In maritime folklore there is a superstition regarding sailors retiring from service. When going ashore at the end of his service, it is believed to be bad luck if his shadow touches land before he has stepped ashore.
Traditionally, the departing sailor's shipmates would construct a decorative box, displaying all of his cherished collected items, awards, medals, the flags of both their country and their military service branch, etc.
The possessions in the box were a symbolic representation of the sailor himself. While carrying it he was said to be carrying his own shadow in hand. So long as he set foot ashore before setting down the box the superstition was satisfied.
This shadow box and all of the sailor's service history contained inside, would be then presented to him in a ceremony.
It is a beautiful tradition honoring the achievements of a retiring navel officer or seaman. And now it is an honored tradition carrying by professional custom picture framers. For many years craftsmen have utilized the custom shadow box style in custom framing to display memorabilia and valued objects. The creative possibilities of the custom shadow box are endless.
But, what is constant is the emotional effect a shadow box can have. This style of custom framing brings attention to these cherished items and underlines their significance. Often accompanied by photos, the chosen objects of the custom shadow box are related directly to the person they honor. They represent that person's achievements, service and prominence.
Striving Artists is a well recognized authority in custom shadow boxes. We received multiple awards at Professional Picture Framing Competitions, including 1st place at International Competition in 2016.
At our shop located in a city of Chatsworth in beautiful San Fernando Valley we developed many techniques of building custom shadow boxes.
Designing custom shadow boxes is complicated and time consuming process. It's almost impossible to describe step by step through the entire process of making shadowbox frames, from design to mounting and finishing.
Each custom shadow box has it's own unique features. For example, for our customer in Chatsworth we build a custom shadow box to display a 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games torch. A major feature of this box is that it could be easily opened from a front, and a torch could be removed.
For customer in Woodland Hills we created a custom shadow box to preserve his precious (a cover made out of sterling silver) prayer book. A book could be taken out of box, this time from the back.
Another customer (a wife and a husband from Northridge) enjoys a custom shadow box with their wine corks collection, symbolizing special occasions from their life.
Even being unique, all custom shadow boxes have common components, such as a tall frame that can encase 3D objects. Due to the variety of items that may be placed in a shadow box and their relative sizes, custom frame mouldings for shadowboxes come in heights ranging from 1 inch tall up to 4 inches tall. For objects that are even deeper, shadow box frames can be extended in height.
Another common component for shadowboxes is the backer and side panels. Backing and side panels are essential to create the internal box design. They are visual components, often wrapped in attractive custom fabrics. Colors and styles of these fabrics can be chosen to give an element of age or time frame. They can also be subtle or extravagant. Sometimes, in the case of vocational, sport or military shadowboxes, the fabric might suggest uniform color and style.
Lastly, since shadow boxes commonly have 3D objects, there are mounting procedures to be employed. Given the endless range of items that might be placed in a shadow box, we have developed many procedures to deal with different types of objects. These shadow boxes are not only custom made, but are intended to preserve the items in which they display. For this reason, we use minimally invasive techniques to ensure that valued items are preserved in their condition.