Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Altered Cigar Box Revealed

I had posted a tease of this piece a few posts ago, but now that Margaret has the item in her hands, I will do a full unveiling. Seems appropriate too since I just showed you how I soaked apart the wallpaper used on this cigar box. The box definitely has a decayed look, which I love and I thought Margaret would appreciate too.

First I reinforced the boxes lid with a dryer sheet since the paper hinge was weak. Then I covered the whole box with vintage newspaper, circa 1930s (also found at my in-laws'), using watered down school glue. Then I washed the whole box with watered down gesso and wiped away the excess so the newspaper showed through in places. Next came the tattered envelope, reproduced photo (a friend's relative, not mine) and scraps of wallpaper. I sealed the deal with Mod Podge and seeing the filmy whiteness on the box before it dried, wished I had whitewashed the wallpaper with gesso to knock back the color a little. Margaret would have! This was my first endeaver with gesso (since using it to prime canvases in college a million years ago) so was a total learning experience.
I loved how the lace became translucent when it was glued down. Even though it was covered with a stiff layer of Mod Podge, it still added a softeness to the box.

Wherever I found "made in USA" on the wallpaper, I allowed the phrase to show on the box. So Margaret has a piece made uniquely outside Switzerland. Even the cigar box was from a distibutor headquartered in New York City. I allowed that info to show on the bottom of the box.

As brittle as the wallpaper was to handle when it was dry, it went down beautifully once wet with glue. They just don't make it like that any more!

The inside of the box holds vintage newspaper ads. Two women smoking cigarettes became a friendship flower exchange (even though Camels, it claimed, never jangle the nerves) and in the bottom of the box was a woman extolling the virtues of a certain brand of tea (only the tender tops were picked). She became shrouded in a rose garden.
Plenty of wallpaper pieces prepared now to do somethig like this again.
But Margaret got the first.


Linda said...

Oh how wonderful! I know she loves it.

Margaret said...

It's an absolute treasure to have, as I said before the photo's just don't do it justice! I still can't believe I have such a divine piece of work from you in my house! I was wondering how you achieved that translucent effect, it really has a very special feel to it, I've been showing it off to EVERYONE! This little gem has so come to the right home! thank you again Mx

Gunnels blog said...

This i so very beautiful! I can understand why Margaret love it!

Anna said...

really cool! again the genius of Nathalie, a cigar box! There's a smoke shop here in town and everytime I pass buy I oh and ahh over the cigar boxes..... Now I know what I can do with one!! Margaret now has a special place to store all her treasures from you in! xo, anna

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Just came from Margaret's blog, wonderful artwork Nathalie!!! It's clear you've tickled Margaret to no end :)

Ashlyn said...

Nathalie this is just AWESOME!!! You go, girl!!! Margaret is a lucky woman!!!
Hugs, Ashlyn

amybluestar said...

What a great little box! It's totally awesome.


Ragamuffin Gal said...

Now I get it ~ what you were doing with the wallpaper! The box is wonderful! I especially like the adaptations of the ads! Too marvelous for words! ;) Katie

TonyaA said...

oh! I just love this box. Just perfectly beautiful!
Blessings, peace, and love to you,
~Tonya :)