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BOXES beyond borders

Whittle Box

Patricia Smart
Australia 1995

My whittle box was created in a moment. I wanted to express through the box something which was inherent about my life as a woman now.

When I began the box, I was looking after a recent exhibition. With time on my hands and feeling at ease and relaxed, I began to craft the box carefully smoothing the edges and finely sanding the surfaces.

I put the box away, took my exhibition to another state and on my return found myself overwhelmed by things to do. Every one wanted a piece of me and I wanted to do it all, but I found myself being whittled away, becoming more fragile with each passing day. I carried my whittle box around with me everywhere, waiting for an opportunity to work on it.

Finally after finding myself locked out of a premises one day tired and frustrated, I took my whittle box out of my bag and began whittling and stuffing the wood shavings back into the box the way I wanted to try and renew myself. After a few hectic minutes of total expression I fell asleep.

My whittle box is an expression of the frustration and fatigue felt by those who give until it hurts, stretch themselves to the limit and find that sometimes, they lose sight of themselves.