Bryan Collins’ ancestry is rich in artists and craftsmen. His family members include knife makers, joiners, gunsmiths, and a shoe cobbler. Brian learned his craft at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill under the direction of John Wilson, a renowned expert on Shaker history and oval box making.
The Shakers used oval boxes to store herbs, seeds, sewing notions, and countless other small items. They also made these boxes to sell to the outside world from about 1800 until 1961. There are some eighteen steps in making an oval box. The swallowtail finger joints are hand beveled. The side bands are steeped in hot water, bent around an oval form and clinched with copper tacks. The bands are placed in oval shapers and allowed to dry. The top and bottom pieces are fitted into the bands and held with wooden pegs. The boxes are given a protective finish and hand rubbed. Each box is then signed, dated, and numbered.
Brian is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program.
Brian’s work can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, KY.