String Theory

By Helen Hiebert


I was asked to design a box that houses 5 custom prints which are strings with knots embedded between two sheets of handmade abaca paper by the artist, the strings going beyond the edges of the paper at random points. I was also to print a poem by Carl Adamshick on a sheet of the abaca paper for the colophon page.


I started with a standard clamshell box design with narrow walls since only 6 sheets of paper were to be housed. The lower tray was constructed such that the strings are accommodated within the tray. The problem to solve was how to stabilize the sheets of paper. The solution was to fabricate four corners which framed the edges of paper but allow the strings to lie outside the edges of the paper. The depth and width of the lower tray was done such that a panel on the spine of the box (spine baffle) would fit snugly inside the open edge to insure no dust could find its way inside, and a panel inside the upper tray would fit snugly inside the tray to gently hold the sheets in place so there is no movement of the artwork.

A window is cut into the upper board of the case which allows the placement of a small “String Theory” label which is mounted on a pedestal yet is below the surface of the board so there is no wear.