First comes the image. Many of the images I use are photographs of complete paintings, or details of paintings. (All the paintings reproduced on the boxes are early paintings done by Marion Lane, who is my daughter.) Some of my images are my own graphic work, or photographs I've made, or collages I've made from my photographs, or, occasionally, the photographs made by another photographer, for the purpose of creating a box.
The size the box should be is then determined. The wood is cut, sanded, glued and clamped. Then sanded again. Paint (usually black) is applied inside and out, and the photographic images are imbedded in a two-part epoxy resin, using a process originally invented by Marion. Once the shiny resin coats have cured for two weeks, they are sanded with fine to extremely fine grits, and then waxed and buffed. The black surfaces are re-coated with more black acrylic paint and finished with coats of water-based polyurethane. At some point the holes are drilled to accept the birch Shaker pegs for the box and the knob or peg for the lid. Or the legs and knob are sculpted by me of walnut or mahogany or some exotic wood. I have also used antique glass doorknobs and brass legs, etc.
A finished box is signed, on the outside bottom, by me and also by Marion if the image involves one of her paintings.
I have left out many details, but this is the general idea. Sometimes the image takes months to create, but once I have the image, the box takes about six weeks. Unless it is a complicated comission piece, which can take up to six months. Even the smaller boxes are extremely labor intensive.