Walnut Shell Art Installation – concepts



walnut mental box 190317

gold walnut mental box 190317


braindead goldenwalnutmentalbox 190317





The thought process behind my ‘box’ which I completed for Tim Ilife’s multi-artist installation (see Blog entry 2.3.17 “in our minds there are many rooms…”) contained several threads.

Having a mature walnut tree in our garden sparked the initial thread of interest, seeing how each nut and shell was similar yet quite different from the next one. As with everything in nature, no two walnuts are identical. On researching the history of walnuts I became intrigued that in Victorian times the reassembled shells were used to pass secret messages and love tokens. Further research onto the resemblance of the kernel to the human brain lent itself to being used in this art project about mental health.  I chose to cover the empty pill box in black and white felt – a reference to yin and yang, darkness and light, and padded cells. Before I sealed the interior off I inserted three walnut shells that were filled with screwed up pages from the ‘i’ newspaper from Friday 13th January 2017, and strapped them into the shell halves with strong wire so there was no escape! I then combined concepts relating to Gulliver being tied down on one face of the box with the opposing face featuring a spiders web with its prey wrapped and ready to eat. Strands of copper wire and thread were used throughout. No one but me (and you!) knows what is inside the box making intriguing noises as the box is turned over. This project has intrigued me, such a simple concept but so many different interpretations as the 1000 artists all explore their own “rooms”.  Currently installed until the end of April at Bangor Cathedral, I will keep you posted as it travels to each venue over the coming months.

“In our minds there are many rooms…”

A recent Art Project that I took part in is being organised byTim Iliffe, lead artist. He states ‘In October 2016, in conjunction with MOMA Machynlleth, we were awarded an Arts Council of Wales Award to carry out a project which involves 1000 people in the creation of four installations across North Wales.’ Participants are sent an empty numbered CTNK pill box. ‘The boxes represent the state or contents of our minds at the time of making.       There are no rules! Cut it, paint it or burn it, in fact do anything you like. The returned boxes will be hung at four locations across the region.’

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Top image shows the installation in Bangor Cathedral running from 1st March to 30 April, bottom image shows my box. See separate blog entry for the story behind it.       https://timiliffeartist.com/in-our-minds-there-are-many-rooms/


View my previous SBP sketchbooks here

See a page-by-page view of my previous SBP sketchbooks by clicking the link below. In 2012 my first sketchbook was titled:’ My Mother’s Last Christmas’, a diary of the week I spent with her when she wasn’t expected to live for much longer. Two years later I submitted a sketchbook called ‘Inside Out’ which was a series of self portraits.


Sketchbook arrived from America!

sbp blank pages copy

It’s time to fill in another sketchbook for the SBP in New York. This will be the third time I’ve taken part.                                                                                                                           Here’s a bit of information about the set-up:

We are an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes global, collaborative art projects. Our flagship endeavor is The Sketchbook Project, a crowd-sourced library that features 35,418 artists’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries. Brooklyn Art Library is our storefront exhibition space in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY where The Sketchbook Project collection is on view to the public.                                                                                                                                       Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Open Tuesday to Sunday 12-6.The SBP currently holds around 35,418 sketchbooks by 162,081 creative people from 101 different countries.