MMDU_ArrestedDevelopment_P1120628_studiogpgRecently, I had one of my pieces (one of the 3 ”Arrested Development” black and white pairs from the Series ”Mute Message Down Under”) purchased by a customer from Laval, QC.

It is meant as a gift for his mother’s birthday. Since I found it was a lovely reason to buy one of my pieces, I decided to make a box for it to travel safely and be worthy of the gesture.

I have always admired the Japanese for being very thoughtful regarding the packaging of their work as they believe it to be an extension of the work itself. Called ”Tomobako” (accompanying box) it serves as a means of storage for the artwork and a way to authenticate the piece as the maker often puts his mark/brand on it.


Here are few interesting sites to learn more about Tomobako:

http://www.e-yakimono.netvase_tomobako (French only)


For this project I had in mind to use one of the available laser-cutters that our city library owns, in Ottawa’s first public makerspace. I had been ”certified” to use it in 2014 and had not had the chance to use it yet. It took a first failed attempt to realize that even with the knowledge I have in design softwares, Inkscape or SketchUp are hard to understand. Because I needed to deliver the artwork in the following weeks, I had no time to learn how to use them, which meant I had to look online for shortcuts.

While I was told one could get designs from Thingiverse where I found an awesome box (maybe for later), due to size constraints I instead went for an online software that is especially designed to deliver a file to make boxes called MakerCase.

Once the pieces were cut by the laser, I realized the thickness I entered for the wood was not quite right so the junctions do not fit seamlessly. As well, there was a strong burnt smell. So I thought I’d get rid of it by rubbing the cut parts with baking soda… It made it smooth and less smelly but I left the pieces outside for a few days to air as well. I used No More Nails glue on all the pieces except for the lid of course and since it didn’t dry transparent (yikes!) I resorted to painting the seams with Van Dyke Brown acrylic paint. It made the seams shiny again.

Being a first, the result is not perfect but overall, I’m pretty pleased with it and was proud of the astonishment of the buyer’s friends who would deliver the box later in the week. I just hope my customer’s mom doesn’t mind that I put my artist statement in English only…