The Audubon's Flat Boat (a John A. Ruthven Collaboration)

About This Project

While attending an art opening after my collaboration with John Stobart, I saw John A. Ruthven, the world-renowned wildlife painter and winner of the 2004 National Medal of the Arts. I asked him to to consider doing a collaboration with me. I was thrilled when he accepted and we decided that a box depicting the interior of John Audubon’s flatboat in 1820 would be a great venue. I was always intrigued with flatboats and years ago had added a print of Bingham’s “Jolly Flat Boatman” to my antique print collection. John and I decided to select the Carolina Parakeet, now extinct, for the box's painting. To create the model of the bird for the box, I sought the help of Beth Freeman Kane, an international miniaturist from South Africa. All of us had a terrific time working together to create "Audubon's Flatboat".

It took me so long to make this box because of the wood bookcases and paneling. Wood will not take stain if any glue gets on it. As a result I had to measure, cut, stain and dry assemble all the panels, shelves etc. before gluing them in place. This was almost like making the box twice.