Helen K. Garber

fine art photography

The Magic Boxes

Art as Alchemy  
A talisman object, either horse tail, sage, buffalo fur or vial of collected rain water, is sealed inside a re-purposed wood box, wrapped in appropriate book pages, fine art photographic prints and handmade paper, held together with encaustic wax medium.

Each one of these unique magic boxes was created with the intent to attract positive energy from the universe to allow good luck to their owner.  And allow them support to create positive transformations with their lives.  The best gift that you can give someone you love.

The Story Behind the Boxes
By 2007, I had become bored with creating my art via computer as well as creating photo exhibitions with all work presented behind glass.  I wanted people to experience my work in more interactive ways and I began to experiment with mixed media and multi media presentations.

In the same year, I was given a tour of an encaustic wax exhibition while preparing for my one person exhibit at the same museum. One of the pieces in that encaustic exhibit incorporated a photograph and I was quite taken with the result.  I immediately understood that learning how to do the difficult process would be my next creative pursuit. 

Encasing photographs with aromatic beeswax combines an ancient medium created by the Egyptians with the modern technology of digital photography.  It allows me to create 3D objects rather than 2D framed prints.  The objects invite touch and smell along with sight. The sculptural process is additive and subtractive.   I enjoy it very much as it is messy and far more physical than the sedentary work of creating digital photographs.

The combination of the past and present and the transformative process of the melting and cooling of the wax seems to open portals to other dimensions.   Uninvited spirits have sent messages through my work along with other odd occurrences through the past 15 years that I have worked with the encaustic wax medium.  Creating these boxes seems to have created the most powerful connection yet.

Encaustic wax led me to Santa Fe in 2014.  I came here for the first time when a space opened up at the last minute for a workshop that took place on my 60th birthday, 2014.   I began to pursue my passion for horses at the same time and wanted to realize my dream of living on a horse ranch.

I closed my Venice Beach studio after 22 years and escaped Silicon Beach for Santa Fe in 2016.  It took another three years to find a property here in Arroyo Hondo, where I felt a similar creative vortex that drew me to Venice, and we transformed the property into a horse ranch with art studio in 2020.  The barn that I designed and built was featured in the Home section of the Santa Fe New Mexican in 2022.

Although I had previously received messages from the other side, I never tried to send messages back through this open portal until last year.  I made a small request to the universe that seemed to be granted.  I created my first vision board at the first of this year and installed it in my studio.  Amazingly, most of he requests on my wish list have been granted.

Each talisman on its own is powerful,  but by encasing them in wood, wrapping them in art, and holding the elements together with beeswax allows them further power to help transform the holder’s life in positive ways.