Designing Fine Boxes

Inspiration and Influences

nautilus-shellLike most designers, craftsmen and artists I find inspiration in many places and I am influenced by other practitioners and art movements.

I find beauty in the colours, the rhythms, the textures and shapes of the natural world. The proportions found in everything from sunflowers, nautilus sea shells and the human body have been described by mathematics through ideas such as Fibonacci numbers, golden sections and spirals.

These have been used for thousands of years by artists, designers and architects to inform their work.

Architecture both ancient and modern informs my work; from the classic proportions of the pyramids at Giza and the Parthenon in Athens, to the shape of edifices such as the Gherkin in London and the curves and lines of the Guggenheim in Bilbao.  Structures of all kinds from buildings to bridges lead to ideas of shape, silhouette and form.

I am particularly inspired by the modern decorative movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The organic motifs and stylised flowing shapes of the Art Nouveau contrasting with the almost industrial geometric and streamline nature of Art Deco.


In fact it would be difficult to fully analyse the origin of any particular ideas as they tend to be a interweaving mesh of varying influences, half thoughts and inspirations.

Designing a Fine Handmade Box for You

After reviewing your requirements, likes and dislikes, the next stage is to use them to develop an idea into a workable design that is well thought out and resolved – basically just looks right. A set of drawings will be drafted for your consideration.

sketchingI prefer to start with sketching; producing shapes and outlines that try to generate, convey and evolve ideas.

Occasionally an idea progresses beyond my original intention and may lead to a further interesting idea – or nowhere (luckily all ideas can be collected for future use).  I try to determine the best shape or form of the box and play with its dimensions.

Sometimes I create a maquette or model to better help me understand the form and proportions.  This aids the positioning and proportions of components that break up this form such as drawers, doors and lids.


The colour and decoration of the materials are then considered.  I like contrasts which in my own projects lead to mixing dark and light, whether timbers, linings or textures.  But where no real preference exists then my drawings may show a variety for your consideration.contrasting-woods

Areas such as motifs, patterns and applied decorations are considered and can be reworked a number of times until a pleasing effect is found. Feet and handles can be very tricky and sometimes quite elusive.  A lot of work goes into making something look clean, simple and elegant.

The drawings will be fashioned to give an impression of the fine handmade box.  Many people, me included, find technical drawings to be overly complicated and sometimes difficult to relate to the real world. This is why I produce drawings that will give you an impression of the final box.


These drawings will be forwarded to you for your attention. At this stage changes can be made until you are happy with the design.  A final drawing will then be made for your approval, if you wish this may include a more technical drawing.