Six white matchboxes have been collaged by Elaine Luther. Each one is partially opened to reveal the collage inside. Some boxes have a tiny model railroad person inside. Many of the boxes are collaged with old time cards, showing the days of the week.

Six days of the week timecard-matchbox works by Elaine Luther. Copyright Elaine Luther 2021.

How the Matchbox Art Came to Be

I had both little tiny model railroad people and time cards in my studio.  And a box of 50 empty matchboxes, so naturally, I combined them!  First, I made Salaryman, naturally, he’s got the Monday timecard.

Folks encouraged me to make more, to make all the days of the week, and after letting that idea simmer for a while, I came around to the idea of making more, and making them about women and work, a major topic in my art.

I made Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and two more that don’t have days of the week.  I’m commenting on what type of work is rewarded and appreciated, and how it’s rewarded.

Most of the washi tape on the outside of the matchboxes are related to time and to do lists.  And while I love to do lists, and washi tape for and about calendars, I’m also thinking a lot about time and our choices about how we spend our time.  As we emerge from “lockdown,” (in quotes because we were never truly locked down here, as they were in other countries), I’m not in a rush to go back to being busy, busy, busy and am trying to be thoughtful about each thing that gets added back.

The First Matchbox Art

Here’s the first one I made – there was a call for art for a show called We are Mini Dreamers, for a dollhouse gallery in the UK.  A friend pointed out that these matchboxes are part of my other work, making art in Altoids tins.  I hadn’t made that connection, but now I see it.  I do seem to like working within boxes, house forms, Petri dishes…

Illustration of the matchbox art by Elaine Luther.

Two Bunnies in a Box Church, Copyright Elaine Luther 2021.

Unboxing Video

I made little Reels of me opening these, those are on Instagram, and I added it YouTube Shorts so you can see them in action, even if you’re not on Instagram.  Here it is!