This piece came to life during dinner and drinks as friends were talking about a special way to present the notes and well-wishes from wedding guests to a soon-to-be bride and groom.  We talked and shared ideas and soon l’anthologie de l’amour was born.

Meaning and metaphor are woven through l’anthologie.  The ‘covers’ are made of antique heart pine reclaimed from a furniture factory that was deconstructed in the West Bottoms area of Kansas City and ash that was given to me by a friend.  Two woods, one hardwood, one softwood, one old, one new, come together harmoniously and bring their histories, much as people in a relationship do.

I created the covers by cutting out their rough shapes on a bandsaw.  Then I refined and softened the shapes, first with an angle grinder then with rasps and sandpaper.  I then sandblasted the boards to bring out the amazing texture I knew was hiding under their polished exteriors.  Inspired by the traditional Japanese process of preserving wood with fire, called ‘shou sugi ban’ in the West, I charred the boards to further enhance the texture.  I used a wire brush to remove the char.  Several rounds of charring and brushing resulted in the just-begging-to-be-touched texture of the final piece.  This transformation represents how life’s experiences, lessons, chance encounters and relationships shape us and soften our sharp edges.

I included a copper inscription plate, hand stamped with names, date and some especially meaningful lines of poetry.  I flame treated the copper to reveal spectacular colors that are not seen until fire is applied to its surface.  Often life’s experiences reveal strength and beauty we didn’t know we possessed.  Left unsealed, my hope is the copper develops a beautiful patina with time and perhaps picks up the fingerprints of those who touch it, echoing the way our lives are indelibly touched by those who love us.

The final bit of adornment, a rock I brought back from New Zealand, is included as encouragement to seek out adventure.

Although l’anthologie was created with the wedding in mind, I sincerely hope that it becomes a place to capture love notes, everyday memories and perhaps the well-wishes of friends and loved ones for many anniversaries to come!