finding them everywhere!

    I am also imagining care-worn fingers making that grass twine.

    Am off to salvage yards tomorrow, shall have to find myself some wooden boxes now.

  51. I'm always hesitant to comment when there are already so many comments- everything relevant must have been said, right? Reading the comments here, I have to say that's true. These collections are wonderful, and I think Seth summed it up nicely. But I just found myself wondering why collecting things and putting them into containers is so satisfying. Any psychologists want to comment on that?

    Fantastic post, Robyn!

  52. Dear Robyn-I absolutely love your collection of treasures...they look like beautiful still lifes tucked away like a secret. The stubby pencils are just too beautiful and the rope that...smells of Africa. And those Indian stamps are perfect! LOVE all your

  53. "Little boxes on the (wall) side, little boxes made of ticky tacky..."

    For some reason that song popped into my head as I enjoyed this post. (Even though the song is about suburbia, not your beautiful art and blog.)

    Those stubby pencils! I love the spotted feathers, too.

  54. I just love "collections" of found objects and natural elements, so this post really speaks to me. Fascinating to look at in their natural state, and I am sure you will make them even moreso when you incorporate them into your totems.

  55. simple items become so much more special when displayed in a box. I have some very old cigar boxes with bits of nature in them that are some of my favorite displays.
    lovely carved hearts! joyous post!

  56. These boxes hold the collections like the treasure for the eyes that they are. So beautiful.

  57. I love old weathered boxes with compartments in them-- when I find one I can't wait to fill the compartments-- which I also have to find stuff for -- an endless circle.

  58. I don't think that I could add anything to all these posts. It seems that many of us like to collect items and also boxes. I love the edges of these boxes. What a great post! It makes it seem as though you can really corral those similar items and make them pieces of art. Simple is nice, isn't it?

  59. I love your collection of treasures, especially the rusty stuff and your carved wooden hearts!
    I'm a collector too. I collect far too many things, stones, shells, feathers, washers and similar things, but I'm especially drawn to rusty and grungy stuff. And as you know I LOVE old wooden boxes...and I love it to fill them with my collected stuff.

  60. Thanks Lisa at Greenbow.

    Blu, I think they symbolize so much .... going back to childhood and our first pencils with an eraser on the end. Learning to write was magic.

    Penny, I think everyone has the same problem. We all hoard something don't we?

    Jackie, a box isn't safe in my house. It has to have something in it :-)

    Teresa Stieben, I also have a very soft spot in my heart for all things bird.

    Jo Reimer, every picture tells a story :-)

    Cat, glad you enjoyed the post!

    Pat, it was a fun post to do.

    Jacky, I've just remembered the quills you sent me .... another box to fill!

    Sophie, you make them sound enchanting.

    Mary Ann, its amazing the egg didn't break. My husband saw it bobbing in the water before it swept up onto the sand.

    Babs, the box is a little wider than a business card or match box.

    Katelen, thanks so much.

    India, we are partners in crime :-)

    Thanks dandelionlady.

    Jo Archer, I have been tidying mess all week and finally my studio/think tank is tidy. Its taken well over a year to actually complete the task.

    Annie, thanks so much for the link. They are amazing pencils aren't they!?

    Caroline, dust is a problem!!

    Ian Foster, the joy of turning the mundane into art!

    Chris, you must be up and ruinning by now. Holding thuimbs!

    Kendalee, the four elements ...I like that!

    Lyle, the stone pieces are from Zimbabwe.

    Thanks Cynthia, photographing the small things certainly makes one appreciate them.

    Stevie, that is wonderful idea.

    Diana, come over and play any time.

    Oogleboops, I've been collecting Indian Textile stamps for years.

    Thanks Kathryn Ramos.

    Rossichka, now there's a thought ... a closed box is full of mystery.

    Kim, better than a box of the finest chocolate ....That good!?

    Merci33, now I'm chuffed :-)

    Lrc, who can resist little boxes filled with treasures..... but of course, one woman's junk is another woman's treasure.

    Lucky Dip Lisa, every time I see a bird's egg or a nest I think of you so this little box is dedicated to you.

  61. Judith, exactly!

    Neva, I know the feeling :-)

    Mansuetude, a box of Goddesses could certainly come in handy :-)

    Renee, always a pleasure.

    Thanks Judah.

    Emma, they are simply ....whittled hearts.

    Hannah, thank you.

    Emma from Skye, it's a pity that printers trays are such dust collectors. I've just found a huge vintage printers tray which I love but oh its going to be such a dust collector!

    Thanks Seth.

    Wim, glad you enjoyed the boxes.

    Alteredbits, you will probably find their are many of us, arty types, who love collecting the same things.

    Paula, you say the nicest things:-)

    red-handed, exactly!

    Mimi, righto...pop, pop, pop.

    HHnB, let us know what you find at the salvage yards.

    Sharmon, I would miss you if you didn't comment.

    Soraya, miniature still lifes....

    Karine, that little ditty has been playing in my head too.

    Kerri, yes I did have that in mind.....incorporating little collections into my art.

    Lisa, yes, the mundane bits and pieces are elevated to art by framing them within a box.

    Thanks Christine.

    Donna, an endles circle of collecting ....yes!

    Teri, I'm liking simpler, the older I get.

    Gaby, I thought you would enjoy the wooden boxes of collections.

  62. Loooooooooooooooove
    your blog

  63. Each box collection is a delight. Finding the right box deserving of the collections is another delight. Love your photos of all. Inspiring!

  64. Such total beauty. Each photo is enough for a whole post.
    Do these objects remain in situ or were they only there temporarily for the photos?
    Ironic: my Sept. 29 post shows an Indian block-print carver in action from the most recent India trip I took.

  65. Robyn, these are beautful, I don't know what it is about open boxes filled with treasures. The way like objects look together so you can see their differences. The way the walls of the box frame them. The way darks and lights, shadows and form are so apparent? Anyway. These are very magical! roxanne

  66. Posts like these make my heart sing. I've recently been collecting images of collections (not my own, just collections in general) to use as inspiration at some point in the future. And then I open this post, and as usual, I am left perfectly sated.

  67. Its amazing what a difference it makes by enclosing and focusing on the subject with the boxes. The pebbles are my favourite...