Box of Happiness
By Alice Austin
Philadelphia: Alice Austin, 2009. Edition of 40.
3.25 x 3.25 x 3.25" circular construction. Handset metal type and linoleum cuts printed on a Vandercook press. Paper – 50/50 from abaca/cotton and shredded money – handmade by Michele Wilson for the artist. Housed in lidded 3.5 x 3.25 x 3.25" lightweight paper box, which may be in one of three colors: blue, green or brown.
Jenna Krajeski, Alice Austin's Library, New Yorker Book Notes: "Normally when you pick up a book to add to your library you are concerned with what it contains, but sometimes all that matters is what it looks like."
The construction is reminiscent of the children's toy (called a buzzer or buzz saw) in which twine or cord passes through something like a button, so that the suspended button can be picked up by the tails of twine on each side. If you hold the ends of the twine and toss the button in a circular motion, you twist the twine that can then be pulled taunt, and the button spins. Here Austin has substituted a ball of happiness – with pages that read "eat more pie," "travel far," "sleep late," "read a map," "buy shoes," "drink coffee,"throw a party." This Western version of the prayer wheel, Austin's ball is a happy spin of colors and words.