I am not an artist, I am a plagiarist. This is not false modesty. It is the truth. I have stolen the simple and elegant style for some of the kindest people in the world, The Shakers.
I was taught how to make Shaker boxes by a very generous man, John Wilson. We met and I became his student at Shaker Village in Pleasent Hill, KY. That was in October of 2002. At that point it became my passion and living. Using their methods and approach to work, I build the boxes with domestic and exotic woods.
I consider myself very fortunate. First that I found something that I love to do and second I have a wife, three children, and a granddaughter that support me and my work.
In a simple box there is just four pieces of wood and about seventeen steps before you have a completed piece. Carving and shaping the "fingers" or "swallow tails" then pre-drilling for the copper tacks are some of the first steps. After this, off to the steam box for about 30 minutes. This procedure gives you that all important and very brief flexibility allowing you to bend the band around your form. This is done to first the bottom and then the top band. Giving time to dry, about two days, the bands are read for internal sanding. Now the top and bottom boards are custom shaped to each band, carefully inserted and fastened with wood pegs. What follows is much sanding then linseed oil and bees wax.
Birth Of Ideology
The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Coming, with their leader, Mother Ann Lee, landed in America in 1774. With their base in New York, the followers constructed self-contained communities disparate from the "world."
These communities built self-sufficient items required for carrying out day-to-day activities. They derived their strength from the belief that work is a form of worship and a desire for simplicity. With the ideology in mind, the shakers created many beautiful pieces, one of their prominent shaker inventions being their Oval Boxes. These were used for dry boxes and became iconoclast.