I received an inquiry from a person in Nigeria asking if I would work with him to produce a custom box with a Nigerian theme for his pens. I’m always interested in custom orders, but this one was very special, being my first inquiry from the African continent.
After an exchange of several emails, we settled on a theme that invokes both ancient and modern Nigerian elements. We chose an ancient ivory mask by the Edo peoples, probably 16th century AD, from Benin, Nigeria, combined with the modern-day flag of Nigeria as artwork for the top of the lid.
Inside the lid, we repeated the flag element, but superimposed a map of Nigeria and the handwritten initials of the owner.
The pen compartments continue the flag theme, lined in green and white, the colors of the Nigerian flag.
We chose a Fonseca cigar box for two reasons: first, it was the right size/pen capacity, and second, it had an unusual “frame” around a rectangular recess in the lid. This would both frame and protect the artwork.
I think that the box turned out quite nicely and evokes just the right combination of feelings.