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  1. Once you start doing petit point it isn't too long before you run into somebody talking about caskets and not the type you put six feet under the ground, but a small box covered in the most exquisite needlework from the 17th century. Once I saw some of the miniature ones...well, I wanted one too, but nobody was making them anymore and some people that came late to the scene also wanted some...and so I decided to make a few. There are a few plans out on the web plus some examples that other miniaturists have made, but I felt reluctant to just copy them, since I had never seen a real one I thought it would probably be a good idea to do some research, find out how they big they were, etc. It was when I came across this casket in the Boston museum of Fine Arts that I knew that I wanted to take on the challenge of making it as close as possible to this one. Most photos show the caskets only with the front doors open and doesn't reveal what is going on in them...which is a lot as you can see in this photo of the casket in the Boston museum and there are more photos on the museum's website. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/cabinet-118799 All those drawers, the top row completely hidden by a sliding panel, drawers hiding behind other drawers, there are just so many pieces in the casket, and the real caskets aren't that big either as I discovered when I studied the dimensions. Problem number one was deciding on which wood to use to make the casket, it needed to be as thin as possible, both to resemble the real one in scale and to be able to fit all the drawers into the miniature casket. Eventually I hit on the idea of using 1/32" plywood for the body of the casket and 1/64" plywood for all the drawers and inside partitions, by this time I knew I was going to cover all the pieces with paper on the inside and outside. Most of the antique caskets had paper on the outside of the drawers and were lined with silk, well silk was going to be too thick and after I had seen some caskets with marbled papers I decided to use that and found somebody to hand make it specially for the casket in Britain. Here is my miniature version with all it's drawers out. And a side view to show the double lid. This is the twelfth casket that I am busy making, I thought it would be fun to show you how I make one of the pieces for the casket. These pieces will become the ink tray that fits into the front of the top section of the casket, I found the easiest way to work with all these tiny pieces was to cut the paper into strips and glue the plywood to the paper strips. Almost done, just the last two dividers needs to be glued in. Busy covering the outside of the ink tray with paper. There is a secret hidey hole under the ink tray. And last but not least, I have spend many evenings on stitching the petit point that will cover my casket on 90 count silk gauze and will still spend many evenings doing that. This is the two side panels and the back panel all stitched onto a single piece of silk gauze that will be folded at the corners and the bare gauze will be covered with a tiny metallic trim. Right now I am working on finishing the left door panel with some back stitching. I chose to reproduce the stitching of this casket in the Metropolitan museum in New York City. http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/226422 This has been a very challenging project to work on as well as one of the most rewarding, lots of hard work but also loads of fun.
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