Saturday, September 26, 2009

Azathoth Box (WIP) part 1

Most of my projects seem to take forever to come to completion, partly because I work on up to 20 different things at once, but mostly because I'm lazy and get bored easily. I don't like to work with any sense of urgency. It hampers my creative process. This box has been slowly finding its way for the last few months. It was designed to be similar in style to another box I did a few years ago, but I don't think I want to do that same item again with this. I'm still looking for a new direction to take it.

These first two pictures are of the build process. The box was one of those pre-fab craft store things, but a nice one. I look for ones that have character to their shape, or that have physical features that are suitable for a particular purpose. I liked this one because it had a flat top, with slightly rounded edges, and thick walls suitable for carving into. I laid out my design in pencil, then carved it in with a dremel tool. I used a conical stone bit meant for grinding and polishing rather than a steel bur, because it sands the groove as it cuts and leaves a smoother channel. This is soft wood, and it tends to splinter and leave rough edges with a bur.

The glyphs I used were chosen for their aesthetic value and have no mystical significance. The bottom row of glyphs on the front and back were taken from some of my favorite fonts, as were the four corners on the top. The center top emblem is my typical eye and tentacles (Eye of Azathoth) with a sun or star-like motif thrown in.

The top row of glyphs, that runs all the way around the box, were modeled after Rosicrucian "name" seals, where the name of an entity, usually an angel or demon, is traced out on a rose cross with letters arranged on it. The pattern created by tracing from one letter to the next in the entity's name becomes a symbol for its name. The symbols on the box are only patterned to look like "name" symbols, they have no meaning.

Inside the box is the sigil of Abn-Sur. It is a glyph of my own creation that harks back to my Stone Elder Sign disks and the mythos elements I created in my Book of Ioz. I was going to put an elder sign on the inside of the lid, but I got impatient and decided not to. I probably should have. It is the only surface that doesn't have a carving. Maybe I'll put something else there, some sort of appliqué, if I can think of something cool.

The glyph on the bottom of the box is another one of my own creations. I pulled it from my Necronomicon Pages.

I set these "name" glyphs to straddle the seam between the lid and the body of the box, all the way around, so that they would serve as a sort of "seal" to contain whatever is inside.

I also purposely made a few of the glyphs wrap around from one side to the next, giving some of them three dimensions and implying that the physical dimensions of the box itself are not a limitation to the powers that seal the box.

After carving the symbols with the dremel, I colored them in with a sharpie marker, because that makes them look old and dark, like they have collected the dust and grime of centuries. Then I stained the whole thing with a dark mahogany wood stain. After staining, I banged the sides and edges with a small hammer to make it look older and distressed. Then I finished it off with several coats of tung oil. I didn't want to leave it without a finish top coat, but I thought polyurethane would kill the authenticity.

The box itself is pretty much done, but I still haven't figured out what I'm going to put into it yet, thus the project remains incomplete. Let me know if you have any suggestions.


  1. I don't know why boxes fascinate me so but they do. I recognized it as a affliction when I bought a jewel encrusted one in the 1960's. I have been known to buy something because of the box it came in.
    Thanks for the conical stone bit tip. I'll try it.