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Shadow Box

How do creative professionals who are paid to think outside the box express themselves? At Corey McPherson Nash, we do it inside the box—a shallow, glass-topped, wooden box, to be exact.


14 years ago we resuscitated the quaint craft of shadow-box making and turned it into a company ritual. The rules are simple: Don't go outside the box, and don't put anything living inside the box. But the object is ambitious: to provide a hands-on tutorial in Corey McPherson Nash's organizational culture. "Our basic operating principle is to define broad goals, supply a little structure, and then give people the freedom to do creative work."


With the shadow boxes, that principle has produced wildly diverse visions. Among the completed boxes: a vivid frightscape, complete with a crank for animating dancing-devil cutouts; a meditation on "what it could have been," featuring a loose marble and a list of design possibilities; and Tom Corey's own taxonomy of "bad seeds."

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Taken on May 15, 2008