Canasta Reliquary

  • Canasta Reliquary
  • Avodire, Ebony, and Brass

    Completed November 2011 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

    Dedicated to my mother "Canasta Reliquary" commemorates the influence my mother has had on me growing up.

    The quidelines given for this project were to utilize a door and a drawer in the design and creation of a reliquary. Considering what I knew about a reliquary, I knew the direction I wanted to head towards was capturing an idea or tradition rather then an object. As a child I grew up with the strong support of my parents. Family time was important and my mother would teach me new games and try to play them with me as much as she could. Canasta was one of my favorite games and a very competitive rivalry grew between us. Every round of every emotional game made one of us furious or ecstatic, creating a strong division in our approaches towards the game.

    Recently I have been investigating capturing emotions through the use of line, but as far as my designs go function is a very strong driving force. These two, seemingly opposite ideas, led to an interesting direction. My brother and I would always get the cards sticky, bent, and covered in food while playing, so my mother started to hide the decks of cards sometimes quite elaborately. This idea of not knowing where the cards were, as well as the idea of capturing the emotions of Canasta led to hiding the decks behind a visual narrative.

    The outer carcass or shell of the reliquary is dovetailed by hand with a mitered front containing a floating panel that shows the carvings. There are gaps to allow for expansion and contraction ensuring heirloom quality. The drawers, which have a recess around them allowing access, are also hand dovetailed and slide smoothly in or out.

    Every surface is hand finished with shellac and the outside is french polished.

    If you are interested in "Canasta Reliquary" please contact me at byronlconn (at)